Monday, April 30, 2012

New Exhibit!

 The Fiber Arts Northeast group I belong to is currently exhibiting 12"x12" square pieces in a show at the Mahopac Public Library.  Above is the postcard Jane Davila` made up for us, and below are some shots from our opening reception, which was yesterday afternoon.  The quality of art these ladies produce just keeps getting better and better!  I'm proud and honored to be in their company!  They continue to challenge and inspire me to produce more and better art as well!  See for yourself -

Here are some group shots along the gallery hallway:

I was pleased to have my piece among this grouping, right between Jane Davila`s and Norma Schlager's!  They were grouped together because of their similar pastel tones and looked great together.  Here are some individual shots:

First, Jane's floral thread sketch titled "Loss",
and Norma's with her lovely hand-dyed fabrics, skinny wiggly piecing, and beautiful beading:

below, Vivien Zepf's fun and colorful painted thread sketch "Whimsy"

and mine, below. I got a lot of compliments on the simplicity and sculptural qualities of the piece.  I think it didn't stand out from the crowd due to the subdued shades and pretty much monotone quality, (also, the fabrics are almost the same color as the cork wall!) but it says what I wanted it to say.  I was trying to illustrate our dual nature (hope I succeeded).  I called it "Reflections on Transcendence:  Body and Soul." The rough burlap represents our mortal, earthly existence and the shiny sheer represents our immortal souls.

Here are some of my other favorite pieces from the show:

This wall had some bright, bold abstracts.  Below is "Orange Swirl" by Terry Melillo

"Color Dance" by Gail Ellsperman,

 "Geometrics" by Joyce Sullivan

 and "Fractured Landscape" by Barbara Drillick.  I just love the bright colors and geometric shapes of all of them.  Now that I have no more firm commitments for quilts or charm swaps, maybe I'll experiment with some of these techniques and colors!  Barbara's, below, was made with two pieces of fabric that she painted, stamped and colored in various ways, then sliced them up and wove them togther.

The one below by Clair Oehler features tiny knitted embellishments:  how cute!

I always look forward to Carole Hoffman's fun portraits:

Here is Nancy Mirman's abstract using silks and metallic squares. I think she titled it "Berry Twigs."

Barbara  Sferra's "Butterscotch October" is a lovely and very detailed autumn landscape:

And Andrea Schedletsky's "Patience" is sparkly and whimsical.

I think that's enough eye candy for one post!  I'll post again tomorrow with more!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Int'l Art Charm Day!

April 28th has been named "International Art Charm Day" and to celebrate, I had a shrink film charm workshop at the library Thursday night.  We used the Shrinky Dink brand shrink plastic in assorted colors, above.  The ladies there had a lot of fun experimenting with permanent markers, colored pencils, StazOn inks, and stamps.  They had a lot of fun watching them shrink!  It was fun for me to see how excited they were about their finished products.  I had also made a few extra birdhouse charms (for the "feather your nest" swap) and gave all participants one to keep.

Yesterday I had time to experiment with the Shrinky Dinks for inkjet printers.  They are about twice the price of the regular shrink plastic, but the results are pretty good, as you can see  below.  It is  necessary to lighten each photo considerably before printing and shrinking, and even doing that, some of these are still too dark.  However, the puppy photo came out pretty good, so I'm going to give them away to my colleages, Joan, Gail, and Helen at the library.  Are you celebrating International Charm Day in any special way?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Great News!

I just received the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and was excited to see they published the fabric postcards from the challenge due in January.  I had sent in 2, which I posted here.   I had a tip-off from my friend Vivien that one of mine was published, and sure enough, there it is in the picture below (top, second from the right)!  I was kind of surprised that they chose this one, because the little duck I made was kind of cute and charming, but then again, this one uses a greater variety of media and incorporated more words.  I really admire all the other beautiful postcards they chose to publish.  The world is full of talented people!

After taking a whole week off from the hand sewing on my totem, I finally got back to it this weekend and now it is complete, except for the tabs at the top for hanging, which I hope to get to soon.  I'll post pictures of the finished piece as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, I took charm breaks between the sewing and have a new bracelet to show you.  I received these charms over a month ago, in time for St. Patrick's Day, but I just didn't take the time to put them on a bracelet.  I finally did it this weekend, and I really love the way it looks.  I notice that the color-themed swaps seem to contain more simple "dangle" type charms, but the coordinating colors make such an impact when they're all together, don't you agree?  This one is just so cheerful and happy and brings to mind sunshine, green leaves, and flowers.  I love it!

I'm currently finishing up two sets of charms for the "feather your nest" swap.  I really like the way they're turning out and I'll post them when they're done.  G'night!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Not Quite Finished!

Although I've been stitching my little fingers off, this piece is still not quite done! I've discovered that machine stitching on these sheers and knits makes everything wrinkle and pucker, so I'm doing a lot more handstitching than I thought I would and it's very slow going. Here are some in-progress shots. The three seahorses, above . . .
. . . sea anemones I added to the sand below,
. . . a close-up of two seahorses and some sea weeds,
. . . the jelly fish above,
. . . and the top layer of sparkle tulle which I'm now hand-quilting on. After that's done, I'll need to stitch the sides closed somehow (maybe I'll be able to use the machine for that) and then make loops on the top for hanging. We'll show these at the Northern Star Quilter's Guild annual show at John F. Kennedy H. S. in Somers the first weekend in May, so I have another few weeks to complete everything before then.

I needed a break from sewing, so I decided to explore my options for my next charm swap, which has the theme "Feather Your Nest." I couldn't resist this one, especially since I had just made a few bird-themed charms for a necklace for my sister. I thought I would make some more silver nests like the one shown here, but it seems many other charm artists are already doing that.
So today I headed out to see what I might find at the local big-box craft store. I found these cute stamps and played around with them.
Here's the results:
As you can see, I also played around with some polymer clay. It looks like a few other charmers are also making birdhouses, and these took longer than I thought to make (maybe my clay is old and getting stiff? It was hard to work with), so I'm not sure I want to make more of these. I signed up for 2 sets of 15 charms each, so I could do a variety. Right now, the one below is my favorite, made with one of the new stamps and shrink film. I stamped on the shiny side with black StazOn ink and then colored in the bird and the house with permanent markers. I used colored pencil on the rough back side which gives it a little depth. Isn't it cute?
Now the weekend is here, and the weather is supposed to be great, perfect for doing some yard work and other fun outdoor things. Maybe by Monday evening, I'll be ready to get back to my totem... Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Out and About

Happy Easter, everyone! As part of our Easter vacation, we managed a second family outing last week, this one to Ellis Island. I've been wanting to take the girls there for years. My maternal grandmother arrived there from Sicily in about 1920 and spent about a month there, as her ship was quaranteened. Several years ago, my uncle added her name to the "Wall of Names" of loved ones, and we were able to find it. Her name was Itria Messina, and they gave her the name Lillian on coming to the US, presumably because there wasn't an English translation for Itria.
The Great Hall was especially impressive, as you can see below. The displays and audio tour helped paint a vivid picture of how an immigrant would feel after weeks on a boat crossing the Atlantic, seeing the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, and then disembarking to see the grandeur of the buildings on Ellis Island. It seems like it would take an extraordinary amount of courage to leave your homeland to start all over in a new country, especially if you don't speak the language, yet so many immigrants took the risk. It's quite awe-inspiring.
The Statue of Liberty was also awe-inspiring, as you can see. The statue is currently closed for interior renovations, and we were there too late in the afternoon to explore Liberty Island anyway, so we just enjoyed the view from the ferry. It was another bright, clear day, and the visibility was fantastic.
In between outings, I've been hard at work on my "totem" and hope to have some progress photos soon. It's supposed to be completed by Thursday! Hope I can do it...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Local Outing

Yesterday we decided tomake the most of a sunny spring day and do some local sight-seeing. We headed north to Poughkeepsie, only about 45 minutes away, and explored the Walkway Over the Hudson. This state park used to be a railroad bridge but was converted into a walkway in 2009.
There are signs along the railing that give information about the building of the bridge, its history, its transformation into a walkway, and the Hudson River itself. The bridge is the oldest surviving steel cantilever bridge in the world and is a historic landmark.
As you can see, we weren't the only ones out and about on the walkway yesterday. Lots of people brought their dogs, bikes, scooters, and strollers to enjoy the fresh air and scenery.
It was a bit windy, as you can see!
But some of the sights were breathtaking.

All that fresh air and exercise gave us quite an appetite, and we opted to satisfy our hunger at a fantastic little restaurant nearby:
The campus of the Culinary Institute of America is a very pretty place! I'm not sure if this is the wine-tasting building or an Italian Restaurant.
Around the corner is this plaza with fountains and trellises.
And here is the entrance to the main building.
Here are some close-ups of the medallion in front of the building
and the window over the door.
We headed to the Apple Pie Bakery and Cafe`, the only restaurant that does not require reservations. You wait on line and order food cafeteria style, and it's brought to your table. The decor is modern and upscale, but also comfortable and casual. Three of the girls ordered this delicious macaroni and cheese. Mmm!
Mark ordered this spring Risotto dish with mushrooms and "pea foam." Don't the plates look beautiful? This one was garnished with fresh edible flowers.
After a little rest, we went back for some desserts. Two of the girls shared this 61% dark chocolate mousse. The square of chocolate garnishing the top was sprinkled with edible gold glitter.
I had this lovely lemon merengue tart. Wow, look at that piped merengue!
We were planning on taking their daily tour at 4, but after our earlier long walk and that hefty meal, we decided to save that for another day. So instead, we explored their gift shop/book store, digested on the ride home and then had a long nap! A perfect day!