28 June 2010

the return of random

Its been a while since I did random so here goes.

1) I've got more small works in the, um, works. (Wow, outstanding writing skills we've got there, huh?) Here they are:

I've only got one so far of the yellow/blue purple one of the far right. I did a second one and then decided I should cut up and reassemble it to make it flow better but it had different ideas. Once it was sliced, it refused to come back together. No big loss, they will become freebie pieces. The ones that played nice will make an appearance in my etsy shop after they are attached to canvas.

2) I attended the Brighton Modern Quilters Guild tonight and took the above work as my show and tell. I sputtered and stuttered and pretty much bumbled my way through it (I sometimes get tongue tied in new groups). Luckily its a very nice group of women and Andrea, the lovely owner of Monarch Quilts where the meeting was held, didn't look at me like I had three heads so maybe I didn't do as bad as I thought. At any rate, I had a good time and will be going back.

3) I tried to get Dooley love to be a yarn model but I don't think he was digging it:

4) This white hunk of plastic is making me stupid happy:

That is a laundry sink that will soon be hooked up to pipes. Its in the garage so that means I can dye fabric and screen print at will. Its just in the nick of time too, since its dye weather here in Michigan. Of course, it won't remain white for very long. I can't wait to mess it up.

5) I bought this magazine for two reason. (a) I adore bizarre plushies and (b) one of the features on the front says "scary but sweet zombie chickens." Need I say more?

6) I need to turn this heap of stuff into seven assemblages in a couple of short months:

Leann and Joan and I are putting on a three woman show at the local coffee house in downtown Plymouth. Leann has been lamenting that she is freaked about the amount of work and I've been looking at her like she's a bit nuts. I mean, what's the big deal? There's plenty of...oh wait, this is the end of June already. Ruh-roh...why didn't anyone tell me that??

7) Creating massive amounts of artwork may not be as unreasonable as I am worried about. See this?

This is the beginning of a very long process. Much of this house has wallpaper on it. Everywhere. In every room. All the way up the staircase to the super tall ceiling. Everywhere. (I've never seen anything like it really.)

The decision has been made that the majority of it needs to go away and be replaced with fresh clean neutral colors. It will be fantastic when it is done but it does mean being displaced from several areas of the house. My studio is not being touched so I see myself fleeing the chaos to it while this is happening. Hopefully that equals concentrated work time.

That's all I've got. The lightning bugs were out when I got home from the meeting tonight. They remind me of fireworks but without all the smoke and noise. I stood there for a moment and let them flitter around me, didn't even squeak when one landed on me. Imagine that...

27 June 2010

help fight breast cancer with a ninja kick

My very kind and talented friend Kate (the one and only plushie creator of the fabulous Oma's Patch) is doing a wonderful thing and I wanted to share it with you all.

In addition to her signature Oma Dolls and Pixies, she also makes ninja plushies. They are way cool. (I think they look a bit suspicious as well they should, they are ninjas after all.)

She has assembled a special task force (shown above) to help fight breast cancer. These cute little ninjas (the solid pink ones are sporting special pink hand dyed fabric and embroidered ninja stars for extra fighting power and the ones with the white bodies have received their pink belts, a little known special level of skill never before revealed to the general public) are ready to kick breast cancer's butt all over the place but they need your help.

For every pink ninja plushie that finds its way out of her shop and into a new home, Kate is donating $5 to help support the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure.

In addition to their special powers, they also have a soft side (literally). Kate is meticulous about making sure that her toys are child friendly. I have to tell you, these guys are real cuties. (Don't tell them I said that though, they like to exude their tough exteriors. They are ninjas after all.)

You can see the whole task force in her shop.

If you're inclined, please help Kate raise funds for this event. Its such an important cause and she's made it fun and easy for us to help out.

Hope a ninja finds its way into your home! :)

where i stand sunday

The pull of shared interest and intense creativity weaves itself into bonds that bend and withstand the passing of the years. She is an inspiration, never failing, always there, a bookend in this photo essay, a desirable side effect of a creative life.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

25 June 2010

4 times 4 show and tell

Cart before the Horse put up a fun little challenge so I thought I would play along.

Go into your picture folders. Find the fourth folder and grab the fourth picture in that folder. Then go into the fourth folder away from the first fourth folder and grab the fourth picture in that folder. (Rad that second sentence five times fast - you'll feel like you're drunk.) Do this a total of four times and post the pictures on your blog. (Its like a little slice of random into your psyche - so glad I dodged some of the goofier pictures I've taken!)

