Saturday, November 06, 2010

Rag and Retro

Years ago, I was part of a women's group that met about once a month and we called ourselves "The Rag Group"...sounds kind of silly now, but it all started because most of us seemed to have our periods at the same time. Okay, so if you've ever heard the expression, "on the rag," you know where that one came from.

I've taken what I've spun on the drop spindle and have knitted about 1 1/2 balls into this wild piece. I used size 35 needles (Jason's comment: God Mom, can they get any bigger? Why yes, son, wait until you see me working with the bright red size 50 ones), and it knitted up very fast. I'm now thinking about making purses out of these pieces, since I'm getting ready for Emmanuel's upcoming "Bohemian Holiday Bazaar" and in the past, my funky bags have been popular...

Yesterday, I was at the store looking for fabrics to make pillowcases out of, and I found this wonderful retro print. The memories came in a flood! Not sure what to make, but you know, I had to get a couple of yards before it's gone. Since I work at the store, I know that some fabrics are not replenishable from the warehouse. The second photo is of a coordinate...
Remember a couple of years ago when I made those 3 piece fleece socks? Well I finally bought the pattern (Green Pepper) so I can make them for children and men. Next week's creative adventures will include power sewing multiple pairs...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Art Yarns

I recently treated myself to a beautiful drop spindle from Golding Fiber Tools . This came after purchasing the new book "Get Spun" by Symeon North. I hadn't read enough of the book to know that the author only used a spinning wheel to create her art yarns, so I thought that I was out of luck and could only refer to the luscious pages as eye candy and would not be able to create anything with this seemingly simple drop spindle that could only be used to spin roving into boring solid color yarn.

I had e-mailed the company, and the owner responded to my questions of what to order. Tom Golding recommended the perfect weight, size and type of spindle for what I wanted to do...not 100's of yards of thin yarn, but a few yards at a time of wild, wooly, silky, polyestery (?) and whatever else I could get my hands on in the studio to ply together. I either dreamed that someone told me that these were the best, or I read it somewhere. Anyway, I am so pleased with my beautiful top whorl drop spindle...

It's taken me 3 weeks, and 3 episodes of "Mad Men" and "Project Runway" to spin 3 balls of my version of art yarn...I've started the fourth ball even though the season's over for my favorite shows. I have no idea of what I'm going to do with it afterwards. I always think that I will end up some day with a sweater or vest, something more substantial than a scarf (I have many).

Coming up soon on the horizon is a holiday art show at Rockford's Womanspace and the "Bohemian Holiday Bazaar" at Emmanuel that our art group is hosting. I'll also be teaching a nuno-felted scarf class at Unique Yarns Inc.
on December 1st. Thanks to Becky Maselli, the owner, for the opportunity...
I so look forward to teaching and being a part of creative events...
Wishing I could do my art full time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Post Greenwich

Well, another Greenwich Art Fair is history! This year's artful weekend proved to be my best one usual, I was going crazy the last few days finishing some pieces (read: no shower, same clothes for 2 of those days).

I created my first nuno-felted wrap that was modeled by Nickee, Emmanuel's beautiful model. Concerned that she couldn't wear high heels because of a sore baby toe, she still came and was my live mannequin, aka Vogue Madonna. On Sunday, a lovely woman from Minnesota purchased the wrap for herself - I was thrilled!

I also received a healthy purchase award - love a ribbon on the tent because it looks so nice AND draws attention. Sunday also involved a little bartering...a potter, Earl, who was across from me had purchased one of my scarves, so when he wanted another, I suggested trading...he had these fabulous plates and, now I have some wonderful pottery...just need to figure out what yummy food to put into it. Oh, wait! Artscene is coming up this weekend and I'm bringing a savory something - good, now I can show off my new plate and crock.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Of Wool and Silk Bondage

Oh blog, oh blog, I have sorely neglected you. Okay, so now onto what's new...I'm am in the last 2 weeks of getting ready for the annual Greenwich Art Fair! In addition to creating lots of new pieces for the fair, I'm also planning my set up and hitting the resale shops in search of perfect stuff for my display.

I absolutely hate the sidewalls on my canopy, so I bought 10plus yards of wide white muslin to make some simple curtains to hang inside - going for a boutique look I'm hoping.

I have not given up on quilting, but I did get sidetracked again: I have been learning all about nuno felting and have created some beautiful scarves and wraps. Other small pieces include felted cuffs that I've cut from the "Mom, what happened to my sweater when I washed it?" wool and a few funky purses. The images are of merino roving that I've dyed, a scarf that I laid the roving on top, then placed a pre-knitted piece on top before felting it, and of a felted necklace (or belt). I felt that "Of Wool and Silk Bondage" was a perfect name for my collection - a little edgy, maybe...that could be me, the name, or the art!

What I've learned: acid dyeing is the way to go for silks and wool, quite easy and yes, I am cooking something after all - some wool roving still has a lot of lanolin in it, so the owner of the yarn shop said to add a little alum to the water when dyeing those fibers - that was Becky at Unique Yarns here in Rockford who also gave me two huge pots for dyeing - the process of nuno felting involves NO stitching and can be very relaxing when you have plenty of time and are listening to appropriate music - the smell of vinegar doesn't bother me as I thought it would - there's something wrong with my camera, having issues getting clear, sharp images - I had always hoped that I could once again create some wearables (remember the ruanas?) -

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Doors and Jason's graduation

On Memorial Day, I decided it was the perfect day to photograph the doors of the churches that will be included in my "Doors of Rockford" piece. For a couple of them, I had to stand in the middle of the street, so I did get some looks from children riding their bikes, and from one police officer in a squad car...There will be 5 doors and I'm just including my favorite one in this post: Emmanuel Lutheran Church, of course.

Yesterday, our son, Jason, graduated from high school! I had forgotten how large public high school ceremonies were, since they're held at the local entertainment/sports arena. Downtown Rockford was a zoo! It took me about 45 minutes to pick up my mother-in-law and to get to the parking complex across from the arena. She has to walk with a little 3 wheeled walker/chair, so I let her out on the 2nd floor by a catwalk and I continued upwards to the roof to find a spot. Jeff was there, but we didn't meet up with him, because he was coming from his knee class (he's having replacement surgery in 2 weeks). That was a little frustrating because we kept looking for each other. Anyway, we finished the evening with a nice dinner's a photo of him and his lady love, Ashley.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Doors of Rockford 3

I'm moving along nicely on my piece for "The Doors of Rockford" submission. It was good to read the other day that there are 42 artists participating, so since they choose 25, that's pretty good odds, if you'd like to think about it that way...

Of course, the deadline is coming up the same week as my husband's total knee replacement surgery, meetings, work and a recognition dinner for the Sunday School teachers. So you know what that means, right? It must be finished before that week even starts on June 13th.

I've painted a 36x45 inch piece of drill cloth (similiar to canvas, but lighter weight) for the backing, and also painted strips of cheesecloth that will end up being between the backing and the fabric paper pieces. Not sure how I will attach the cheesecloth to the backing. I'm hand stitching the cheesecloth strips together with perle cotton, and just may end up tacking them to the drill cloth in the same way. Here's a couple of photos of how the pieces will be laid out on the backing and what the cheesecloth looks like in all it's painted glory. I ended up using different types of acrylics for the paint: golden fluids, a little lumiere, and some craft acrylics...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Doors of Rockford 2

Like the first time making fabric paper, I'm finding it difficult to stop. The possibilities if I do one more piece and adding more to the pieces that I don't like, well, they seem to get me every time...

The finished size for the artwork cannot exceed 36x48 inches, so if each of my papers are approximately 8x10 inches and I have 13 that I'm satisfied with, do I have enough? Yes...

Here are the ones I've worked on today. I experimented with giving one of them a wash of diluted Lumiere paint. I've included a detail shot of one that has oil paper with pine needles on it.

Materials used: printed and hand dyed cottons, white muslin, tissue papers, hand made papers, painted lutradur and tear-a-way stabilizer, vintage gift wrap papers, decorated greeting card envelopes, onion skin paper, polyester sheers, painted cheesecloth, caran d'ache neocolor II artists' crayons, tee juice markers, setacolor paints, lumiere metallic paint, diluted white glue.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Doors of Rockford

The church where I am a member and work with the children is in an urban neighborhood in Rockford. Since this area was home to many Swedish immigrants back in the late 1800's and early 1900's, there are quite a few Lutheran churches. All of these churches have come together to form a community called the "Midtown Lutheran Parishes."

Zion Lutheran, just down the street from Emmanuel is home to Zion Development, an organization that has been renovating and creating housing for families in the neighborhood for 25 years now. I remember when Jason was in confirmation, he went to help in the early stages of a large renovation project, involving the creation of some loft condos above a store front just east of Emmanuel.

Every year for the past 8 years, Zion Development has sponsored "The Doors of Rockford," a fundraiser that involves an auction of fine art. They choose 25 pieces to be in the auction and each piece is sponsored by a local business or individual, so the artist is guaranteed a nice percentage of the selling price. Every year, I say that I'm going to submit something, and every year, I back away (life, you know). Well, this year I finally did it! I've started by making 31 pieces of fabric paper - fast, lots of color, no thought involved. The theme for this year's auction is "Through These Doors" - my plans are to photograph each of the churches' doors for inspiration and we'll see what comes next...I found an old book with beautiful biblical artwork from the middle ages in it and I may do something with those also.

