30 August 2011

the dichotomy of beginnings

I have a love/hate relationship with the starts of projects.

On the one hand, they hold every possibility in the world. Its new and exciting and perfect. There's almost a sense of euphoria.

But the other side of it feels like a colossal undertaking. In a good way, but still. The ironic part is that it usually isn't. Once things get rolling, things are cake.

The project up above didn't go the way I wanted. I'll be pulling it apart this weekend and starting over. There was a time when I'd get frustrated with it and move on to a friendlier project (aka, one that is turning out the way I want) but these days I've got a much more zen reaction to it. Its just another chance to add more design to it - another chance to begin. :)

28 August 2011

where i stand sunday

That floating red spiral situates itself like an island, determined and resolute to stand on its own. Its a pulse among the neutral mosaic, a heartbeat of color. Everyone who passes over this section of floor steps around it, unwilling to create a stutter in its energy.

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.

27 August 2011

want to take a class with me?

clockwise: Remnant Collage 1, Remnant Collage 7,
Remnant Collage 8, Remnant Collage 9
(copyright Lynn Krawczyk)

Just a reminder that I'm offering a class coming up in a few weeks. (Hard to believe that October is nearly here but I'm not complaining, can't wait to see the trees painted up in their autumn costumes.)

The class is on how to make your very own Remnant Collage (like the ones shown above).


Here are all the details:

When: Sunday October 16, 2011

Where: The Hyatt Place (located in Livonia, MI - follow the link for complete directions)

Time: 9am-6pm

Class fee: $85 (includes a box lunch and some class supplies)

Class description: Do you have bits of fabric you can't bare to throw away? How about an unfinished quilt project or one you just aren't feeling the love for anymore?

Use up your leftovers and give your unfinished and old projects new life by creating a fabric collage of them. In this class you will create a collage on a 10" canvas. You'll learn to create your background, take the plunge and cut up your unfinished or old quilt and add in embellishments. You can also use paper with this technique!

We'll explore the addition of surface design through screen printing and various ways that hand stitching can add texture and interest to your work.

This is a fabulous way to create freely and put all those remnants from your sewing room to work!


There's a couple of reasons its being held on a Sunday. (1) Because my full time day job keeps me pretty well occupied during the week and (2) I don't think there are enough art classes available to working folks on the weekends.

So there you have it. If you are interested in attending, you can contact me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net

Hope to see you there!

23 August 2011

deconstructed assemblage in CPS :)

I had a huge stack of mail when I got home (odd how it seems to breed when you aren't looking) but I bypassed all of it in favor of this:

That there is the September/October 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and I'm super giddy to have an article in there!

Here it is:

(Ignore the odd white blur on the right side, that's just Dooley trying to sneak out of the photo faster then I can snap the shot.)

In my quest to attack everything on the planet with thermofax screen printing, I carried it over to my assemblage work. And I've become enamored with building my own boxes. The article shows you how to do both.

If you get a chance to check it out, please do! I had a great time writing it (made a total train wreck of my studio). As always, there's tons of other awesomeness in the issue too. I'm really digging the steampunk dolls from Paula Nerhus (shown on the cover) and the mixed media mosaics by Rebecca Collins - great stuff!

(I'm also extremely excited that the issue says "September/October" on it. Autumn is right around the corner! Yesssss!!!!!)

22 August 2011

returning from an unintentional break

I didn't plan to take a blogging break. But I did (call me Captain Obvious) and I realized what I really did was just plain take a break. From everything.

Earlier this year, Kate and Cathy and I decided it was high time we hung out with the sheep (or as I like to call them, "yarn donors") and all the groovy yarn at the Michigan Fiber Festival. It was this past weekend and for a few weeks before hand, all I could think was, "Can't wait to go! Can't wait to take a break!"

Guess I didn't figure I'd fall off the face of the planet. But I shouldn't really be surprised by that, yarn has that effect on me. Might sound strange to non-yarny folk, but knitting is pretty much like mediation for me, it has a very strong sedative/calming effect.

