Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mixed Media Shopping - In the Studio

The excitement builds as I shop in my own studio for supplies.

Getting ready to start another collection of art pieces involves the gathering of stuff - you know...well, I might use this, so I'll put it somewhere close by so I won't forget it. One of the things that I get so charged up about is finding that stuff that you did forget about.  So it's almost like shopping, right?
Here I have a small basket of fabrics and some of my pre-felted wool pieces, a container of mixed media papers, a heart-shaped box with felted bits, small crocheted flowers and trims, and to the right, a containter with beads and other embellishments. I am ready to go!

I have always been in love with the "Woman in Repose" rubber stamp, and have used it in so many different projects for the past 5 years.  Wanting to create a collection of brooches with that image on them, but wanting it a little smaller definately presented a challenge...the only thing I could think of was to take a extreme close-up photo of the stamp and save it on the computer. After a few tries, I finally got it to the right size and resolution that would work for me.  I printed 9 of them in B&W on one sheet of Transfer Artists' Paper, then ironed them onto white Kona cotton.  What's so amazing about "TAP" is that you can add color to the transfer afterwards if you want.  For the color, I used Adirondack alcohol inks, and then blotting with a q-tip and their blending solution, I was able to lighten the colors. I mounted the small images onto 2 pieces of very heavy cardstock, centering them so I'd have the area around the images for creative play!

Here's a shot of the first one...I've surrounded "her" with some faux suede and am deciding on just the right embellishments.

Along with 23 felted flower brooches that I've finished, I'll be showing these and "setting up shop" at our local Coldwater Creek store on Sunday, November 27th in the afternoon.  If you remember from a few weeks ago, I was invited to exhibit at the store for "Art at the Creek" - if you're an artist and might be interested in participating, give your local store a call - it is a great venue!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

For Thread Heaven's Sake - A Pocket of Miracles

Sometimes an artist is just so clever...

I have always loved  Thread Heaven,
that great thread conditioner in the cute little blue box...since I have been using longer needles to stitch up my felted flower pins (see photos below), I was trying to come up with an idea to use a little bit of it without having to take all that miracle stuff out of it's container. I know it can get dirty from your fingers, and the conditioner itself picks up bits of fiber from your project, eventually leading to a clump of gray, fiber-filled gunk (which still does the job wonderfully, by the way).

 So here's what I came up with: I took 2 small pieces of fabric, 1 x 1 1/2 inches in size and scooped out a small quantity of Thread Heaven from the box.  I placed the conditioner in between the pieces of fabric, then stitched all around the edges.  Too boring by itself, I added a flower button and a bead.

It works beautifully!  When I draw my needle and thread through it, I use my thumb and forefinger to press down on the pocket as the thread makes it's way through.  It helps accomplish both tasks - conditions your thread, and removes any excess Thread Heaven on one layer of the fabric.

After creating my 30+ nuno-felted scarves for the Greenwich Art Fair, I had so many smaller pieces of merino pre-felts left.  Playing with some of the pieces one day and wanting to make some brooches,  I started manipulating the felt by twisting, cutting and wrapping it around itself.  Hmmm...these look like flowers, I think!  I put together about 10 of them for my gig at Coldwater Creek a few weeks ago, and they were a hit!

Now I'm out of pre-felts, so I crocheted a skein of roving yarn, felted it, then cut it into pieces and dyed them.  They turned out pretty thick, so these brooches are a little different, but I love the fact that they remind me of fireworks.  The dye didn't reach inside of the felt completely, but that's what makes these brooches unique - that explosion of color from the Fourth of July! You might notice a little sparkle in the green one..that's from a skein of olive green roving yarn that I also crocheted and felted, but I added a thin blue sparkle yarn to it. I have 24 of them in different stages of completion, all to be ready for my next "Art at the Creek" (Coldwater Creek store) event on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

 One more thing before I sign off for today...I just discovered last night at work that we now carry 100% wool felt on a bolt - it is $18.99 per yard, 36" wide, so I just got 1/3 yard to try.  I washed it to determine the shrinkage factor, and the results were what I expected: it shrank 50% in length, and 33% in width.  I blocked it last night, and will have enough for 4 more brooches...