Monday, March 12, 2018

Everyone Wants A Piece

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage

Dessert is my happy place. Yet without the metabolism of a gazelle, my visits are few and far between. And so I vicariously indulge appetite with art - reminding myself of greater, more lasting pleasures.

This innocently began with a little scrap play, leftovers from my recent textile collage, Cross. Some of the pieces tiered so nicely suggesting you-know-what that I couldn't help myself.  Beads, buttons, lace, ribbon - just too easy.  Heady stuff.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-a

I think the key for me was to make a background that had some texture but didn't compete with the centerpiece. I dry brushed a cotton fabric background then laminated an old dictionary page on top, whitewashing it to keep the words from jumping off the page. Went over this with a glaze of delicate metallic lilac to suggest a glow of sorts.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-b

The embroidery was done with a mix of flosses and perles - think different line thicknesses for mark-making. Got myself into a little trouble when I originally stitched the candle "light" circles in a very different color. Couldn't get past it and so carefully undid and redid them all in the white you see now.

It was a good opportunity to use some stitches I hadn't tried in a long while. Coral, for example. It's a challenge to incorporate the fancier ones when my style tends casual. Plus it has to make sense in my head - think existential.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-c

Hoping others find this delectable. I found it quite satisfying, and wouldn't mind trying another. There seem to be all sorts of possibilities. Aaagh - sugar rush!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Three Apricots

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage

An experiment with watercolor pencils transferred to fabric for the sheer pleasure of embellishing with stitch and beads.

I love watercolor painting but alas it is not one of my skills. Have tried throughout the years never meeting with enough success to think I could get the hang of it if only I really really applied myself. So I "cheat" and use watercolor pencils to block out my basic (and primitive) drawing then water brushing ever so gently to achieve blending! and gradation!

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I painted this little still life on a leftover scrap of Transfer Artist Paper because it can be applied to just about anything with an iron. Love this stuff but sadly not available anymore because a crucial ingredient is off the market for ever. (They are trying to find a work around.)

My motive was having a picture to embroider in a casual sketchy way - because I haven't done so before. I admire that free-form style but seem to retreat to the safety of official stitches that have names and a heritage.

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Adding beads is second nature. I had the perfect yellow-orange color, and they just invite the eye to mosey around to the softly frayed edges of the chiffon. My pictures here don't show that this is mounted on plain cotton dry brushed with white gesso. That's my go to background these days - creates a buffer zone to make the picture pop and adds a little texture as well.

"Three Apricots" and other original artwork listed in my Etsy shop:

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crossed Purposes

Cross, textile collage

Thought this piece wanted to be something else - an "abstract study" so the rage with artists I admire - yet after hours of peaceful yet tentative stitching it goaded me to reveal its true nature. Turning it upside down or to the light just so wasn't sparking any recognition on my part. Out came the seam ripper, the scissors, and the twisting & pinching fingers.

No Choice. As a business trip tag-along, I packed light - no other fabrics, threads, or buttons to run away with. It was a perfect opp to sew to my heart's content. I  n e e d e d  this. Besides, that combination of bronze, browns, golds, and ochres was irresistible. A low-key luxe.

Cross, textile collage, detail-a

Fairy dust shower. My frustration gave way to inspiration like puzzle pieces falling into place. A cross materialized, and it mirrored a positive and affirmative outlook I'd been trying to practice more consistently. I felt a certainty I wish to hell would happen more often.

I was excited to go to sleep so I could wake up that much sooner, fresh and ready to stitch. But of course we so rarely get to have big blocks of time to visit with our "project-friends", and it took the next several weeks of slipping in for a good chat here and there to finish up.

Cross, textile collage, detail-b

I am quite pleased whether or not it finds an adoring audience (though I hope it does!) That the process worked out when it didn't seem likely despite good intentions was a gift. Maybe in some way that comes through? What an honor that would be.

"Cross" and other original artwork listed in my Etsy shop:

Also available on Amazon Handmade:

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Age Seduces Beauty

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page

The sentiment of Age Seduces Beauty came to mind when I came across this photo of an antique pocket watch casing. Such an exquisite and suggestive picture on so tiny a surface! Some leering old man whispering sweet nothings to a lovely lass of creamy bosom. Pretty sure we're in Metaphor Territory though and not Zone #metoo. Consciousness-raising didn't run along those lines back then. Too impertinent. Now of course I can pull up any manner of classic tableaux on my smart phone "timepiece" and even register my outrages at will.

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page, detail-a

I started off with a book jacket photo, gave it a little distressing and then a coat of "crazing" medium. The patches of hairline craquelure don't show up very well but at least the surface looks aged and mysterious. I highlighted the casing ornamentation with metallic powders and beads.

Then the layering - an old lace tablecloth scrap atop a shiny pale synthetic. I embroidered roses in variegated cotton perle (or do you say pearl?) and subtle tiny loops in some metallic thread. Just a hint of glitz.

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page, detail-b

As my art journal is an altered book , it was quite handy to decoupage a patterned napkin directly onto the page and leave it at that. It's a personal victory to finally use one of these lovely patterned serviettes. I have stash issues.

This piece has been a good exercise for between projects. I like the challenge of bringing paper and fabric together with some stitchery to keep my restless fingers satisfied.

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Friday, January 12, 2018


Deposition, mixed media collage

I remounted these two older pieces in the hopes of attracting a new forever home for them. I admit they are rather somber. They're littermates in a series I did quite a few years ago about working through childhood loss(es). Some have been "adopted", that is sold through the gallery they were exhibited in, and some were permanently retired. Not all the puppies make it.

Levitation, mixed media collage

Anywhoo not to get too broody here - if one can make art about their issues, then one's already in a better place - I took them out of there deep black frames and attached them to coarse cotton fabric stiffened with gesso. It's a technique I'm really excited about because it sets off well my casual style without having to bother with mat frames (especially if I'm not working in a standard size). Simply dry brush two coats of gesso on osnaburg - but allow for shrinkage.

Deposition, mixed media collage, detail

I like the added bonus of putting a subtle machine sewn border all around to complement the art work. First time I used one of those dang fancy stitches on the Janome. (Maybe it's not too much machine after all.)

Levitation, mixed media collage, detail

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Simple Christmas

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage 

'Tis the Season to be Arting... This is an effective strategy for dealing with all sorts of conflicting energies. Would that I could indulge to my heart's content.

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage, detail-b

The seed of the idea came from wanting to use the street finds of bottle caps and broken glass. How does Christmas come to those without money. Augmenting with a burlap background and kraft paper snowflakes seemed a natural fit. So much beauty can be found in the humble. The tree itself was a process. I sewed down scraps from a variety of green and patterned fabrics in a grid style then cut my shape from that.

Decorating. The icing that makes cake, dessert. Embellishing with many peaceful moments of sewing straight stitch, affixing sequins and beads, and fussing over shisha wrapped sparkly "presents".

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage, detail-b

I made this piece several Xmas' ago and became so fond of it I decided to frame and keep for myself. It's a touchstone for several mental working-through's.

The Holiday Season is complicated for me as it is for many. When I have the presence of mind to just stop - and focus on the reason for the season as they say, then it's like a breath of fresh air: Jesus. Birth. Hope.

Merry Christmas, y'all

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sunshine And Flowers

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage

Grandmothers decorate my house and inspire my art. This piece of happy fluff started with a scrap of my Grandma-In-Law's dress - soft blue and white gingham dotted with yellow-centered pink flowers and green leaves. Finally making use of some of my precious hoard!

The foundation is a square of osnaburg roughly coated with gesso for instant texture and support. It was an experiment that pleasantly surprised me - will definitely do this again. Then there's the treasure scrap of course and on top of that I layered a sheet of vintage book text (with watery glue) and yet another experiment from long ago, hand printed flowers made from the plastic rings of cap gun ammo.

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I went straight to the sun for beginning my embroidery. I wanted bright and happy. Tacking down a folded piece of yellow lace fit the bill, and I followed that up with a circle of buttonholed rays. Flowers were a mixture of fly stitch and lazy daisy plus buttons and two kinds of beads. More buttonhole for the stems and then an explosion of them for the background worked in variegated blue perle. Helped tie the layers together.

Tipping the sun rays with yellow beads made my heart sing. I love yellow and I love beads. Dotting the fabric print flowers with yellow beads was a no-brainer too. But something still felt missing. So after some miscues with color and design I settled on off-white running stitch "flourishes" in the upper corners and lower pockets.

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Mission accomplished. As to my comment about grandmothers decorating my house - the background of my photo here comes from my paternal grandmother. It is a vintage runner of flax -  an exquisite example of renowned Lithuanian weaving. I do adore incorporating the "old stuff" (textiles, china etc.) into my decor - it's meaningful and fun-kayyy.

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