The process of blogging about this challenge also starts the journey for me...I know you understand.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New Purse - Triangle Bag

Since Jo-Ann's discontinued a ton of home dec samples, there are plenty of little 18x18 inch pieces of fabric candy to choose from. I fell in love with this faux emu skin, so decided to make myself a new purse. The top border is a printed linen that I discharged a little, and the straps are an animal print ribbon that I first folded over and sewed, then filled with a narrow piping cord.

I had made one from a pattern a couple of years ago and liked the shape and the unique way of closing it. It's basically 3-24 inch straps/cords attached to the purse at the center point of each of 3 pieces that are sewn together. The straps are then pulled through a large bead (mine was macrame) and attached at the end to a square of fabric. There are, of course, many different ways to finish the straps.

One of the gals at work found a similiar pattern in a Simplicity book. Mine was from Square Rose - Designs that liberate the CREATIVE SPIRIT .
I'm very pleased at how it turned out!

Oh, and I bought 8 other samples too...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Green Bag Fabric

We just got this in at the store yesterday! It's the fabric that "green" bags are made of, and I figured I'd get a little to see what's possible. Polyester, 60" wide and a whopping 2.99 yard. I know I could easily make some gift bags from it for my patrons at this fall's Greenwich Art Fair.

There were at least 2 other bolts: one with multi-colored circles on it, and a plain white one. I chose the animal print...just because.

I've described the surface design/color processes on each photo so you can get an idea of my experiments, none of which were well-thought out. I'm still learning how not to spend too much time on the first round of experiments. I used too much paint on a few of them, so instead of wiping the excess color away, I mopped up the extra with blank ATCs. Ding! Now that's an idea! Think about having this wonderful collection of ATCs with at least a background design on them...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday at IQF

Wow! I had never been to festival before on a Sunday. Everyone always said that it was quiet, laid back and you could walk through the vendor aisles without any problems. This had always been a little troublesome for me, as I am very claustrophic.
It's always a sure-fire way to initiate an attack of vertigo for me...

Wanted to share some photos of Bobbie and I at our gig for Open Studios, and some from my workshop...the students were so much fun and overflowing with artful gifts of their own, and I was honored to have Lynn of Fibra Artysta - Mixed Media Fiber Art in my class!

Alas, as you probably know, this was the last year for the festival to be held in the Chicago area. We here in Northern Illinois have been spoiled for 8 years...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

25 Kits for MIU!

Okay, so I admit it, but I always try to cram as much stuff as possible into one box or other container when toting supplies around: my mission yesterday was to make this happen when packing the 25 kits for my "Create Texture and Dimension with Gauze" mini-workshop at Make It University! Spring 2010.

I had found this small wheeled tote a couple of years ago at the store at a clearanced price - $5.97. I think it was meant to be for knitting because it has all these wonderful compartments and pockets, but at that price, you know, it doesn't matter if you use it for it's intended purpose or not.

There's nothing in the kits that would be crushed, so I started packing...and to my delight, everything fit perfectly! Extra supplies and water bottles will fill the outside pockets, and the outside flap will hold personal stuff, so there's no need to carry a purse - yeah!

What's in the kits, you ask? Neocolor II artist's crayons, Fabri-Tac adhesive, cheesecloth, a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper, cotton balls and swabs, paper cups (the kind I use with the kids at Emmanuel), a pre-threaded (dmc floss) needle, buttons and charms, and a piece of gauze that has been stamped, embossed and inked. The only thing missing in the kits are little pieces of chocolate, not to be forgotten you know...

For my Open Studios gig with Bobbie, packing should be very easy. We're showing shisha mirror embroidery and how to create embroidered beads. Small, lightweight supplies packed in a small tote.

I'm also showing a photo of this gorgeous blue rayon fabric that I got today at the store. It has a little nylon in it which gives it a slight sheen, similiar to some silks I've seen. It will hopefully be transformed into a new top for me to wear at the festival. Easy and quick pattern, 2 hours max, comfortable.
Come see Bobbie and I at Open Studios on Sunday, April 18th at 10:30 am. AND...
Come, put your name in the lottery for my workshop (with all the cool supplies) as soon as you can. We start at 12:00 noon.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Sherrie Spangler Blogs!

It's about time, my friend!!! I guess you just needed to leave Rockford and move to the Pacific Northwest...

Oh, and the little incentive from Quilting Arts, LLC -

Here's the link - do check it out and leave a nice comment. In addition to being a great inspiration to me some years ago, she's also a wondeful writer!

Sherrie loves color!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pinned Down Doll

Local artists were asked to participate in a fundraiser for the Rockford Dance Company's upcoming benefit by transforming a white muslin ballerina doll into anything we wanted. I love it, no rules!
My doll had been patiently waiting in the studio for attention of any kind, so with the deadline looming, and seeing my best friend Bobbie's incredible doll (almost finished), I was ready...

She was so pale, so I started by giving her a coat of burnt sienna acrylic. She did not want to sit or lie still for me, so I had to pin her down, literally. I never forget how a simple thing like adding color always gives a piece "life" even in the early stages. In this photo, I've posed her so you can see the white on her other side. Check out those gams and perfectly pointed toes...

My next step was to add a coat of a Lumiere metallic acrylic - the Hi-Lite Red. Although I absolutely love the Lumiere's, you really have to give your pieces a dark undercoat first to get the full effect of the Hi-Lite colors. It was a challenge getting a smooth application for the first coat, so I sponged on the second one. After the painting was done, I was counting on her to tell me what she wanted to look like and what she wanted to wear (if anything)...and if you know this artist well, it would NOT involve a tutu.I found this beautiful, ethereal poly sheer in my novelty fabrics stash, so I just started wrapping it around her body. Okay, that was good. Wired fabric tubes wrapped around her legs. Okay, that's good too. Uh oh, here we go - the face!!! I have to admit creating the face was the most frustrating part of the process. I mean, it's what brings a doll to life, so to speak. Bobbie and I were discussing this yesterday and we decided that we didn't like the anxiety and that we were ready to drop them off at the dance company's office.

After going through many books I have at home, I came across this head shot of Anna Pavlova, early 20th Century Russian ballerina. I printed it out on heavy cardstock and gel medium'd her face. I added a little Setacolor paint to the medium to add a tint. I then glued her face on and added a few beads with perle cotton. Whew...she's good to go.

I wonder if doll artists go through this every time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

MIU supplies

Thanks to John, the president of Creative Art Materials and Diane of BEACON ADHESIVES, the participants in my "Create Texture and Dimension with Gauze" workshop at Make It University will receive some pretty great materials to use during the workshop and to take home afterwards!

Look what came today...John sent 25 sets of the Neocolor II Aquarelle Half Sticks (and a 40 color set for me).

and I received these the other day from of Beacon...enough 2 oz. bottles of Fabri-Tac glue for everyone in the workshop. What's good enough for Project Runway is perfect for my workshop!The thought of putting 25 supply kits together actually excites me, at this point. I often do this for the kids in Sunday School at Emmanuel and have done it many times before when I was teaching awhile back. For me, it's like wrapping 25 gifts for special people.

Now I'm on the look out for lots of 3 inch wide surgical gauze. Gee, maybe the good Dr. Phil, foot surgeon from Emmanuel has some, you think? Doesn't have to be sterile...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Make It University Sample

If you're coming to the IQF-Chicago in April, here's what I'll be teaching at Make It University for Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

My workshop is titled "Create Texture and Dimension with Gauze" and it involves wrapping pre-painted surgical gauze around small canvas panels, making folds in certain areas, deconstructing the gauze, then adding more rich color with oil pastels (Caran d' Ache Neocolor II).
CARAN d'ACHE > Company > Company > History. I have loved pastels for quite some time now, and these are my favorite for color and blending. Rich, creamy (thinking about ice cream now?) color.

Stop by and sign up - we'll have fun and make some art, too...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Substitute for Citrasolv?

I've tried almost all techniques for image transfer and after hearing so much about using Citrasolv, I thought I'd give it a try. I looked on their website to find out where I could find it in Rockford - one place. Since they didn't have it in stock, I had to order it. Alas, when calling that store today, I was told that it won't be ordered until this Friday and I'd have to wait until next Tuesday. NEXT TUESDAY? Well, that's way too long for an artist who is on a mission to try a new technique, hello?

I started my trek across the far east side of Rockford in search of it. Read: I live on the west side where there's virtually no traffic and no strip malls every few feet to slow down by to find that tiny store front. The big stores are even a little intimidating to me, but I took a deep breath and pulled into the local Home Depot.

I might have found a substitute for Citrasolv. I know it's not completely natural as Citrasolv is, but the solvent in it is the same - from orange peels.

Thank God it was sunny and a little warmer today, so a window in the studio was opened, the heat turned off, and it was time to experiment. I had read about the National Geographic art project on their website: Citra Solv's Artists Site . It involves brushing the product on every page in the magazine, squishing it together, pulling the pages apart and placing them on newspapers to dry. Messy it was, but the outcome was well worth it. Next time, however, instead of doing a whole issue, I'll just pull out certain pages.

On to image worked. When it dried, I did feel the urge to heat set it, which left a stain on this small piece of one of my hand dyed cottons. Afraid that the image would disappear, I was hesitant to dunk it in the sink. Oh well, experimentation. I ran cool water over the fabric, rubbed it a little, and to my delight, the image stayed in place. When it dried, I noticed that some of the color had faded from the cloth - I chalked this up to the fact the this orange stuff was a "cleaner" after all. Can you say residual dye?