Saturday, January 30, 2010

Look what I got in the mail!

I got my first book page in the Traveling Pages swap. It's from Gayle in California and it's called "A Walk in the Redwoods". Isn't it wonderful?
Here's a detail of her embroidery work. I love it, Gayle, thanks! If you want to know more about it, follow the link on the sidebar for the Story of the Traveling Pages.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spinning and a Peak

I got a drop spindle at Thanksgiving time and have finally been trying it out. These are my first attempts in which I achieved something that looked vaguely like yarn. It's wrapped around a piece of cardboard to keep tension on it so it won't lose its twist.

Here is one set that I have tried to set the twist by soaking it in some soapy water. As you can tell, I am not getting an even yarn but I am getting a bit better. It definitely takes practice. I just want to spin bits and pieces to add to my felt. I won't be doing whole skeins. No knitting or crocheting happening here.

The other thing I completed today was my second page for The Story of the Traveling Pages. It is for Ann in Germany and her theme is fairy tales. I like how this page turned out but I can't show the entire page until Ann receives it. And, the page isn't due until February so I am ahead. As I'm going to be out of town for a portion of February, I thought it would be a good idea to get Ann's page done now. Next page up is for Mandy and her theme is The Sea. The photo below is a peak of the other project I have been working on all week. I free motion embroidered all the way across my piece in an organic "pebbling". It took all week, working about an hour at a time to get all the way across. The piece is over 4 feet across. I have at least twice this much left to do. Thanks for all your comments and I appreciate everyone stopping by whether you leave a comment or not. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Book Page Received in Australia

I'm finally able to show you the page I made for Johoanna for her "Goddess Within" theme. If you're following the Story of the Traveling Pages blog, you'll have already seen it. It is machine felted background on a recycled sweater with machine and hand needle felted tree. The leaves are hand stitched and the copper shield is embossed and then hand stitched on. If you've been following this blog very long, you'll know that I use trees often as my inspiration. So I thought that my personal goddess would be a tree goddess.

The shield has the symbolism of the downward facing triangle which stands for goddess as creatrix and the double spiral symbolizes the duality of life in going inwards to self and outwards to the world.

Here's the back of the page where I included one of my favorite poems "Think Like a Tree by Karen Shragg. If you click on the photo, you should be able to read the poem. I am now working on February's page for Trillian which has the theme of "Fairy tales". It's coming along well and I'll show a sneak peak soon. However, I am having to redo part of it because I went a bit overboard with my tendency to add 3D to a flat piece. I suddenly remembered that these pages were meant to make a book and I think something sticking up off the book more than 1/2" might cause a problem with binding etc. So now I have an extra bit of fairytale that looks really good but is too thick. Oh well. I have also been working on a large piece that I am planning on submitting and can't show photos. It's coming along but is really turning into a "slow" cloth. I am currently doing machine embroidery of which I did over 2 hours work today and I'm not even a tenth of the way done. Me and my bright ideas!

The other thing I did today was to paint the bottom of my new slippers with a silicone gel so that I can wear them outdoors and so they will last longer. I painted 4 layers - I'm not sure you can really see it in the photo above as this is just the first layer.

This is the stuff I used. It's clear so that the color of the slippers would show through. I had to special order it through the local hardware store because no one around here carries anything other than black, red or blue. I guess most people don't want clear handles on their tools. That is what you're supposed to do with it. But this kind can be ordered with colors and you can make your own. I didn't get the colors though. I thought clear would look best. I'll show you another photo once they are dry.

I've been really working at keeping up with my goals. I'll give you an update at the end of the month but I am definitely being more productive. So just need to keep it up for another 4 weeks or so and then supposedly, it will be a habit. We'll see...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I needed new slippers...

The slipper that I felted several years ago have given up the ghost. So I needed new ones.

I made these yesterday afternoon. I started with white merino, added a bit of burgundy silk on the tops. Then I dyed the bottoms with more burgundy. The dye went further than expected so the tops are a bit darker than I had wanted but they will work fine.
Here's the backs. They look more like the tops should have.

Here's a close up of the silk on the wool. I am now looking for that silicone stuff to paint on the bottoms. Around here all I can find is black and I wanted to just use clear. I may have to order it online but first to try the hardware store next to my store in Whitefish to see if they can order me some.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Smorgasboard

I have been busy working away again this week. (Keeping up with my goals so far.) I started this notebook cover before Christmas. It was going to be a collage but ended up mainly as painting. This is made with paper towels with which I wiped up dye. I glued that down and then added oil paint sticks and then a bit of stamping after that was dry. This is the notebook where I am keeping all my design work for the Traveling Pages. I am currently working on designing for "Fairy Tales" for Ann. I have several sketches, now I just have to decide which one to use.

Here's a close up.

I embellished my last 'wrinkled' vessel.

I used a variety of yarns - these are attached at the ends and then wrapped.

Here's a close up.

And another. I'm thinking of submitting these to the "500 Felt Objects" book. What do you think? Good enough to get in? I'm kind of gun shy about entering things but I guess all they can say is "No" and there's no entry fee. I have to make sure the photos are the right size.

Here's the vessel I made today from the same resist that I used for the one above. Here it is after laying out and wetting down. As you can see, I've added the same yarns I used on the one above as inclusions in the felt.

Here is is drying. It has a sugar bowl in the bottom to keep it in shape. I used a sewn shibori technique to get the ridges in the sides. The threads are still in as it is drying. I'll take them out once it's dry. You can see the threads sticking out at the top.
Here's another view.
And a close up.

I added some hand stitching to my machine embroidery piece. Now it just needs a frame.

Here's a close up.
Here is some of the work I've been doing in my journal. I'm still working through the book "7 Keys to Great Painting" by Jane Hofstetter. The page on the right is value shape patterns that she recommends you use as the base of all your paintings. Therefore, you have planned ahead of time where your dark and light values will be. She uses them for all her paintings and has many to choose from to fit to each subject.
This is more about value shape patterns. The page on the left shows 6 different ones that always seem to work well. The page on the right shows how you can take a poor sketch and use different techniques to improve it.
More value shape patterns. I have really enjoyed this book and will be using her 7 keys to improve my work when I do a 2D piece. I think these will really help with machine embroidery pieces such as landscapes.
Here's some ideas for future felt pieces. I want to make some shapes based on "snow ghosts". We get these on top of the mountain and they are cool shapes.
My sketches for possible vessel shapes are on the left. These will all use the same resist but look very different. The questions on the right are from the 7 Keys book. You can click on any of these photos to enlarge them so you can see them better.
The other good thing that happened this week was that I sold two of my pieces at the store, Perpetual Poppies and Birch Grove. Woohoo!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Page Completed & Machine Embroidery Practice

I finished "The Goddess Within" book page for Johoanna today. That's a small peak above. I can't show any more until Johoanna receives the page. I was pleased with how it turned out and I hope she likes it. More photos after it wings its way to Australia.

I then practiced some machine embroidery using Ken Smith's techniques that he explained on Workshop on the Web. This is mossing stitch with optic color mixing. I used a darker blue in the bobbin and changed the tension gradually to get more dark blue as I got closer to the center. The very inside edge is a whipped stitch in which you run the machine very fast with a low bobbin tension, high top tension and move the work very slowly. Therefore the bobbin thread completely wraps and covers up the top thread.

Here's a close up. The colors are off because it was so dark when I took the photos. The above photo is a little closer to true color but the piece is more pink with light blue and navy blue thread.

In regards to my productivity, I've been quite pleased with my follow through. I have done "studio" work for 13 hours this past week and worked in my journal on design practice for 2 1/2 hours. Thanks for all your encouragement and I'll keep plugging along and see if I can keep going for more than a week or two.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Embellished Slightly

Here is my vessel after a little hand stitching. At the suggestion of Carolyn of Love Stitching Red. I added embroidery and a few french knots.

Another view. What do you think, does it need more?

This is the resist I used for my second vessel. I am planning on using this same resist but will make different shaped vessels each time.

Here's the result on the first one.
I again concentrated on "wrinkling" the felt.

Here's a close up. I will probably embellish this one as well as I really enjoyed the hand stitching the felt. Quite fast and fairly easy to do once you get it started. On to making more!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Start

I started experimenting with 3D wet felting today. This was my resist. I had drawn a sketch of a pod looking object that sort of resembled a leaf. So this was the resist I made.

And here is the very odd looking piece that resulted.

I used red because I had a bunch of red dyed trying to get the right shade of maroon for Grizzly stuff. Although this is a very strange looking, I'm pleased with the effort. I learned a lot about shaping. I realized that I didn't need all those bumpy out bits on the resist and I need to remember to add more length if I am doing the folds. It only took me a few hours to make and I'm excited to try some more. Next time, I'm doing a simpler resist shape.

Here's a thank you card that I made today for my hubby to send to a business associate. He sent us three bottles of wine from his wineries. I'm not sure how we got on his gift list. This is the first time we've received anything from him. But we needed a card so I whipped one up from dyed papers that I had made previously and a small square of fabric that was a sample for bags that I order for the store sometimes.

I also worked on my page for the January book page swap. The theme for Johoanna's page is "The Goddess Within". I can't show any photos yet as it is to be a surprise. I made it on the needle felting machine and now I'm going to add some hand stitching. Then it will be sent off to Australia.