Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rearranging Priorities

I have been trying to create without sitting or standing for more than 15 minutes at a time and without bending at all. It's not been easy and my priority right now is healing my back. I am improving but I think it will be at least another month before I am back to normal. So I have been working in my studio journal and doing very small projects. Here's my first journal spread.

I can't decide if it is finished or not.

I was thinking about adding some bigger text to the pages but I like it the way it is. So I'm just letting it simmer for a bit to decide.

Here's a start to another spread.

I used the left over paint from stamping this Easter wrapping paper for the start of the page spread above. The wrapping paper was for gifts for the grandkids. I didn't manage to get a photo of the wrapped gifts but I used raffia tied around the boxes for ribbon.

Amazingly, I won another blog give away. Robin was having her blog anniverssary and was giving away one of her adorable needle felted sculptures.

Meet April! She came neatly wrapped with a certificate of authenticity.

Isn't she adorable?

Here she is in her new home next to Slime. I think Slime has fallen in love (either that or he thinks she'll make a tasty bite for lunch). My husband thought that Robin had "stuffed a real mouse". She is so realistic. Thanks so much Robin! Do go check out Robin's blog to see more of her adorable sculptures.

I had a question about how I was doing on my goals for the year. Since it is the end of the first quarter, I thought an update was definitely in order.

If you have been reading, you'll remember that my main goal for 2010 is to develop my voice as an artist and begin to produce a consistent body of work in my own style. I set 5 steps to reach that goal.

The first is to spend more time in the studio. I consistently did this in January and fairly well in February although I did go out of town for a week. March is where it has all fallen apart. I injured my back and have not been able to work consistently at all. I have been trying to do bits and pieces so I certainly haven't given up but not being able to felt or sew has put a damper on things.

The second step was to do more sampling or small pieces. I have been doing small pieces for the Traveling Pages book swap. I've completed 3 of these and I'm working on a fourth. I started working on 3 dimensional felt pieces and completed 3 of these. I also tried cobweb felting and did more nuno felting. I have also felted a few small pieces that I am now adding hand embroidery but haven't shown any photos of those yet. They are small color studies.

The third step was to practice art/design in my studio journal. I have been working on this fairly consistently. I've been checking out various art books from the library and reading through these. Several have been very helpful in the design process. I was trying to keep track of my time but that seemed to make me want to do less as I felt it was too regimented. I did better when I just tried to do something creative every day and then work a full day on Fridays, my day off from work. I had even started sewing for 10-15 min. every day before I left for work but that has stopped since my back injury.

The fourth step is to begin Level II Machine Embroidery in November 2010. I started working on applying for a grant for this but they changed the grant process so now I have to start again. I'm sure my work on the first application will apply to the new application but they haven't gotten it completed yet so I have to put this on hold for a bit.

The fifth step was to work in a 3D format in felt with a combination of machine embroidery. As I said above. I did 3 pieces in felt in 3D. I did some practice in machine embroidery on one piece but otherwise have just been completing my large piece that I haven't shown yet as I am planning on submitting it for a magazine article.

The last step was not to feel guilty about spending my time on creative outlets. I am getting better at this and I"m spending much less time in front of the TV. Of course, not being able to sit on a couch helps tremendously with that as I can't sit for any length of time.

Overall, now that I've reviewed it, I haven't done too badly. I think it will be another month before I am recovered from my back injury but I will keep up the work in short segments until then. In the next several weeks, I am going to try sewing again for small amounts of time to see how that works. So it will be a gradual return at best.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogger Errors

Blogger seems to be having some difficulties. Lots of photos are missing from lots of blogs. Sorry for the interruption and I hope it gets fixed soon.

See this post http://blogger-status.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-image-backend-is-experiencing.html

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Traveling Page from Liz

Look what I got in the mail from Liz - my March page with aspen trees in the fall. I love it! Thanks Liz! If you want to see a few more photos visit the Story of the Traveling Pages blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Won!

Look at this wonderful selection of goodies I won from Maggie Grey. She was having a giveaway on her blog and I actually won for once. In return for the prize, Maggie wanted everyone to give to their charity of choice. I am giving a donation to the local food bank. If you haven't read Maggie's blog, check it out. She also runs Workshop on the Web which is a wonderful online workshop that comes out quarterly. She always has a great line up of articles and it's a very reasonable price. You can see what the workshops/articles are like by going to the page and checking out the free taster.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Page of the Sea and Nuno Felted Wrap

Here is the page that I made for Mandy for March for the Story of the Traveling Pages swap. Her theme is "The Sea" and I chose the jellyfish because I've always liked those photos of jellyfish that are so luminescent floating around in the sea. I did find with my research of the jellyfish that their populations are growing larger and larger mainly due to pollution and global warming. Jellyfish are able to survive with relatively little oxygen and therefore take over "dead zones" in the ocean. They eat the remaining native fish population and continue to thrive and reproduce. They are a sign that the oceans are out of balance. Of course, I never knew any of this before I started this page. Interesting, the things that you learn as you're researching a project. I got most of my material from the Baltimore Aquarium website. The page is made from a painted background and  the jellyfish is made from a mixture of silk, Angelina fibers and paint. I then machine thread sketched over the jellyfish to give it more definition.
Here's a close up. I used DynaFlow and Lumiere paints.
On the back, I included a quote from Jacques Cousteau, "The sea, once it casts it's spell, holds one in it's net of wonder forever."

This is a scarf that I bought several years ago that I finally used for nuno felting. The scarf was already dyed this color and I added black and grey merino wool for the nuno felting. I didn't use much wool at all so it is very light.

Here's a closer view.

I am now in a bit of a quandry because I've injured my back. Not doing anything mind you, just sitting for too long at a conference I attended last weekend. So I'm having trouble doing anything that I want to do as I can't sit for more than 5-10 minutes at a time and I can't lean over or bend at all. So felting is out for a while. Hopefully, I will heal soon and be back to normal but my work output is definitely going to decrease for a while. Got to go, this has taken up too long in the chair already.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Traveling Book Pages and Embellished His Horse

Ann has received her fairytale page in our Traveling Book Pages swap so I can show it to you now. I made the background with fused, raw edge applique and machine embroidery. The castle is wet felted stones that are then needlefelted on to a commercial black felt. I then added some moss and shading and then machine stitched it down. The hair is from hand dyed Wensleydale locks that are needlefelted to the castle. And if you  haven't guessed yet, the fairytale is Rapunzel. I was a bit embarrassed because I made this early before her January page was revealed and Johoanna also did her page based on Rapunzel. But all is well as Ann didn't mind that her first two pages were based on the same fairytale. Our pages are very different, you can see her other page on the Traveling Pages blog. Just click on the badge on the top left hand side of my blog to check it out. Everyone is receiving their February pages now so it is great fun to see them all.

Here's a close up.

And the back.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember this piece. It is called "His Horse". I decided it needed a bit more embellishment so I added some hand stitching and the turquoise beads. I'm not all that thrilled with the result but hopefully it will now sell. Not much interest previously so I didn't think it would hurt to add a little more to it.

Here's a closer view.

This is a peak of Mandy's page for the swap. Her theme is the sea. It's all finished but you'll have to wait for the reveal until she receives it. I'm mailing it to the UK on Monday.