Sunday, January 3, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

A few days ago I told a fellow blogger in email that I had taken a forced vacation from art. I must have been out of my mind. I strolled into the studio this morning to be sure it was in readiness for the launch of a new work week (and year!) tomorrow, and realized that I had evidently spent much more time immersed in creative pursuits during my "vacation" than I was willing to admit to myself.

For instance, I took this perfectly respectable, small-scale commercial fabric that I think is pretty but would never actually use as it is...

and turned it into this:

That was so much fun that I whacked another piece off and did this to it:

(And while I'm at it, I might as well own up to the fact that I broke my own rule and used a stamp I didn't design and carve myself. This one's a commercial stamp.)

I started a tutorial for transforming ugly fabrics but then I realized that most of the folks reading this blog probably already have that skill in their arsenal. However, as stated in a previous post, I'd be happy to finish writing that tutorial if there's any interest in it.

Also during my "self-imposed vacation" from art (it sounds so important when it's said like that, doesn't it?), I dyed fabrics. These little beauties, to be specific, or rather, the top eight pieces, anyway:

Are we seeing a pattern here? Yeah, not only do I live in a state of denial about exactly how much time I really spend in the studio (way, way too much, I'm starting to suspect), but also, that sometimes I can't seem to get away from a specific color palette. Apparently, I had violet on my mind last week, and everything wound up influenced by it.

Like these lovely papers:

From top to bottom we have Yupo painted with Dye-Na_Flow. Yupo is a thin plastic that behaves much like watercolor paper except that you have the ability to lift the color all the way back to white with the application of a wet brush, if you choose. This allows for some pretty cool effects. It comes in a pad of sheets just like watercolor paper. This sample was actually painted several years ago, but the colors were weak and uninteresting. This past week, I dug it out and gave it a light wash of violet. When it dried, I sanded some areas back to white.

The middle sheet is cold-press watercolor paper (which I prefer to hot-press for its' more textured surface) and the bottom piece is a large sheet of Bristol velum. The Bristol was painted with the off-loaded pigments from the other projects I was painting and puttering with. The artist Sherrill Kahn aptly names these bits of painted work, "serendipity pieces".

And speaking of off-loading pigments, I also keep baby wipes on my desk to mop up all that color I willy-nilly splash around. Once dry, I reward their hard service by giving them some character with a little paint and stamping.

They're now ready to be stitched or glued onto a future project. I used these hand-made stamps...

Do you make your own stamps? If not, would you like to learn how? Let me know... it could be another tutorial in the making!

Finally, in my obsessiveness this week with stamping, making stamps, painting,  dyeing, and violet- all that stuff I convinced myself I was on vacation from- my stamping board took on an interesting character...

This board was made by covering a piece of masonite with an old towel, turning a length of ugly fabric to its back side and wrapping the board/towel in it, and then painting it with several coats of Gesso. I may soon have to pull this cherished tool apart to use this now not-so-ugly fabric in a quilt!

It's a new work week, and it's a new year. There are so many things to get to this year that I'm bursting with energy.

In the first few months of this year I will:

~ Take myself slowly and carefully through the book Experimental Textiles, by Kim Thittichai. Kim was a Cities & Guilds instructor in England and taught this class for years until her retirement. There was such an outcry that her cirruculum might be lost, that she recorded it in this book. The first half of the book are exercises I am very familiar with, so I will skip those after a careful reading (it never hurts to brush up on familiar subjects) and then move on to the lessons I have yet to learn.
~ Take myself slowly and carefully through Gloria Hansen's book, Digital Essentials.
~ Using Gloria's book, I will teach myself how to use the new copy of Photoshop Elements I just installed on my machine.
~ I will complete my client's art installation.

The garage studio remodel is coming along beautifully. The AC/Heating unit has been plumbed and wired, the drywall has been repaired and the electricians have begun running wiring into the attic. Next, the sink, the track lighting, the insulated garage door and the new electrical outlets will be installed. It's possible that most of this work will be completed by the end of the week! I'll post before and after photos when it's all complete and put back together.

Until then, happy creating!


Gina said...

One would never guess that first fabric could transform to what you made! These are all gorgeous.

I think your tutorials would be great. Even for techniques we've done or have studied it's always good to have a review, learn a new tip or get a different perspective.

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

You really have been busy during your vacation! I often find my brain buzzing with ideas when I cannot do any work, and am so eager to go when I finally can dig into my creative space(s) again. Maybe we should take those little vacations more often.

I would be interested in your tutorials; there's always something new to learn!

elle said...

You seem to get a lot done when you aren't thinking! lol Tutorials are great. I have a clue about stamps and only a guess for the ugly fabric revamp! Powerful! ngghhhh! Not too much dust as you burst upon 2010 and gallop off, please. 8^)

Robbie said...

Of course, we all want tutorials!! Kim's book is very interesting and you'll get some good ideas from it!! Love this much info and so much inspiration, as always! Thanks, Judi!

Rayna said...

Are you sure you weren't lurking in the back of the classroom when I was teaching "Can this Fabric be Saved?" I love what you've done with this ditsy print! Now I challenge you to use it.

The papers look great, too.

Katrina said...

tutorials are always appreciated! I do not know how change fabric that dramatically...or at least not as well as you. You seem to have no fear!
Wonderful work and thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Judi,I saw your blog on the quilting arts list-I love your work-have a great year

mary tabar said...

Hi Judi,I just wrote the last comment:)

Sharon said...

Tutorial please! I'd love to know how you transformed that fabric!

Julie said...

I would be interested in your tutorials too, please :o) I am fairly new to these techniques and it always helps to revisit them or have someone else's take on them.

Your ugly turned beautiful fabric is really exciting and you are tempting me back to play with some dyeing, if I can just warm my studio up! (-4c in there today!)

Cate Rose said...

What fabulous fabrics you've created Judi. Kudos. I definitely need to dye and print myself some new fabrics soon!

Fowym said...

I'd love to know how you transformed that fabric as I've got lots of fat quarters that could do with a new lease of life. I've only got a basic knowledge of making stamps with cardboard and funky foam so would be interested in the stamp making as well.

Thanks for so much inspiration on your blog

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Please please please finish the tutorial on transforming ugly fabric. Those pieces you..played..with over the holidays are wonderful. I am just starting the journey and appreciate the sharing.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

What a luscious blog you have shared today! I think as an artist the mind is always spinning a new web of design. I have the piles of fabrics that could be employed in a newer fresher manner after seeing your examples. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Anonymous said...

I just popped over from Sue B's blog and I'm glad I did! Did you work on flip side of the ditsy print?
I could use the tut on stamp-making as I think foam has to be much easier on the hands than carving linoleum. The garage redo is the project I most look forward to you sharing. . . I hope to do the same thing this year.
I'll be back, for sure. Oh, and thanks for sharing your work, etc.!

Suzanne G in NC

Sandy said...

I'd love the tutorial on revamping comercial fabric. I have loads a friend passed on to me. Although I have see examples of what others did to theirs, your changes are more in keeping with my tastes, so it would be easier to make the connections.
Sandy in the UK

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Maybe you should take more vacations!

Flor Larios Art said...

Gorgeous colors and designs...I can see a long beautful skirt...I love skirts LOL

Nancy said...

Yes, a tutorial on your home-made stamps would be helpful. You've done wonders with your fabrics! Nancy

Cindy234 said...

Very cool blog!!