Here are mine.

A digitally altered Where I Stand picture from 2008:


Lemon sandwich cookies:


Rick & Laura's


The gnarly tree next to my driveway blooming in the spring:

If you decide to play along, leave a comment on Cart Before the Horse's post about it so she can find you!

24 June 2010

4 year blogiversary giveaway

dream time graffiti #4

collection of ??? (maybe you!)

Okay, technically tomorrow (the 25th) is my four year blogiversary but I love you all and wanted to get the celebration started! :)

I made a couple mini dream time graffiti collage pieces and I'm offering one of them here as a big ol' thank you for all of you who have spent the past four years listening to me prattle on and on and on.

I could get all mushy and wax poetic about how the blog has given me so much. While its true, I'll just keep it short and sweet - you are all about a hundred different kinds of awesome. I never imagined I'd enjoy writing this blog so much and I've met so many people through it.

So leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered in a random drawing to win dream time graffiti #4. Its just like its siblings in that its ready to hang on the wall. It measures 5" high x 4" wide. (Follow the link above to see the others in the series and for a full explanation about them.)

side view of dream time graffiti #4

You have until July 2 to leave a comment, the winner will be announced on July 3. But here's the deal - I've had a few giveaways go unclaimed. You MUST check back here on July 3 to see if you won (I'll contact you if blogger gives me your email address or you link back to your own blog). You'll have a week to claim your prize. If I don't hear from you after that, I'll draw a new name. Fair? Yup!

Leave a comment. Love you all. Looking forward to another year (and more!) of blogging!

23 June 2010

dear i love lucy...

...I would be much obliged if you would take your mojo back.

I've got myself under a self-imposed deadline. I would like to have my etsy shop set up by the end of June, the end of the first week of July by the absolute latest. But there seems to be a conspiracy working against me that borders on a script for an "I Love Lucy" episode. Its slowed things down a bit. Both events involved paint...

Event #1: My bedroom is going to be painted in the next couple of weeks. It is currently a shade of green that reminds me of the tone people turn when they have a stomach bug so I'm looking forward to a new color in there. I'm doing something I never thought I would do - going neutral.

Its been quite an interesting experience picking out a neutral that isn't freakin' beige. (I swear that color is like a plague, it works its way into almost every color family...) I started paying attention to the decorating shows on HGTV and decided that a very soft pale gray would suit me just fine.

Off I went earlier this week to pick up quarts of paint to test out. I found five shades that I liked well enough in the store. But I know from past experience that they always look different once they are in your house. So I bought boards to paint large samples of each. I figure I can put them up on the wall and then move them around the room to make sure I like whichever one I pick out.

I painted the boards when I got home and stashed them in the bathroom - on the floor - to dry as my studio is a busy place at the moment (the polite way of sayings its a train wreck that will most likely never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever be clean).

I decided they needed a second coat because they were streaky and I could still see the white board beneath the paint. So I set the little quarts down on the floor next to each board and proceeded to open each one so that I could be quick and efficient about slathering on the second coat.

Cue the phone. Cue me knocking over one of the quarts that then splashes into three other colors. Cue me swearing and as I step backward to get out of the way, cue me placing my other foot directly into another quart.

I now have a lovely pale gray footprint on my bathroom rug. Perhaps if I did a few more it could double as one of those learn-to-dance posters...

Event #2: One of the main elements of my etsy store will be selling thermofax screens. I've got 18 ready-to-print premade designs that I will be offering in addition to making personal image screens so I spent this afternoon printing samples of those screens.

Its no secret that my favorite paint for printing is Plaid's Simply Screen. One of the biggest reasons I like it is that it comes in a squeeze bottle - which makes it easier for me to aim where I want the paint (yes, I'm just that simple to please).

I discovered today that they are also capable of flinging paint with incredible (and unfortunate) accuracy.

I dropped one of my sponge brushes and as I stooped down to pick it up, I put my hand on one of the bottles that had tipped over on its side. As I stood up, I must have pushed down on it and it launched paint directly at me. It made perfect contact with my nose and I spent an extraordinary amount of time cleaning Grape Juice colored silk screen paint out of my right nostril.

I've heard tell that these type of things come in threes. I've still got a lot of samples to print and I don't know how much more my carpet or skin can bear.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should invest in a haz mat suit...

