Thursday, August 2, 2018

Cafe, oui!

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage

While traveling overseas, I brought along a very basic art stitching kit. It consisted of denim and osnaburg scraps, a handful of perles (sizes 5 & 8) in neutrals and basic colors, plus scissors and needles. And a seam ripper. It would be a the fun challenge: what could be created with limited supplies and the occasional found object.

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-a

I knew I wouldn't have much time to give myself over to some big complicated project - that's what home studios are for. But I knew I would jump out of my skin if I didn't have something to sew even if only to make chicken scratches.

A little burst of inspiration came in the form of the ubiquitous cookie served with cafe au lait. I even had an affinity for the colors on the wrapper: buttercream, red oxide, and rusty orange. Why not a still life of sorts. 

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-b

I set to work piecing my "canvas" because I'm so taken with the look of patchwork. It adds instant texture and visual interest to the background. Then with my rudimentary drawing skills I sketched out a basic coffee cup and went over that with thread. The kicker would be the real live wrapper. And actual coffee stains for effect.

Very satisfied with my minimalist textile collage. It was completed in several days between jaunts to quaint places and periods of idle conversation. I gave it as a tiny gift to my hosts who already had purchased another (grander) piece for their collection.

To see my other latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

I also my original artwork in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Feel The Heat

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage

My take on the transition from tender Spring greenery to that intense Summer heat found in the desert (and seemingly everywhere right now from my vantage point of late July!) As I live in the arid region of Southern California, I feel a mild dread of what's to come - the record-breaking high temps that zap all my energy. The landscape cries thirst.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

Yet there is a sear beauty to what the sun wreaks - it has such an intense power, an incredible presence. This cycle repeated endlessly over time. That germ of thought is what came to mind when I stumbled upon this rusty metal disk. It would be the nucleus of my sun image. Old yet timeless, relentless.

It was easy enough to fall back on the cliche colors often used to clothe the sun - yellows and golds. The ochre shades well compliment the rich reddish brown of rust. They rightfully suggest energy, brightness, and warmth.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Now of course the flora found in the desert isn't that saturated green as found in the jungle - it tends toward the sage and khaki shades with plenty of silvery and ashy highlights. This against the endless palette of browns and beiges becomes a study of subtle contrasts. No splashy kodachrome shots here. The simplicity of form comes to dominance.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

"Desert, Late Spring" comes mounted on an 8" x 10" canvas-y feeling dry-brushed cotton, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Friday, July 20, 2018

Home On The Range

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage

Colorplay. An idle mental exercise of what might go with a terrifically deep rust upholstery fabric I'd been hanging onto to it for longer than I can remember. I knew its sturdiness would come in handy as a background "canvas" for... something Westernish. Hence the horse. Then the perfect contrast came to me - cool blues, turquoise maybe. And the scrap bag yielded this nugget of a print.

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I'd been wanting to play around with stitching a particular shape on top of a formless fabric scrap instead of fussing with a tight, refined applique. That looseness of having the colors extend beyond the lines - think what you're not supposed to do in a coloring book - appealed to me.

Got a nice conversation going when I introduced some lavender and added more blue in the form of sparkly organza.  Needing more space to fool around, I decided to expand with a big chunk of pale peach wool felt. (Remember how this was the only "flesh" tone in crayon boxes of yore?)

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Then it was time to go tactile, and that meant beads, button, and embroidery. Another sun! The circle motif speaks to me - complete, stable yet full of dynamic potential (e.g. sun rays). So many ways to suggest that energy, and it gives me an excuse to dawdle longer with needle and thread.

Another technique I'm playing with is mixing fancier with plain embroidery stitches. I am fascinated with how an over and under here and a twist there can render an elaborate line for the eye to follow and guess at. Thread play in general stakes out a bigger space than it actually occupies.

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-c

"Out On The Range" comes mounted on a 5" x 7" canvas-y feeling dry-brushed cotton, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tooting My Own Horn

"Contemplating Nature", Sew Somerset, Summer 2018

Sew Somerset, Summer 2018, is featuring a how-to based on my artwork, Transpiration. It's an embroidered leaf print (yes, the leaf really was that ginormous) cut and folded into an X-book. It's also free-standing.

OMG!!! This is my favorite mixed media art magazine and so, I'm over the moon they'd choose one of my pieces to stand alongside those of other really cool artists. Snap it up - there are pages of inspiration!

