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.

Just want pix without conversation, check out my Instagram:

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mademoiselle Becoming

Mademoiselle Becoming, mixed media art journal page

Playing catch up here as I completed this art journal page a couple of months ago. I have been enamored with these little black and white photos and illustrations found in a Swedish dictionary. (One of my go-to sources for vintage printed pages.) It's been a challenge to use them in my art as they are quite small so details are easily lost, especially with all the grey tones. Not much really jumps out.  My technique of placing sheer fabrics over them to integrate into the background and protect the delicate paper makes it even trickier.

But stubborn donkey here keeps trying (you may recall my plaintive comments on dry gel transfers - I can't leave well enough alone although the paper hazing drives me nuts).  So that's why this is an art journal page rather than a full-on wall piece. As an experiment it works.

Here I watery-glued a large scrap of old silk scarf on top the vintage book picture. It's light color with delicate patterning works well but there's a visual difference between where the glue was applied and where not. That's okay in the context of a very scrappy, grunge collage, however it's unattractive when the fabric is dark and/or opaque.

The rest of the process is pretty self-evident. I added a few more glitzy scraps then embroidered all over in grey to help pull together. The tiny pink beads add texture with soft unobtrusive color. And the buttons guide the gaze (yours) to the face. Mademoiselle's lips have been rouged up for two reasons: attention (yours) and commentary (coming of age).

This is the third or fourth piece using these dictionary pictures. I think my success is limited - a grey focal point is hard to liven up without calling too much attention to the supporting players. Might gather them together, add a few more, and call it a subtle artist's book.

In meanwhile, splashier fare available at my Etsy shop:

And if it's microdoses of eye candy, visit me on Instagram: