28 March 2013

Notan - the final work

Here are the last 3 problems from the book. The 4th problem was similar to the last image (3rd problem) which were white and black columns with convolutions which both locked the elements of value together and at the same time could be seen as distinct values of white on black or black on white.
To the 4th problem was added a third value, grey.

The black and grey had to be locked together as one element and white as a separate element.

The 5th problem was arranging 5 rectangles in 3 values with value touching a rectangle of the same value. It was similar to the first problem of the 5 stones, one very large, one very small and the other three in between. Unfortunately the picture came out blurry (auto focus didn't work) but at least you can see what I did. I didn't realized the photo didn't come out until I had added the clothespin images...

The last problem involved distortion. An ordinary object was to be represented in another value in each block. One was to represent the actual object and the other four as distortions of the actual object. I really liked what I did except I should have had the image in the largest black rectangle (upper right) in grey instead of white. It is too over powering and the stubby image on the upper left should have been in white on the grey rectangle.

This was actually my favorite problem of all I encountered. I also liked the expanded square a lot. I did learn a lot about negative space and design. Fascinating process.

26 March 2013

Another purse and the mess

I decided to make another purse. My friend Rosalita wanted to use my purse pattern which I fashioned after a cheap cloth purse from India which I bought at a hippy store. The first thing I told her was NOT to cut out the fabric but rather to cut an inch around the pattern piece because when quilting the fabric sandwich, it would shrink in size. THEN when the slab was quilted, use the pattern to cut out the piece.
Of course the first thing I did was use the pattern to cut out the fabric. This was a gorgeous snow dye.

I was so disgusted, I pushed it off the table where it lay until Rosalita called before coming over to finish her purse. I sliced the fabric down the middle, cut a strip of the snow dye about 2" wide turned it head to tail between the front and back purse pieces and sewed them together to gain a bit on the width which is where I would lose size because of the quilting. At least I salvaged the fabric although I didn't really want a strip in the middle of the purse.

The actual directions are here where I made the 5th incarnation of this purse in purple and green. Below are some process pics:

The binding is on the front panel and the back is just serged in place, strap underneath.

Before attaching the strap

All done

Inside view

And this is the mess after finishing the purse. Was it worth it? Yes. I learned a lot more about what NOT to do in the construction of this purse.

21 March 2013

Potpourri (again)

A few years ago Rosalita and I made some printed cards using a piece of cardboard and tape as a printing plate. I think I blogged about it but I'm too tired to look for it. Here are 4 prints I made that day.

I really enjoyed doing it and after Judith and I made prints the other day, I thought what a great idea for this years Solstice card. This is the "plate" I made with Judith this past Saturday.

Massive boo-boo! I "thought" this was cardboard but it was micro corrugated so there was not enough pressure to create a print. I liked the "plate" so much, I put it on a shelf (smile). I WILL revisit this technique in time for Solstice though.

While looking for a specific fabric experiment for Rosalita, I came across these transperse dyes. You literally paint the liquid dye onto paper then press the paper face down on 100% polyester fabric which releases the Transperse dye as a gas onto the fabric. In other words. These were painted then transferred to fabric.

You probably remember this one. I took one of the prints, hand quilted it intensely and donated it to the SAQA auction this past year.

19 March 2013

More Human Makes

Beata had another great post about human marks which included the format of exercises for experimenting with marks she uses with her art students. I copied and pasted these exercises into a word document and printed them to keep on my desk. I started making marks again. How exhilarating to flow with that creative direction. These are some of my marks so far. Try this yourself.

 Blue forest 

 Self centered


Three layers of color (rough sketch of an idea for a dye experiment)

View of the crowd

14 March 2013


I hope you remember the solvent transfer I made on my soft, soft linen.

 I have been stitching back into it and using couched sari yarn for the heavier lines. I wanted to use black sari yarn but had none. It FINALLY came today so I will use it sparingly as well as using the dark colored heavy weight sari yarn already on the piece.

Entire piece

You can actually see the twisted fabric on the top piece of yarn

For those who don't know, sari yarn is yarn twisted from strips of sari (India dress) scrapes. It comes in various thicknesses, multi and solid colors. If you are lucky, you can "un-twist" the yarn for small snippets of cloth to add to a piece.

Black sari yarn - very thin

Multi-colored sari yarn both thick (upper left) and thin (bottom)

12 March 2013

Snow dyeing against my will

This was a draft I found in the queue that I thought I had scheduled. I had written it before I showed my finished snow dyes. This was the process...I am also cutting down from 3 posts a week to 2. I am painting again and "doing my own thing" plus gearing up for another year of surface design classes.

I had bottles and bottles of mixed dyes left over from a snow dyeing workshop about a month ago. I was so afraid at the time of running out of dye during the workshop but obviously that didn't happen. I need more fabric like I need more debt! But what can you do. I either "use it or lose" it and dye is expensive especially my ProChem Deep Black which is no longer being made (sigh).

Then we get this colossal blizzard dumping snow in 6 foot drifts right outside my kitchen door. It just had to be done and that's that. I started with 10 pieces then after processing them, 7 more pieces of fabric and a rayon jacket.

 First batch

Second batch

07 March 2013


Notan is Japanese for light/dark. Some call it expansion of the square. Jane Dunnewold has a wonderful tutorial on Notan on her website. This is some of my work.

05 March 2013

Paste Paper video and stuff

I have been trying to upload a video of Judith and our paste paper playdate but to no avail. I am going to post it on YouTube and place a link here. This was a day after the storm that followed the blizzard Nemo. Although the snow wasn't as deep the winds were even higher. Here is a quick video of Storm #2. Judith drove 60 miles here in those high winds. I think we are on the downside of winter and I am looking forward to spring in about 4-5 weeks!

On another note, something else I just had to do when Judith was over doing paste paper was to heavily wet an 18 X 24 piece of heavy sketch paper and see if I could emboss it using the texture plates. This is how it came out.

This is the paper after the embossing. I moved the texture plates around under the paper then used a foam roller to press the paper onto the texture plates. They look great but can never be re-wetted or the embossing would flatten out. Also I found during the snow storm that my digital camera won't focus down on plain white so the paper had to have a mark or shadow for the camera to focus on.

Here I am starting to use a graphite stick to skim graphite on to the "high spots"

This is all graphite

This is colored chalk on top of the graphite

A close-up

And this is the paper after spraying the surface with hair spray to "fix" the chalk and graphite so it won't smear.

02 March 2013

Unity College

When I was 45, I went back to college and got a bachelors degree in Environmental Science and Policy at Unity College, right here in Maine. As part of the entry process each incoming freshman participated in a mandatory 3 day zero impact wilderness experience called NOVA. I went on this experience with all the 17 and 18 year old freshman and forged friendships that have never been broken. I later attending the University of Wisconsin, getting my masters degree and being a biology TA. However, MOST of what I know in environmental science, economy and law, I learned at Unity. This is a little 3 minutes filmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2W-NvEkXvc&list=PL03BF7AE135A79CB1&index=1 on the NOVA experience.

01 March 2013

Texture and materials

Exercise 10 in "Finding your own visual language" the book I reviewed in December on the FIRE blog is all about "rubbings". I have done quite a few experiments with texture plates that I bought from Blicks. They are cheap and come in many varieties (scroll down to photos on the page here). I used them as "rubbing" plates or collographs. These plates can also be used as a stamp with either acrylic or fabric paints when the paint is applied to the texture plates with a loaded brayer. The design can also be made on fabric when the fabric is laid on top of the texture plate then the brayer rolled over the fabric