So much so that apparently I don't answer emails or blog when I am surrounded by large amounts of it or even the prospect of it.

Wanna see what we did? Here goes: :)

Meet one of the lovely yarn donors that was at the festival:

I don't know what breed he is but I call him cute. He wasn't interested in me. Perhaps because I was commenting how lovely he would dye up.

Kate got an impromptu drop spindle spinning lesson from one of the vendors:

She ended up getting the spindle (how could she pass it up? She was obviously enjoying it) and I wish I remembered the vendor because its a cool one. It has little skull beads on it for the weights, very unique. Kate's becoming a spinning fool.

We admired the flowers on the fairgrounds:

And on Sunday when we were done gorging on yarn and fiber, we wandered a little farther away to Saugatuck:

Its right off the water and boy was it ever pretty. A completely relaxed town, as evidenced by sunbathing bear statues:

We wandered around through some of the art galleries and then decided to eat on the patio of a restaurant on the side of the water. Cathy decided she couldn't wait anymore to wind off her yarn and pulled the skein out at the table and set about her work.

A gentleman passing by was enamored by this and brought her back a flower which looked pretty darn good when she put it behind her ear:

We dined, talked, and then parted ways. It was a fantastic way to end a very relaxing weekend.

But wait? Did you think I spent two whole days around 135 yarn vendors and bought nothing? I'd worry for you if you did. ;-)

Here's the majority of my haul:

Let's break it down.

On the far left is a lovely fleece that I plan to get back into spinning with. Obviously I have autumn on the brain, those colors will soon be on the trees around us.

At the very top is some yarn from Briar Rose. I secretly feel like she dyes yarn just for me, its all muddy and deep rich tones and there's not a single thing she sells that I don't want to own. I kind of had to fight my way into the booth but that was okay, once she was in my sights, I was on a mission. Its sort of a miracle that I came away with only one skein.

In the middle there just below it are two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber's Socks That Rock yarn. I nearly jumped up and down when I saw the booth carrying these, I've never spotted these in the wild before. Always had to obtain them through the magical mailbox portal. Kate was knitting socks all weekend so I blame her for snapping up two skeins without blinking twice. (Didn't take much convincing to get her to try it too. Perhaps it was the drool I was trying to wipe away over seeing it that caused her to cave.)

On the far right there, the knit in progress, is one of my favorite finds for both the yarn and the needles.

The yarn is Zauberball, which I have said more then once I'd like to marry. It transitions into all the different colors in such interesting ways, its a beautiful soft yarn. I'm making a basic garter stitch scarf from it so I can enjoy the color unobstructed by a pattern (which in all honesty the color shifts would probably eat anyway) and its super squishy. Yum.

Kate is using Knit Picks Harmony Wood circulars on her latest pair of socks and I've always been curious about them. I've got a lot of circs but they're mostly Addi, I've always kind of eyed the wood ones from afar - not sure how smooth the joins would be.

I can't tell you how pleased I am with these circs. They are pretty, smooth and the joins are just as good as about anything I've come across. Love 'em.

And that's where I'm at. I'm tired but my mind feels clear, like the cobwebs got cleaned out well and I can't really ask for much more then that. Must be the yarn power. :)

15 August 2011

new remnant collages

I recently finished three new pieces in the Remnants Collage series. These are all 10" x 10" on stretched canvas.

Remnants Collage 7

Remnants Collage 8

Remnants Collage 8

These are also my entries into the 2012 Artisan Search that Cloth Paper Scissors is hosting. I so wanted to enter last year but I just couldn't get work together that I thought was up to par. I'm really happy that this new series of work feels so strong to me, its exciting to be excited about it. :)

I put these three pieces into the gallery tonight (here, here and here). Go take a gander at all the goodies and if you are inclined, leave a comment on one of them if you like them.

And if you were thinking about entering the contest, there's still time - deadline is August 29! :)

i'm all about the mud

I was talking to a fellow fiber artist today and she was lamenting that all her dyeing experiments lately were producing nothing but mud colors. She's a happy-go-lucky-bright colors kind of gal while I'm a give-me-brown-so-I can-muddy-this-color-into-an-earth-tone kind of person. Needless to say, I was pretty tempted to not try to help her figure out what was going wrong since I'm pretty sure at some point I can get her to trade me for all that muddy fabric.

Later on when I was in my studio, I looked around and realized just how much I love that color palette.

Fabric that used to be on my print table as a base that will get turned into something else.

--- o --- o --- o ---

I even want mud from commercial fabric.

--- o --- o --- o ---

Scraps that are being worked into new Remnant Collages.

--- o --- o --- o ---

Remnant Collages in various states of completion.

--- o --- o --- o ---

One of my hand dyed fabric baskets.

I always frown when I read a book that deals with dyeing or painting and they are quick to alert artists to ways to avoid producing mud colors.

There's a lot of beauty in this color palette. Not all of it is sharp contrast or intense differences but there is a depth that draws me in every time, makes me fall in love no matter how many times I see it.

I took a week long dyeing class with Carol Soderlund (which I can't recommend enough) and came to appreciate a lot of colors I normally avoided like the plague. But my favorites didn't shift, I still remain married to a rainbow of mud.

Guess I'm just that kind of gal. :)

14 August 2011

thermofax screen giveaway on whip up! :)

I know today is traditionally Where I Stand Sunday but there is something just too good to mention that it can't wait until tomorrow.

Have you ever been over to visit the blog Whip Up? Its one of my all time favorites around. It covers everything crafty and it links to people's projects all over the world. (Love the internet.) So when they asked if I would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway, it took me about two nanoseconds to say yes! :)

This is what is up for grabs:

All you have to do is leave a comment on the post on THEIR blog (not mine, I'm not picking the winner this time.) You've only got 48 hours to leave a comment so don't delay!!!

There is an interview there and a discount code listed for the shop that is good until the end of August.

They asked for a photo of the team and I loved the idea. When I decided to wander back to a day job, I knew that I would need help in order to keep things running smoothly on the art side. My friend and fellow artist, Jackie, stepped into the role. When you order from the shop, you chit chat with me to work out the details of your order but most of the time its Jackie that fills your order so I thought you might like to meet her:

me (left), Jackie (right)

Her husband snapped the photo while her Jack Russell terrier bounced around our feet, it was pretty entertaining. :)

Okay! Enough talking! Head on over to Whip Up and leave a comment to get in on the drawing and find the discount code for the shop so you can get some screens!!!! :)

13 August 2011

the portrait of respect

I have always had tremendous respect for animals. Goes way beyond me being an animal lover, I don't feel that there is much difference between us. Life is life, and it deserves respect.

I watched this documentary on HBO this morning:

Its about a group of people that worked to save brown pelicans after the BP oil spill. I loved the way they shot it. It wasn't about politics, it didn't focus on blame - it showed extremely compassionate human beings working to assist a species that was not in a position to help itself.

So touching and inspiring to know that people like this exist. :)

11 August 2011


I read a lot of blogs. Some of them are for the art, some are for the writing, others for the pictures.

Its a diverse group and basically just a mish mash of whatever strikes my fancy. While I was trolling through my blog roll today (which is much larger then what I link to in my sidebar), I came across this post.

I love the sentiment. The wisdom. The simple idea behind it.

And I thought you might like it to. :)

09 August 2011

the reality of it

I got a very charming email from a lovely lady after I posted about Dooley's fame in the most recent issue of Studios magazine. We've chatted back and forth for a while and I asked her if I could bring the initial topic of her email to the blog and she was quite agreeable about it.

So what was her question? Here goes:

How do I keep my studio so neat and clean and organized? (Yes, those who have been reading the blog for a while and all of you who know me in real life may now commence laughing hysterically.)

Want to know what my studio looks like right this second? Here it is:

That's normal.

I wish I could say how it looked for the magazine is the norm but the truth is, that photo shoot was kind of like getting ready for a wedding - everything looked all perfect for the photos and once they were over, I celebrated by making a mess.

But I can say that its organized chaos in its finest form. If someone told me that the whole of the fiber art world was stopping by to visit me in a couple of hours, I could have the place cleaned up in half an hour. (And I don't mean dumping it in a closet and praying the doors don't burst open under the strain of the pile.)

I've zeroed in on three philosophies when it comes to my studio:

1. I need space. Which means if something isn't used regularly, it gets stored somewhere else in the house. Anywhere but the place I need to be able to move around when I work.

2. Everything needs a home. One pile of miscellaneous leads to another to another to another. They breed like gremlins and are as about as fun. Have somewhere to put things back and a mess will never truly be a mess.

3. (And this is the one that changed my quest to conquer the studio.) It doesn't need to be clean. Not all the time. Not ever if I don't want it to. I make artwork in this studio. I write here, I create projects for magazine articles, I dream, I plot - none of these are neat. And I don't expect them to be. They have a life of their own and I am simply their medium so they need to have free reign which often translates to tossing fabric and paint about.

I love how my studio looked in the magazine. Part of me kind of wishes it was always like that but an even bigger part of me knows that if it was, that would mean I wasn't working and using it to its fullest potential. As long as the mess isn't making me homicidal, I've decided to call a truce.

Don't stress about the mess. There's too much art to be made to spend energy on that. :)

07 August 2011

where i stand sunday

My imagination sticks with that turquoise line of paint, trailing lazy towards (or away?) from the intricate grate. It could be a tether or leash or pathway or scuff. Its contrast is mesmerizing, a tiny pulse of life amongst the grey.

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.

04 August 2011

what's your soundtrack?

I rarely create in silence. There's always noise, suits me better I guess. If I need to just kind of zone out, I put on a movie that I can ignore. (Sounds strange but at that point I'm just looking to fill in the background with noise.)

But when I want to really get into the groove of making something? Like really get down to business and work? That's always music. Could be soft, could be bouncy, could be mellow.

Right now its this:

Feels fitting somehow. And just the ticket to get excited about the flow of being creative.

What about you? What's your soundtrack when you're working in your studio?

02 August 2011

the window

This is the window at the front of my studio. I love it because of the tree that is just outside it. Its leaves are a deep dark red so it always looks like autumn no matter what time of the year it is.


Its also the place that I sit and just think. Mull things over, let ideas stew. I'm still feeling a bit like I'm in a rut but things are slowly beginning to feel easier and that's a sign that I'm moving in the right direction.

Sitting in front of that open window is where so many projects have begun. There's a stillness there, a kind of strange steady flow that lets things wander in and out. Maybe its just because the window is open and things feel freer, wilder.

Nothing feels more thrilling or exciting when its just at the beginning, the start. So many directions and choices and ways to turn.

I sit in my window and let the beginnings putter listlessly around me, waiting for the right one to grab hold and take root...

01 August 2011

dooley's fifteen minutes of fame :)

A couple of months ago I frantically ripped through my studio, cleaned every corner, pushed things around into a new layout and declared myself dictator of my space because of this:

And more specifically this:

That there is the Fall 2011 Studios issue. I think I've finally won the battle with my studio. (Don't ask me if its still that clean. You don't want to make me lie to you.)

You know, I've gotta say - I'm pretty proud of all I've accomplished this year but I absolutely squealed when I got this issue. Why? Because of this picture that's in there:

I know, I know - I'm a geek. But what can I say? I love my westie. And he's in print. In my clean studio. How could these things not make me happy?? :)

I wagged the issue at him and declared his fame to him and this was his response:

Yes, he holds the excitement inside. He celebrated with a couple of doggie cookies.

I did spend a good long sit down with this issue admiring everything in it. Studios has always been on of my favorite special publications out there, so much fun to look at the space that other artists put together.

Its awesomeness defined, be sure to pick up an the Fall 2011 issue! And admire my westie. :)