Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poetic Fragments

My FANE group opened its latest show at the Mahopac Public Library this weekend.  The challenge this year was to create a piece with more than one component that would fit within a 14" square, to be mounted on an 18" square canvas.  Each piece was inspired by the lines of a poem or song, which were displayed below the art.  Once again, there was great variety among the pieces, and the reception on Sunday was the perfect opportunity to speak to the other artists about their methods, materials, and inspiration.  You can see my piece on the far left, above, which was inspired by Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay."

 I'll post just a sample of the 30 fantastic pieces in the show.  One is more beautiful than the next and we all spent a lot of time going from piece to piece and admiring all the details.  Below are pieces by Jane Davila, Barbara Sferra, and Nike Cutsumpas.

This striking piece is by Natalya Aikens.  She loves to used recycled materials and this one is made mostly out of plastic grocery store bags!  The dark red building on the left is an old wool scarf.  Click on the photo to see some of her hand-stitched details.

These beautiful pastels are by Maxine Oliver, Norma Schlager, and Cecelia Leiseroff.

These two, filled with bright colors and textures, are by Barbara Drillick and Claire Oehler.

Here are two colorful pieces by Vivien Zepf and Judy Gigniese.  To see all the pieces in the show, visit the FANE blog by clicking here.  Or better yet, visit the Mahopac Library yourself before May 30th!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's about TIME...

We are back from Firenze, and everything was breathtaking, from the classic Tuscan landscapes to the old stone buildings, traditional piazzas and Renaissance art.   If I had to choose a theme for the trip it would have to be TIME:  the time it took to travel overseas (which seemed long to us, but was really miraculous in comparison to how long it took my grandmother to get here about 100 years ago), the time required to build the catherdrals, castles, and medieval towns, the effect time has had on these ancient buildings, even the time it takes to age chianti or make fresh pasta.  Evidence of the passage of time is everywhere, so I've chosen a few photos to share with that theme...  (Click on any photo to enlarge it for a better view).

I'm so grateful that we took the time to venture out on this amazing trip together; now we have a treasure trove of memories (and photo inspiration!) to last a lifetime!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Indoor Pursuits

Although we had some nice spring weather earlier in the week, today has been wet, windy, and just plain unpleasant - a perfect day for satisfying indoor tasks like baking, finishing up old projects, tidying up all around, and maybe starting some new projects!

After doing a bit of cleaning upstairs, I headed downstairs to make the final stitches and adjustments to my kimono.  Both sleeves are done as you can see, and I added the final embellishments, like the carved tree frog and shiny fish tail, below.  It's bright, colorful, and interesting to look at, so I hope we can find a suitable spot to hang it after the display the first weekend in May (see previous post).

Before I did all that, I got it in my head to do a little baking.  Before Easter, I bought some hot cross buns in the grocery store that looked delicious but were sadly dry and stale (I actually brought them back, they were so bad!).  Every once in a while, I love a fresh baked sweet roll, so I decided to try a recipe I found in the back of the 7th Yada Yada Prayer Group book.  This recipe calls for raisins and cinnamon and they smelled delicious every step of the way.  Here they are fresh out of the oven:

They went nicely with my light lunch!  The recipe calls for a light glaze, which I didn't put on, but the buns could actually use a bit more sweetness, so maybe I'll mix up the glaze and put it on the remaining buns in the traditional cross shape.

While I was eating, I took a few moments to admire the little "fairy garden" I started yesterday.  I had that shallow wooden container lying around and have been meaning to fill it with some moss, tiny plants, interesting rocks, and whatever else I could come up with.  While I was out in the backyard with Cassie yesterday, I came across a patch of those cute little wild violets already in bloom.  I dug up a couple and nestled them in with some moss and another low-growing plant.  I'll have to see if I have time to make some cute mushrooms or a little gnome out of polymer clay, or maybe some little garden structures out of bark or craft sticks.  If you want to see some other great fairy garden ideas, just type those words into google images - there are many wonderful, creative, inspiring, fun samples posted on the web!

 After lunch, I went back downstairs and completely cleaned up my worktable!  I was able to put away all the fabrics I used for the kimono, cleaned and oiled my sewing machine, wiped my sewing table clean of loose threads, dust, and cat dander, and vacuumed everything completely!  It felt great to get it all tidied up and ready for the next project.

Speaking of the next project, I received my next bracelet in the round-robin swap.  This is the final bracelet with a bird theme (it is getting a little boring), and the colors for this one are blue and pearl with silver findings.  It will go back to Peggy Krzyzewski, one of the co-authors of Making Mixed-Media Art Charms and Jewelry  and leaders of the yahoo artcharms group.  Through the group, I've come to know Peggy is extremely talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and generous with her time and talents, so I want this charm to be special for her.

I've worked within a bird theme before, so I already had a few things in my stash that I could play around with, and one of them was the silver-tone wing on the right below.  For some reason, the phrase "a wing and a prayer" kept going through my head, so I decided to try making a small charm with a prayer on it.  I took a page from an old church missalette I swiped years ago and mod-podged it onto a piece of heavy weight watercolor paper, then layered tissue paper over that.  I stamped with a music stamp and silver ink on that, then cut it out, added the eyelet, and coated the whole thing with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, which protects it and gives it that nice shine.  Together with the wing and the little egg-shaped pearl, it will make a nice addition to her bracelet.  But I also had some shrink-film birds I had printed with our inkject printer, so I decided to coat that with the Dimensional Magic as well, and see which charm I like better.  The reverse side says "bluebird of happiness," as you can see below.  Maybe I'll add a little beaded dangle to it and send them both...

I haven't been swapping charms as much since last summer - too many other things going on I guess, but when the latest swap theme came up, I thought I'd join in again - it's "the mermaid and her treasures" - right up my alley!  I have lots of stuff in my stash already that would work for this theme, but I remembered early this morning that I saved these old stamps from a kit the girls had.  I thought I remembered a mermaid in there, and I was right!  This swap requires 26 charms, so I always look for ways to make them inexpensively and repetitively.  A stamp would be a good way to go.  She looks a little bit childlike (or childish), definitely styled for kids, so I'm not sure if I'll use them, but here are the charms I made, below.  These do not have to be finished until the first week in May, so I have time to play around with some other ideas before I decide.  I can even make several different designs if I want, all 26 don't have to be the same.

The rain has almost stopped so maybe I'll run out to the mailbox and see if the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors is here - it's supposed to have a bird theme this month!  Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kimono Progress

Here's an updated photo of my not-quite-finished, nature-inspired kimono.  In this photo, it's draped over my design board; this is the front of the piece and there's a back that looks about the same.  It still needs a little tweaking here and there (and another sleeve) but for the most part, I'm happy with the color transitions, texture and movement of it.    I think I'm going to call it "Prana (life-force): Mother Nature's Robe."  I was trying to capture the miracle of life emanating from sunlight, transformed with water in plants during photosynthesis, and supporting all life.  Below is a close-up showing a snake hiding in the foliage...

and a yellow feather (to represent birds) towards the top which mixes in with the sunny fabrics.

Here is the dragonfly, perched on what would be the right shoulder.  I plan on hiding a fish tail in the sleeve fabrics on the other side.  I have a small carved frog I'll stitch onto one of the green strips, which will complete the representation of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fish.  Maybe I can suggest mammals somehow too...

It was fun working with such happy colors from my stash and putting them together like a puzzle into the design.   This kimono will be part of a special display at the Northern Star Quilter's Guild's annual show the first weekend in May.  Other FANE group members shared theirs last night at our monthly meeting, and they are all spectacular - it's sure to be a fabulous show, so if you're local, mark your calendars!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kimono Embellishment

I used copper wire, glass beads, and tulle to create this dragonfly to adorn my kimono.  This is the third time I've used Sulky Solvy (a water soluble stabilizer I used on the wings), and I have to say, I'm starting to love that stuff! (I also used it last year on my totem).   I was able to trace the wing vein pattern onto it, then layer it between two pieces of tulle.  It really makes the whole process much easier, with great results!  I hope to have a shot of the completed kimono by Thursday... yikes, that's tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Another Charm Sent Off

Here's the final charm for my latest round-robin bracelet.  I think the concept of "world peace" comes across, don't you?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

On the other side of the altar, the side where we usually sit, the window depicts the resurrected Christ.  Lord, send out Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth!  This is the day the Lord has made!  Let us be rejoice and be glad!