22 June 2010

dream time graffiti collages

Printing my own fabric has become an addiction. I find that it seems to fall into two categories: fabric to use as a background that can be built upon or fabric that does not benefit from anything but being allowed to just be what it is.

The fabric used in this series is the latter.

I've experimented many different ways with how to use it and there isn't a single thing that I added to it that did anything to enhance it. Its determined to stand on its own. And who am I to argue?

So I present to you the first three pieces in the dream time graffiti collage series. They are fabric collages (no stitching) mounted on an 8"x8" canvas that has been wrapped in black fabric. They have a sawtooth hanger on the back so its ready to go up on the wall. The canvas is 3/4" deep.

All three of these are available for purchase. They are $35 each (this includes priority mail shipping in the U.S.) If you are interested in purchasing one, please email me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net.

dream time graffiti 1

collection of Cathy M. Winter


dream time graffiti 2


dream time graffiti 3


Here is a side view to see how the canvas will look when its hung:

21 June 2010

happy summer solstice

Its hard to believe that the year is nearly half over. Although, all I have to do is step out my front door and the searing sun and heat serves as a good reminder that summer has made a full appearance. (Thank goodness for SPF 100 sunscreen).

Hope today finds you warm - or properly air conditioned - and looking happily toward the second half of the year.

20 June 2010

where i stand sunday

When the work flows freely its hard to remember why its so hard at other times. My desire to make new work available to sell is creeping in, looking for a way to integrate itself into my usual routine of studio time. The assembly of the first three have sparked a storm of ideas that are sure to leave my mind spinning until I indulge it fully.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

19 June 2010

no, it never ends

Me: {{determined silence as I lug six stackable baskets into the house and up the stairs}}

Mom: What are those for?

Me: Fabric.

Mom: What fabric?

Me: The fabric in my studio.

Mom: I thought you organized that already.

Me: I did. But this will be better.

Mom: {{thoughtful silence}}

Mom: Will you ever be finished organizing that room?

Me: Nope. Never. In fact, I plan to leave a clause in my will that it must be reorganized at least once a year until all of it is used up.

I know she has a point. I know that I've made a career out of organizing that small room stuffed to the gills with my beloved stash. But things evolve. What can I say?

I've been eyeing my fabric stash with a critical eye lately. About half of it is commercial fabric and I've got a little bit of mixed feeling about it. I've got nothing against commercial fabric, I like a lot of the stuff that is out on the market. But some of what I have hanging about in my bins now is simply not my taste anymore.

So its time to purge it again.

I got this far today:

The middle and bottom bins are all hand dyed fabric - both mine and other pieces I've collected. The top bin will have my own printed fabric (which is a stash that is growing steadily and sort of what prompted another reorg). There will be a second tower and the top bin of that one will also be printed fabric.

The little pile in front is some batiks. I plan to hang on to most of those but the herd will be thinned. And as far as the prints that are not batiks, I have yet to decide their fate. I don't really like to use random fabric for the backs of my pieces. I like a nice solid black fabric for that.

Here is the pile I still have to go through:

It may not look like a lot from this view but its a tall pile. It comes down to making decisions about what I'll honestly use and what I won't. Most likely I will kick this to the side and avoid doing it until the mess gets on my last nerve and I finish cleaning it up.

So I guess I'm wondering...what's the ratio of hand dyed/printed to commercial fabric do you have? Do you have a bias toward one or the other? Do you find that you have a particular kind of fabric that you pull for nearly every project?

15 June 2010

flickr love

Often when I'm looking to relax and unwind, I troll around on Flickr looking at inspiration photos. I've discovered many artists that I may not have come across otherwise so I thought I'd introduce you to them. This mosaic shows some of art quilt/embroidery pieces that I really enjoy.

You can find the link to the original photo numbered below the mosaic so stop on by and take a look at the other things they have up on their sites.

1. Remnant #3 - Detail2. Space Spores in Search of the Perfect Martini , 3. Color Study: Strip 2 ~ 2003, 4. dqs8 two sweet bunbuns + bunting, 5. YIP 365.45 :: Mini Quilt Monday, 6. 2008 Calendar Quilt (detail), 7. finished quilting, 8. Jewel Squares, 9. The Big Log, 10. YIP 365.121 :: Patchwork Scarf, 11. Thread Sketch 4, 12. joy detail, 13. Mini Art Quilt Detail, 14. workingman's quilt, 15. Hawthorns on Walkers Hill 1, 16. so...i think i love you. [embroidery]

14 June 2010

a wooly weekend

This ended up being the weekend of animals and wool and all things outside. I managed to be out in the sun (although it was rather overcast both days) and not go up in flames so I can heartily recommend the SPF 100 from Aveeno. It saved this pale girl from turning tomato red.

On Saturday I headed out to Fiber Arts & Animals Festival in Marshall, MI with Cathy and her daughter (known as Squeaker for her ability to hit octaves that seem somewhat inhuman). Its organized by the awesome Rick and Laura Boesen who have put together a nice festival that focuses on the education of fiber arts. I tip my hats to them for their efforts at keeping fiber art going for future generations.

I did a tatting demo for a couple of hours and of course did not take a single picture of that. I was pretty impressed that most people who walked up to me knew what it was so that was a nice thing.

One of the things I like most about the festival is getting to see all the animals up close and personal.

One of Rick and Laura's llamas:


Giant fluffy angora bunny:

posing while trying on a felted angora hat:

A view of the festival:

Notice the distinct lack of sky in the photo? We had some serious cloud coverage going on that day. Luckily it didn't rain but the humidity was so high it sort of sucked the life force out of you. We stayed most of the day and had a good time. I bought some roving to start spinning again and Cathy and I split a felted batt, I'll post pictures of those later.

On Sunday we ventured out to a local place where there is a petting zoo. Which sounds juvenille but its really not. They have a lot of friendly animals there (I almost got head butted in the butt by a frisky baby goat) and lovely pond settings. You can see that Squeaker enjoyed herself immensely over on Cathy's blog.

It was a pleasant weekend although I have to admit that I am ready for some serious couch time. And its probably a good time to skitter back inside, I think I sort of pushed my luck exposing my paleness to the sun so much this weekend.

Tomorrow morning I'm heading over to Leann's house for a meeting with her and Joan. The three of us are exhibiting our assemblages at Plymouth's local coffee house in the autumn and we've decided to meet every so often to keep on track. I'm looking forward to getting back into my studio, have lots on the deadline list that I want to get my hands into.

13 June 2010

pretty much sums it up...

This happy fellow (who was rather intent on trying to eat my camera) pretty much sums up my weekend.

I spent two whole days outside and my vampire complexion came out fairly unscathed. I have more photos to share but wanted to give this darling the spotlight for a bit (click the photo to see his goofiness in all its glory). More soon...

where i stand sunday

mild summer day
surrounded by animals
fingers and toes intact

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

08 June 2010

coulrophobia clown collages

I've been scrambling the past two days working on these. I'm in a trade with the paper art group I belong to. We're doing pages for a journal and the theme is circus.

My late start this time had nothing to do with procrastination. I just had a heck of a time deciding what I wanted to do. I went through several different designs but all of them felt far too cutesy and, well, incredibly colorful. Which sounds awful but what can I say?

I was browsing my brother's photos and found this creepy clown photo and knew I had found my focal image (posted and used with his permission):

The creepiness factor is exactly what I was looking for but I decided that I needed to get rid of some of the green. I tortured it a bit in photoshop and Picnik and ended up with this version:

With this tone, I can doodle on it to my heart's content which is what I really need for collage elements.

(If you've never used Picnik, I highly recommend it. Its a good photo editing software and comes in really handy - especially if you don't have photoshop or anything like that. There is a free version and a pro version upgrade (which is about $25) and I use it constantly. Its pretty posh.)

The most daunting thing about the swap is that I need ten copies of the collage. There was some talk about doing color photocopies at the last meeting and I gave that some serious thought. In the end, I decided it just wasn't me so I made ten similar pages by hand.

I have a cramp in my hand but hey, its done. Here's a view of a single page:

On the lower right hand corner of the creepy clown's costume I wrote: "coulrophobia - fear the clown." If you haven't guessed yet, coulrophobia is the phobia of clowns which I personally feel is a healthy phobia that shouldn't be cured. They are creepy as all get out.

I just need to put a label on the back and its all set. I love doing these trades, everyone has such a different view of the same theme. I'll post the pages from the other artists after I get them on wednesday.

07 June 2010


Ever notice how printing fabric just never gets old?

And the thing that makes it even more fun is doing it with a group of friends. This weekend I had the pleasure of demoing gelatin plate printing, thermofax screen printing and soy wax batik with some members of Running with Scissors. We had tons of space and totally went to town printing tons of fabric.

Here's a quick look at our weekend:

I hauled half my studio over for the weekend. I love this space because we have boards to hang stuff on so I put up some of the fabric I've made:

I brought my personal stash of screens for everyone to goof with which resulted in the great table of thermofax screen (sort of like the Great Wall of China except way flatter):

Everyone caught on quickly and did a fantastic job!

New members Shar and Brittany did these gelatin plate prints, I love the detail they got using scrapbooking embellishments to make the patterns:

Brittany did several layers of thermofax screen printing in bright colors, I was really impressed with her enthusiasm:

Michelle made a thermofax screen from a sunflower photo she took. She did an amazing job of printing with multiple colors:

Kate had gears on the brain this weekend. She did gelatin plate printing with teeny little gears and then did thermofax screen printing with some gears as well. She's got a really great industrial grunge thing going on:

Debi printed a ton of fabric but this soy wax batik piece really caught my eye, it has a nice retro mod vibe to it:

I decided to torture some of the fabric that got dyed during the dyeapalooza at Cathy's. I did some soy wax batik on it and then white washed it with fabric paint. I haven't ironed the wax out yet but it should be interesting to see how it comes out:

Kathy, Johanna and Linda all also did really interesting things but being totally distracted, I did not get pictures of their fabric. Which really bums me out because it was good stuff.

I had such a good time doing all these demos that now I've got some ideas spinning on developing a one day workshop for printing with the thermofax screens. Lots to do on the list concerning those little screens.

So much to do, so little time! :)

06 June 2010

where i stand sunday

Creating my own fabric is what pulls me back to fiber art every time. Layering, painting, screen printing, letting the images build in an unconscious kind of freedom is what embeds the energy that defines this medium for me.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (The project is now in Year Three. Year Three will feature artwork inspired by that week's Where I Stand photo as well as the photo that inspired it. Year One and Year Two can be found here.)

04 June 2010

the sketchbook project

There was a ton of chatter on an email list I belong to (Quiltart - I'm looking at you) about something called The Sketchbook Project.

It took me about thirty seconds to decide to join it.

I got my sketchbook in the mail the other day and now I'm faced with the (daunting) task of deciding on specifically what to do in it. The theme I chose is "First thing in the morning, last thing at night."

The rules state "You are free to unbind, rebind and alter the book in any way you feel fit. If you want to use a thicker stock of paper, go for it!" The temptation to fill it full of something fiber art was there for a moment but I'm really trying to indulge my paper art skills more so I think I'm going to leave it with that. I'm intrigued by yanking all the pages out and adding in my own...

What I really like about this project is that it becomes a permanent part of The Brooklyn Art Library. It appeals to me that I get to have my way with it for a few months and then it goes out into the world to play all on its own without supervision.

After all the books are in, it will also tour during 2011. It'll be in Chicago in May, I might have to take a road trip. Or perhaps it will be a good excuse to finally go out to New York, I've never been there before.

So I need to figure out what to do in the book. I've got a few ideas - been thinking about daydreams and nightdreams, to-do lists, sunrises and sunsets....maybe I should put them all in there but I think I'd like to pick one and stick with that.

Anyone care to voice opinions or suggestions?

03 June 2010

packing fool

I know the blog has been quiet and kind of boring and I apologize for that. I have a good reason for that, though. See that big old pile of surface design goodness shown above?

Its heading out with me on Saturday for a day of demos for the fiber art group I belong to, Running with Scissors. We plan to fling paint around with abandon (or not, we sort of want to be allowed back at the hotel; we'll fling carefully).

We're going to work our way through gelatin plate printing, thermofax screen printing and soy wax batik. I'll do a little demo (and maybe a little dance) and then set them loose to try out the technique. I can't wait, these ladies are really fun and energetic and I'm so looking forward to seeing what they do with each technique.

Speaking of the group, we now have a blog.

We've had a website for some time but to be honest with you, the group is so incredibly active its impossible to keep up with what everyone is doing. I have to brag a little - we've got a lot of really talented people. We've been published and exhibit constantly and sell in all kinds of venues. So I figured a blog would be a good way to coral everything into one spot. We'll also be doing a member profile each month so everyone can get to know the members. If you're inclined, stop on by from time to time and see what we are up to. The blog is still very young so there isn't a lot up there yet but we'll be building it up.

I still have some packing left to do for saturday (how could it be possible?). I'm thinking I should invent some studio fairies. The could do such things as pack for retreats, sew sleeves and labels on the backs of quilts and thread my needles for me. Something to think on...