Sew Somerset, Summer 2018, cover

This particular piece is also available in my Etsy shop:

Monday, May 14, 2018

These Violet Delights...

Violet, mixed media textile collage

You may recognize a few of these fabrics from my Easter Lily textile collage a short time back. A flagrant example of commitment avoidance. Violet began first but finished last -- because it was easier to fool around with the scraps than figure out how to play up this very dimensional flower.

This began as a sandwich of cotton tablecloth lace, vintage book page, and good ol' muslin. Watery glue stiffened it up quite nicely which gave me the idea of following the hardened lace with embroidery floss. But a focal point was needed as the actual flower pattern within the lace was too amorphous to read well. I tried rubbing an oil paint stick on certain areas to highlight but it wasn't enough.

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

Scrunching up sheer purple organza did the trick as it poufs up off the surface even as it reveals the page underneath. Then it became a matter of adding enough detail around it to draw attention without hiding the type printed texture nor leaving it a sea of plainness. 

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

In hindsight the adding in of details seems quite simple but my mind does not make it easy - I go through dozens of scenarios before finally choosing, and even then I may end up ripping out a fair amount of stitching. Add in a little nagging voice that asks why I'm not using this or that neglected  notion, and I'm a mass of resentment at having too many choices.

But once I'm on the path, it's a marvelous thing to watch the unfolding of color and texture. Bright turquoise and mysterious purple, glinty beads and intricate lace, smooth buttons and cushy perle.

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

Violet which measures 8" x 10" is now available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

More Than Meets The Eye

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage

Nothing profound at work here except for the sentiment expressed in word and symbol. It started off as a way to use up this deliberately wrinkled paper glued to fabric. I had spritzed it with walnut ink to highlight the network of random lines, let it languish in the cool-papers-for-collage-someday box for several years, and then smoothed on some cold wax for matte-y protection.

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

The color combo of yellows, greens, and oranges is irresistible to me. It reeks of wholesomeness and good cheer, qualities that often elude me. After one fabric was chosen the rest suggested themselves like a game of connect the dots. Most are upcycled clothing scraps - husband's shirt, grandma's dress, and some stranger's exquisite taste in office appropriate silk.

I like randomness so I fought myself tooth and nail to either leave the unevenly sided scraps alone or to be careless with my straight lines. It plays to my turning lack of precision skills to strengths of wabi-sabi-dom. I tell myself it confuses mischievous evil spirits - enemies of perfection!

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I echo that "credo" in my embroidery. Here it was a challenge to find stitches that were more than mere dots and dashes but also didn't look out of character for the personality of the piece. My favorite part has to be the reddish triangles inner border. Big, small, wide, narrow - there's a parade of movement.

My newish thing lately has been to mount my collages onto dry-brush painted cotton. Has a canvas-y feel and obviates a mat come frame time. To add more polish and better job secure the edges I blanket stitch the perimeter. Only too happy to do so as it's a quite peaceful activity.

Secret compartment alert! This prayer flag doubles as a pouch for letters and keepsakes by having a slit and lined backside. (At 5" x 7" that's a decent amount of room.) By tucking in your heart's desire  safe and sound, you're augmenting all that good intention mojo.

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

The prayer flag is now up in my Etsy shop:

If you'd like to take a gander at my other art works, fly on over to my Instagram feed:

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Dog's Lunch Redux

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition

Ohmylord, there're a plethora of heirloom quality handmade journals out there - the kind you shouldn't spill coffee on. These don't compete. They're for down and dirty recording of your passions - furtive sketches, irreverent observations, and hasty garnerings.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-a

These may look familiar and indeed they are. They came out last year, but I have just given them a major makeover - tricking them out with charms and danglies, gilding page borders, stamping out suggestive prompts and images, and even protecting the covers with metal corner edges. (Did you notice the butterfly imprinted wax seal on the front?!)

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-b

These elements are fun, even grunge-y but not so precious that they demand clean hands and a noble mind. My motive was to enhance the inner & outer journey theme of these "blank" workbooks. Each page is a point of departure.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-c

Speaking of pages, there are 116 of them plus three envelopes and three double-sided pocket pages. I handmade just four of these 6" x 8-1/2" journals, so while they have similar types of elements and formatting, no two are identical.

Come find them in my Etsy shop:

Keep current on my latest projects and inspirations on Instagram: