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Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Classes at the Craft Guild

Made it through Christmas -- here is a picture of my sister and I with our two dogs on Christmas Eve. We had fun. Even though this fall was a whirlwind, I love all of the new people that doing this work brings into my life. Thank you all for being there and for your support!


I am busy making samples for the many new classes I will be teaching in the winter/spring session at the Craft Guild of Dallas. There will be needle felting where we will explore types of wool to use, how to make a 3d shape (see the cute round shapes and the nest -- good for making jewelry), and some flat needle felting
techniques; nuno felting scarves both basic and advanced (we will learn to make fringes and ruffles), and also my beloved nuvo felting in which we combine the needles and wet felting and make a small highly embellished piece. I taught both the basic scarves class and the nuvo class in December and they were both so much fun!

I will also be exploring some new territory by co-teaching with David Lawrence. David is a master bookbinder. We will be playing with some new surfaces for bookbinding including silk paper, lutradur, a book with a cloth/tissue paper cover and using felt to make a cover for a small photo album. Very fun altered books and lots of techniques covered in this class!

Later in the spring I will be offering an art quilting class (with some help from my friends of course!)

You can check out the new classes at the Craft Guild on their new website (way to go guys!) at http://www.craftguildofdallas.com/fiber_arts.php There are pictures there and I will try to post pictures here as I get things completed.

Cheers! Let me know if you have questions, I love to help.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why it's Called Nuno Felting

I've been so busy this fall. I had a wonderful show (Southeastern Animal and Fiber Fair) in Asheville, NC and survived many mishaps (missed flights, lost keys, lost cell phone) because of all of the wonderful people I met along the way. Many thanks to all of you! I came back to do a show of finished pieces at the Craft Guild of Dallas -- another great show and many thanks everyone who helped and has had patience with me in this very busy time! I was appointed Fiber Arts Chair for the Guild during the show. I can't tell you how much this means to me. It is a life long dream come true! Teaching and coming up with new ideas are the things I have always loved best. I just love the camaraderie that sharing the creative process brings.
So, I have much to do to prepare for classes in the winter/spring term. Class schedules will be mailed soon.

On to today's subject about Nuno. I was searching for information about textile traditions and found an article about a Japanese Company called Nuno. They are known for creating innovative and cutting edge fabrics (Their fabrics are on display currently at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC -- here is the link:http://www.textilemuseum.org/exhibitions/current/Nuno.html .)  Somehow the name got entwined with the wonderfully innovative technique of combining wool and other fabrics. Nuno actually means cloth in Japanese. The nuno felting technique was actually invented by Polly Sterling in the mid 1990's. I tink it was sometimes called laminated felting in the early days, but the more innovative name nuno appears to be the one that people use more todau.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for a wonderful year! Here is a picture of part of a shawl I created this weekend. Fun texture and warm and soft as well.

Oh, and I am running a customer appreciation sale -- 15% off in December for repeat customers (some exclusions apply). Not too late to buy some Christmas Gifts! Or make a shawl and keep someone you love warm this winter.

Cheers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nuno Collage Scarf and SAFF

Well, here it is September -- back to school and I am preparing to go back to do the SAFF show in Asheville in October (Southeastern Animal and Fiber Fair). I am very excited to go back again and see the friends I've made and meet some new people!

I have been asked to teach this year which will be fun. I am really enjoying composing using the hand held needle felters, then finishing by lightly wet felting. I find my students this summer have been enthusiastic as well.

The picture is of one of the products I am working on for the show. I call it a collage scarf because of all of the silk textures I've packaged together to put on top. I am working on about 4 other color combinations, so stay tuned. Lots to do!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gratitude

I have lately been reminded of how much I have to be grateful for and how happiness is a decision we all make. Without dwelling on those things, here are some pictures of things I am grateful for.


I am grateful that I have the time to play with making new fabrics -- something I just love to do!



I am grateful for friends who encourage me to try new things and play. I need a picture of the group of fiber artists I am a part of -- coming soon!




I am grateful for others out there experimenting and learning. These beautiful locks are from Margo Duke -- she is selling them on ETSY. Here is the address for her ETSY shop: Her Majesty Margo.etsy.com






And perhaps most of all, I am grateful for those of you who come to class, who love to learn and teach me so much. Thanks so much!





Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stillness


Goodness gracious, it is hot in Texas! When I get bothered by it, I go and look at a vacation picture I took a couple of weeks ago. My son and I went to Alaska. Great fun and a needed break! So here is my favorite glacier picture. Looking at it reminds me that cool weather will return and at a bit deeper level, the picture reminds me to be still when things are unclear. Patience is such a virtue! However, my prettiest fabrics seem to happen on the hottest days, so I try to appreciate the whole of things...
cheers you guys and stay cool!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rust Dyeing

Just wanted to write a quick summary of what I learned this week! Rust dyeing! My 84 year old neighbor who gave me the old frying pan I used to make this beautiful fabric said "we always tried to figure out how to get the rust out of our fabric". Well, not today! It's a hot new way to make fabric in an environmentally friendly way.


So here's what you need: something rusty, some vinegar and your fabric. I used my neighbor's old cast iron skillet and scrunched the fabric inside the pan. I poured vinegar over it and let it sit in the sun for the afternoon and voila!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What to do with this?

I had fun yesterday playing with some beautiful colors. I made what I thought was going to be a book jacket (which you see pictured), but I'm not sure that's the thing to do. It is a rectangular piece that wraps around the book and I put the silk on in a border. It is amazing to me what a difference proportion makes in a piece. Is it a part of a purse, a book, a wall piece? What do you think? I have some more pink dupioni silk, I will ponder what to make. Any ideas? This will eventually become a project kit when I figure out what it is!




It looks like this piece I made a few weeks ago will turn into a purse. Thanks to Lu Peters (http://www.lupeters.com/) for the wonderful charm -- it just makes the piece. It is really wonderful to have these nuno felted fabrics -- they can be cut and shaped as you wish.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Almost Done...


Well, here I am this morning -- looking at pictures of the color kits. It's not always easy to get good pictures, so I would love some feedback! The first kit above is called "spring" -- the colors are very warm and inviting, kind of high energy...the kits contain 9 colors of silk, some gauze and some habotai. They will be matched with kits containing 3 pieces of prefelt and kits with 5 colors of roving. Fun to make a nuno purse, pillow, or enhance a scarf or shawl or your wall work. These are available in 4 color ways and they will be on my website soon! There will be a 20% discount for the first 25 kits sold, so email me and let me know you are interested!

I am also working on project packs, stay tuned!

Have a great day you guys!









Sunday, May 3, 2009

Color Everywhere!


Another busy week -- this time I am working on my "color kits" -- a new product I am offering. These kits will have 9 colors of silk in a combination of habotai and gauze in a color theme. There is enough silk to make a nuno pillow or purse or embellish a wall piece. Of course I had to try a few. I started out with just habotai (the shiny silk), but found I liked composing with the contrast of the gauze and habotai -- the smooth and shiny look great together! So I am back to dyeing a bit more fabric. Stay tuned!

I am also playing with the journals and color themes. The piece above reminds me of a tide pool, so a journal adorned with this piece might be titled "A Summer to Remember"...


This piece looks sort of oriental -- that is primarily due to the colors. It has all sorts of texture in it.


Cheers! -- I am going to go finish dyeing that gauze so I can get those color kits out the door.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thank you Sara and Suzanne!

I've been busy the last 2 weeks. I dyed and packaged a whole bolt of silk! My friend Suzanne Higgs is taking some of my things to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival which is the first weekend in May and I believe the largest sheep and wool show in the country. Doing a show is so much work -- so THANK YOU Suzanne for including me in your booth! If you are going that way, look for Suzanne in Susan's Fiber Shop (Suzanne and Susan are sharing a booth -- you can read her blog post about it here: http://www.hookedonfelt.blogspot.com/).



Also, Sara West, a friend and fabulous nuno felter made two pieces for me for Suzanne to display in the booth. She made a shawl with ruffles on my new fabric I call "spring" and a really cute thin scarf. I wish you could see all of the detail she puts in her work, it is really beautiful! My sister took me to lunch for my birthday and came in wearing pink and denim. The scarf went perfectly with her outfit, so I got her to wear it to lunch so I could admire it before it went on it's way to Maryland.





Many thanks to both of you!




Friday, April 10, 2009

The Big Picture...

I was perusing an art book while waiting for my turbo tax to update itself. You know, that "I'll just browse for a second and I'll pick this book because it's due back at the library" kind of moment. But something wonderful happened in that moment. I got something that I've danced around for years. It's really simple and I'll share with you!

What I got was the idea behind the "art language" if you will. I used to read things about art principles and elements and just put the books gently back down. But now I get it. So here goes!

Art principles are sort of the big picture guidelines for how to make your art pieces work. Things such as balance, variety and unity. Elements are the tools we use to create with. Line, shape, color, and texture are elements that all go into making up the piece within the big picture guidelines.

Simple, right?

Anyone want to send in pictures of pieces which demonstrate balance? I would love to see them and I'll work on some demonstrations myself.

Cheers!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Year Later...



I just finished sewing the beads on this piece yesterday. (Finally!) I've shown it to a few people and they seem to really like it. I'm also getting ready to do a show next weekend so I started pulling out what I have in inventory to sell (it is an art show, so I need finished pieces). I found a journal that I had done about a year ago. Here it is:












There is a paper tag on the journal cover that says "inquire within" and the theme of this book was meant to be contemplation. I did this piece entirely by intuition. When I created the piece this year (The one above left -- I need a name for it, perhaps Contemplation?) I knew that I was creating with primarily horizontal lines and that horizontal lines are restful. I used the colors that Leatrice Eiseman calls "contemplation" in her book "Color: Messages and Meanings". I love the peacefulness that I find in nature, so the scene resembles a landscape. Perhaps the larger beads are houses tucked in by a river on a hillside. However you interpret this piece, I meant to convey peaceful contemplation. Something serene. But this time I knew that I was doing that -- the first time was sort of hit or miss. Yeah! I learned something!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good Insight...

Connie made a really insightful comment about art vs. craft (Thanks, Connie -- see Connie's comment on my last post -- also see her wonderful blog at sewforthsewon.blogspot.com) Connie says, in part, that the difference between art and craft is based on intent. To me, this hits the nail on the head. Approaching your work with the intent to convey a message seems to be the most fundamental difference between art and craft. A piece of art speaks to the viewer on some level. The artist's theme, choice of materials, colors, etc. all work toward expressing something they feel some emotion about. Here is a quote that Connie found that says it well:

"Artists who are true to themselves do not make art for the marketplace, but for themselves--to start a dialogue with their viewers, their fans, and the world. They make art because they have something to say that is best said not with words, but through a creative act. They make art because they have to. The marketing stuff can come later. " Alyson Stanfield.

As I see it, the artist has two tasks. First is to find a theme that captivates us. This is pretty much an exercise in being present. Begin to notice what you are drawn to or places/things that hold your interest or if there is something inside you that needs to be expressed. Notice when you feel some emotional reaction to things you see. Keep notes. Take pictures. The second task is to develop a composition around that theme. Learning and applying the art principles and elements will speed the process of developing your piece. You are just tapping into what the brain already knows. I call this the "language of art" -- this is a language any of us can learn.

We will explore both inspiration and composition here. You guys chime in with ways you have found to develop a piece.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

OK, I Guess it's Time!



I don't know about you guys, but I have been skirting the "artist" vs. "crafter" issue for some time. What is the difference? What am I? I've gathered some books, been to a few seminars, but never really applied myself to learning the language of art. I've allowed my intuition to be my guide, but now it's time to focus in a bit.

I am really hoping to get some input from readers here. I have gathered some resources which speak to me, and to the best of my ability I will demonstrate the points -- but I know there is a wealth of visual art out there that could chime in here! Send in pictures that you find that clearly illustrate a point and tell us what you do to learn.

To start, I am going to paraphrase a list I found in the book "Creative Composition and Design" by Pat Dews. I really love this book. Pat is a painter, but her words and methods speak to me.

She says in part: "All the design advice in the world will not help you create better art if you are missing the fundamentals it takes to become a better artist." Vow to live by this list:

1. Read, Study and look at good art. Listen to the pros.

2. Make the time and create the space to work. Work. Make small studies.

3. View your in-progress works from a distance and from every orientation.

4. Learn to take good photos for reference. You need reference material that you have made.

5. Enter shows, sell your work and reward yourself!

That's it for today. Have a creative day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Creative Genius




Here are a few more pictures of people having fun learning in class! Hats off to you guys!

I will be starting a discussion about composition for the next several weeks. I'd love to hear from you guys! Send in pictures of your work if you feel it really demonstrates a design idea.


Have a great week!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Creative Genius



I taught a nuno felting class yesterday at the White Rock Weaving Center. It just thrills me to see the wonderful things that come from the class participants. The creative process is just thrilling! My favorite part from yesterday was: I asked everyone to lay out their roving in a particular way to save time. (We didn't have much time for the class.) As I walked around the room I was absolutely thrilled to see all of the variations of the pattern I asked them to create. They were still using the creative genius within the confines that they were given. Hats off to you guys!

While I don't have photos of the actual class participants from yesterday, I have pictures from previous classes where the same thing has happened. Thanks to all of you who have come to my classes -- I learn so much from you guys. I also love to see the joy on people's faces as they enjoy learning and creating. Very fun!
Cheers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Sneak Preview


OK, I'll admit it. I've allowed myself some creative downtime. The first 8 months of running this business were pretty rugged, and I needed some rest. So I've allowed myself to accomplish less, but my creativity has soared. I found a book on color which I really love -- it makes me happy just to peruse the pages. It's called "Color: Messages and Meanings" by Leatrice Eiseman. I got it from my local library.

I'll be introducing some new products over the next month. I've been thinking about ways to make my little kits more user friendly. So I've come up with what I hope will work. I'll be packaging the silk and wool separately and putting together larger quantities of each. It should actually take less time to package, so I can still keep the pricing very competitive. It should be easier to choose a color way, because the color messages will be strong. The silk packages will contain many colors in varying size pieces and will be enough to make more than one piece.
The little journal above was made from one of the new kits. It took me about 30 to 45 minutes to put together. It is partly needle felted and partly wet felted. It was so fun to play with all of this color!
Any opinions about the color message here?
Have a wonderful day and try to allow some creative play time -- it is good for the soul!


Monday, February 23, 2009

On Allowing the Creative Process

I watched a really powerful video clip of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" speaking on the creative process. The clip is about 19 minutes long, and is really wonderful. There is a link at the end of this post. If you don't have time to watch it, I will hit some of the highlights here.

Elizabeth speaks about creativity and all of the negative connotations that have grown up around creative people. She also speaks about the great success of her latest book and about how people are now saying things to her about her career having peaked and she will just go down hill from here. She is "doomed". So her observations about all of this have lead her to the belief that it is the artist's job to "show up" and allow the creative process or creative genius to work in and through them. Creativity is really not about the outcome, it is about allowing the creative process to unfold. (Somehow I think this ties into being present and finding joy!) We don't really know how the work we are doing will affect ourselves or others. Elizabeth certainly didn't expect her book to be the overwhelming success that it has been.

Julia Cameron also has strong beliefs this way. In "The Artist's Way" on page 55, you will find the "Rules of the Road". Julia states, in part, "In order to be an artist, I must 1) Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream, to try."

Julia's list is ten items long and very well worth another read or finding a copy of the book!

So, to those of you who feel the need to create, but discount it's importance to yourself or the rest of us, I encourage you to show up!

Have a creative week out there!

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Joy

Thanks to all of you who gave me feedback on the blog! Hope the color change makes it easier to read. I will continue to fill out the features as I can...

It took me a day or two to work through my thoughts on the second meaning of Presence. Webster's says "5 a: the bearing, carriage, or air of a person ; especially : stately or distinguished bearing b: a noteworthy quality of poise and effectiveness ".

As I started making one of a kind things, I noticed that when people put them on, there was something really special about that experience. They felt -- what is it -- like they had presence?

I think it actually goes a little deeper than that. I think, for some people at least, buying something that makes them feel beautiful or distinguished (you word smiths help me find the right word here) is part of the process of finding joy. It's allowing something wonderful to be part of your life. This does not have to be about buying anything at all -- it's that process of allowing something you love -- that makes you feel energized -- some space in your life. Joy is something we have to begin to notice in our lives. Again, there is such a focus on our busy productive lives, that I don't think we stop to notice -- or allow -- that which brings us joy.

You guys expand this thought!

Next up -- Elizabeth Gilbert on the creative process

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On Presence...

This is an exciting day! I've learned to cut through some limiting thoughts about myself and what I can accomplish in life. I hope you will share stories of your wanderings and days of waking up to some new parts of yourselves as well.

What I would like to share today is a comment about why I named my company Presence. Being present had a double meaning to me -- which I found very succinctly written in Webster's dictionary today. Definition one says: " the fact or condition of being present". Now what does that mean? My teachings tell me that a goal is to be present in our own lives day to day. To the best of our abilities on that day, we are not letting old tapes run us or just hurrying through the day without noticing things that are wondrous right under our noses. Help me name some -- the smell of the coffee, the warmth of your robe or shower, etc. The smiling face of a child, a stranger or a pet...the first shoots of new spring growth...the list goes on and on.



Coincidentally, I noticed that when I was dyeing fabric, I really had to be present. I really loved watching the process unfold, and I began to notice that things often went differently than I had planned. (Sounds like life, huh?) But if I stayed with the process and listened, I would either learn something really valuable from that experiment or figure out how to keep going to get an outcome I wanted.



So, today I challenge you to start to notice what is going on right now. Be present in and enjoy the wonder that is your life.



Next blogs: the other meaning of Presence and "on joy".

You guys chime in!