Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn Frippery

Sample, Embroidered leaf stamp

Sample, Embroidered pumpkin stamp
Printing isn't over until the paint runs out. That's what scraps are for - soaking up the dregs of acrylic goodness just. never. know. when something will be that perfect little something for an experiment. Because I like a quickie every now and then - a tide over between commitments. Projects that is. (What were you thinking?)

In these two samples (each a little over 2" x 2"), the detail of what I was printing was lost but it was helpful for giving me an identifiable shape to to embroider. The leaf shape is a real oak leaf - so perfectly miniature, printed in yellow. And the pumpkin is actually a stamp I made from strips of foam. Just so you know how long I'll hold onto something artsy, these were produced at least four years ago.

Each of the mini prints were covered with a choppy square or strips of sheer fabrics because I think it's interesting to introduce color that way. Then it's a matter of playing them off different colored threads and beads plus layered background fabrics.

The stitching is pretty straightforward. There's back stitch and cross stitch. The "open cretan stitch" behaved a little differently in the middle section of the pumpkin - and I really, really like it. Hope I can accidentally do that again.

By the way, a little shout out to The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden. Her book is the perfect size for my plastic shoebox of a sewing basket. More importantly her diagrams and directions translate well  to 3-D for me. That's a big issue because I'm spatially challenged. (Please don't ask me to back up cars and for godssake's, no origami!!)

As these are samples they won't appear in my Etsy shop, but other handiwork of mine already does. So scoot yourself on over: //

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Desert Blooms

Cacti Flowers Trio mixed media collages

Commission accomplished. Not one, not two, but three blooming cacti inspired textile collages. I based these on what I had actually seen with my own little eyes at Joshua Tree National Park this past Spring. The trip was taken specifically to catch the magnificent display of cacti in bloom after a rare wet winter.

Cholla Cactus textile collage, detail

My recipe was to start with a map printed background of where I found these flowers. (Thank you US Geological Survey for making that possible!) Next I sketched out very simple cacti shapes and cut them from various green patterned fabrics. The blooms were pretty similar in structure, but yes really, they had different colors -- and that made it more fun to riff along on the threads and beads I chose to match. The buttons are an echo of the desert floor, shades of tan and brown (and which button hoarder doesn't have an overabundance of these colors??)

Prickly Pear Cactus textile collage, detail

Look, Ma, no frames! I have used this technique before whereby I stain some junk wood boards (after letting mountain winters have their way first) and nail the collages directly on top. To give the edges more definition and interest I sew on thread-wrapped twigs. Variegated thread is quite effective here for that. Finally I use baling wire to make my curled hangers to continue the rustic vibe.

Barrel Cactus textile collage, detail

Each collage is 8" x 10" mounted.

I do offer smaller, similarly styled textile collages in my Etsy shop. They each feature a hand-carved arrowhead stamp on a Lake Arrowhead map background and include colorful plaid fabric as well as beads.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ordered Thinking

Ordered Thinking textile collage sample

How can a 4" x 6" textile sample give me such fits? Because it has to feel right before I can move on to anything else  such as another sample or a real bonafide project. (And sometimes that 'feeling right' just might mean an emphatic toss in the bin. But that would entail a bit more angst, and fortunately the Muse sneezed in my direction -- so I saw a way forward.)

The crux of the problem was this little fabric scrap I stamped in boxes of blue and pink. How to add interest with stitch - just for practice.  No great expectations.  Except I can be a dog with a bone. Never mind the blow by blows of what about this, what about that. My "story" here is that these boxes reminded me of my own categories of thought -- areas that have yet to be resolved (not completely sewn around), while others are non-negotiable (enclosed). The little gems of beads are epiphanies of a sort. The sun or life force radiates its energy fueling existence as time marches on.

Wow, certainly wasn't planning to make some ontological statement. In my own muddled way I hope others can relate to this thinking about thinking. (Like looking at a a series of reflections in two mirrors facing each other.) Some may just conclude that it's a pointless exercise in navel-gazing.

And that's okay too because frankly I get irritated with having to "get it" in order to get it. What I hope is that I have entertained with the blue and pink textures of fabrics, beads, threads, and stitching.

PS I may actually turn this little textile fluffery into a mini hanging collage with a delicate beaded bottom fringe. If it speaks to you, let me know. In meanwhile other one of a kind pieces can be found in my Etsy shop:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jarron Con Gato

Jarron Con Gato, textile collage

Still Life - every artist has at least one in their ouevre. No home should be without.  And since painters needn't have all the fun - here's my sewn tableau.

Jarron Con Gato, textile collage, detail-a

No deep symbolism here.  More like guilt, pure and simple as the inspiration struck while trying to sneak some new unnecessary fabric into an overflowing stash. (The lovely patterned blue used for the vase/jarron.) I had been wanting to play with stitching figures & objects onto overlapping fabric patches versus adding them separately as in applique. I could then use embroidery - and beads, and buttons of course -  to texturize and hopefully pull together the different elements.

Jarron Con Gato, textile collage, detail-c

Am pleased with my rudimentary efforts and look forward to more exploring of the techniques here. It's downright fun to audition different types of fabric - wovens, sheers, calicos - and play with different threads and stitching styles - thick, thin, machine, hand - and then dive into the touchy-feely realm of beads and buttons.

The collage measures 8" x 10" so it fits into a standard frame but I've also included a removable dowel inside a handing sleeve on the back so it can hang directly on the wall.

Now available in my Etsy shop:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunny Mum!

Sunny Mum!, textile collage

Went all out when I happened upon a plastic chrysanthemum on the roadside. Would this work for "nature printing"? Well, kinda'. Using yellow acrylic paint and pressing it onto fabric and also onto paper did make a halo of marks - bright, blobby ones, just not very identifiable. So I pencil sketched the petal pattern as a guide for free-motion machine stitching. I have to say I really like this loose sketchy style. It's me; I'm sketchy.

Sunny Mum!, textile collage, detail-a

To carry on this casual look, especially as this print was done on a tea-stained muslin scrap, I layered it on top of coffee-stained yellow fabric squares (they began eye-squintingly bright). Similarly I weathered the blue plaid fabric - a little walnut stain, a little 120 grit. But the embroidery floss and cotton perles maintained their original hues.

Sunny Mum!, textile collage, detail-b

As this is roughly 8'1/2" x 8-1/2", it could technically be framed in a standard square frame but I felt it would display quite well hanging from a stick, a painted and sanded stick. It carries on that rustic flavor.

This is now available in my Etsy shop: https//

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mod About You

Mod Mad, mixed media artists book, detail-a

For all its sleekness, Mid-Century Modern lends itself well to folk art. I love all those imaginative patterns -- no getting hung up on the strictly figurative. Asymmetry and uneven shapes are perfectly acceptable company to keep.

So I drew up my own shapes (and stamps, see below) and cut them out of decorative printed paper. For the graphic line work I used stitch in heavier embroidery thread. My canvas was lightly paint scraped dictionary pages (coincidentally Swedish! a nod to the Scandinavian influence) layered on bright synthetic fabric. Buttons were sewn on to tie them together - and to delight all those touchy-feely types.

Mod Mad, mixed media artists book, detail-c

The size is 6" x 8" closed, and 24" wide when fully stretched. The covers are chipboard sheathed in cream and brown polka dot fabric. Nice and sturdy too so the book can be displayed upright.

Mod Mad, mixed media artists book, detail-e
I must say I am quite tickled about the stamps I made. It tells me I need to really explore this avenue further.

This is now available in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Dog's Lunch

A Dog's Lunch Journal, 3rd edition

They're back! The third edition of my funky-ass mixed media journals are here. I call them A Dog's Lunch because they are collection of curated and distressed papers randomly arranged (like our brains) and sprinkled throughout with a variety of envelopes and...original collages by yours truly.

I say this is the third edition because I prepare them in limited quantities - four - plus, they are roughly organized around a theme - in this case, butterflies. I make what I would want to have as an artist: so some truly blank, blank pages (creamy smooth bond) and a bunch of other treated sheets that bypass the intimidating sea of white.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, page detail -a

Techniques include laminating with tissue and deli papers (and light sanding to knock back too much texture), painting with gesso and/or acrylic washes, and embellishing with fancy corner and edge paper punches, stamps (butterflies), and paper cut-outs (yup, butterflies). Pages of uneven heights are gleaned from junk mail and vintage books - Swedish dictionary, opera synopses, encyclopedic compendium, and snipped from maps - National Geographic, topographic fishing, road atlas.

There're a few envelopes in different sizes, even a flamboyant Chinese New Year gift envelope. And to corral even more loose stuff there are several taffeta covered double-sided pockets.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, page detail -b

Three original butterfly-themed collages are included because no book is fun without pictures.

The journals are 6" x 8" not including the O-wire binding. There are 116 "blank" pages. Now available in my Etsy shop: