Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cross Currents

Even though I had a long day, I felt like sitting down and playing with some of my materials tonight. I started with a piece of canvas I had painted with watered down acrylic paints in shades of aqua and turquoise. I laid three strips of an aqua ribbon with an interesting texture across the canvas and noticed the lines the textured ribbon created. I followed those with the sewing machine as I stitched the ribbons on, going back and forth diagonally across the canvas. Then I couched on some wavy yarn in a darker turquoise color. I think I'll call it "Cross Currents: wave theory." I like the way the various stitches and lines cut across each other in an undulating way. It reminds me of the caribbean! And now I have another interesting piece to add to the sketchbook...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another sketch

Here is my latest fabric sketch. In this one, I experimented with an easy method for doing a batik using Elmer's Glue Gel. I drew a quick sketch, then traced over it onto fabric using the glue gel and a light box. I let the glue dry overnight, and then painted the colors in with watered-down ink. After heat-setting the colors with the iron (on the reverse side and using a parchment pressing sheet), I soaked the cloth to remove the dried glue. Wherever the glue had been was still white. It worked! I finished off the sketch with some free-motion stitching. Although I like the way this came out, if I do this technique again, I would use more glue - more lines and thicker lines. Maybe I'd try an abstract graphic design.
I am enjoying doing these quickie sketches! They don't take a lot of time, fabric, or other resources, yet they're fun, creative, and give me a chance to experiment and try new techniques I've been thinking about. That's probably the whole purpose of a sketchbook, so this is working for me! The fact that the pieces are not layered and quilted doesn't detract from the finished piece at all (I think) and actually makes the whole process easier and quicker. Maybe I've discovered something...

Monday, September 6, 2010

47 Things I'm Thankful For

Yesterday was my 47th birthday. As I was sitting in the sunshine weeding my garden this morning, I started to think about how fortunate I am and about the many, many blessings in my life. I decided to devote this blog entry to listing these out, roughly in order from early on in my life to the present.
1. My parents, who are still alive and well, and came to spend the day with me yesterday.
2. My public school education on Long Island.
3. Being an American.
4. Being a New Yorker.
5. My older sister Nancy, who is still one of my best friends
6. My younger sister Carolyn who is also still one of my best friends
7. My brother Charlie, always fun to be with
8. My brother Paul, likewise good for a laugh
9. My God-given talents including intelligence, a sense of humor, and abilities in writing, art, and music.
10. My health and physical well-being.
11. My red hair.
12. My exceptional liberal arts education at Vassar College.
13. My loving and devoted husband, who has stuck by me for the last 25 years or so (we've been married for 17 of those), who brings balance, humor, fun, affection, and joy to me every day.
14. My oldest daughter, who is blossoming into a mature and capable young lady.
15. My second daughter, who is also blooming in her own beautiful and unique way
16. My youngest daughter, who still allows me to hold her hand in public.
17. The modest home we have been able to afford and make our own for the last 14 years.
18. Good, clean water coming out of the faucet
19. Clean fresh air to breathe
20. Indoor plumbing, heating, and air conditioning (don't take anything for granted!)
21. A safe town and neighborhood to live and work in.
22. My fun part-time job at the library
23. Having such easy access to a wealth of books at my fingertips every day
24. My coworkers who make my job fun and easy
25. Old friends and the good memories we've shared
26. Neighbors that I can rely on for anything
27. The decent schools and teachers my daughters have had
28. The opportunities we've been able to give our daughters, like piano and horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, camp etc.
29. Vacations we've taken, especially the last one to St. John
30. The vacation home we share in the Poconos of PA
31. The beauty of the lake we live on and get to see every morning, every season
32. The climate and change of seasons here in the Northeast
33. The parish of St. John the Evangelist and my close relationship with God
34. My Mac laptop
35. The cameras I use to document the beauty of everyday life
36. Our dog, Cassie, who has been a blessing in disguise
37. The many cats I have known
38. The abundance of food available to us
39. My Bernina sewing machine
40. The space and materials I am able to use almost daily to fulfill my creative needs
41. The women in the Fiber Arts North East group, who provide comraderie, inspiration, and support
42. My many cousins and extended family
43. My in-laws, also still living, healthy and well
44. My two LI sisters-in-law, who are like sisters to me
45. Healthy teeth
46. My grandmothers, who I was fortunate to know most of my life
47. Mark's job, which allows us to afford this life and lifestyle

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More Sketchbook Activity

Here are two more pages I created for my sketchbook. The "Spring Songbird Symphony" I started thinking about last spring - I heard all these birds at once and I wanted to recreate the experience, but I wasn't sure how: poetry? music? collage? I finally got the idea to create something that is a combination of the three. I hope it captures the feeling of a spring morning walk.
And now we skip ahead to autumn! I cut a bunch of canvas rectangles to fit into the sketchbook and have been treating the backgrounds in various ways, then stitching, stamping or writing to complete the "sketch." Again, I consider this a sketch because it's not quilted through three layers and it's quick - not too much pondering and critical thinking, just doing it. Here, I put a layer of gesso down on the canvas first, and used a comb-type tool to make a groovy texture before it dried. When it was dry, I added color with the water-soluble crayons and blended them with a brush and my finger. Finally, I stamped on some leaves and stitched on the large one cut from an interesting paper I had in my stash.
Finally, here is my "Facetious" piece. The definition I was working with for facetious was "to treat a serious subject lightly." I chose a serious subject (war) and found some public domain photos on the web. I transferred them to white fabric using the CitraSolv method. Then I chose fabrics and embellishments in light, happy colors and layed everything out like a page in a scrapbook.
Unfortunately, I think the contrast between the serious subject matter and the light, happy colors goes beyond merely being facetious. To me, it borders on inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful. That certainly was not my intention; I was only trying to be facetious!