30 September 2011

replenishing the studio cupboards

Oh what a week.

Nothing out of the ordinary, just seemed to drag on for eons longer then it normally did. I blame it on the six days of constant rain, somehow the steady storms make time move slower. The sleepy days make me long for the comfort of my print table in my studio and the meditation that comes with creating fabric. So even though I haven't been able to grab any time in there this week, its been on my mind constantly.

I made a vow earlier this year that I would not buy supplies unless it was for a specific project and there was nothing I already had that couldn't be substituted.

I sort of slipped on that lately. Ah well, what's a girl to do? I'm helpless in the face of all the awesome fibery goodness out there. Want to see what's wandered its way into my studio?

First up is this little beauty:

I've been thumbing through it every night. I now have the desire to bury fabric in the backyard and dig it up in the spring, rummage through the small area of woods behind my house and trample across cloth with muddy shoes.

So I guess its working its charm. :)

Its an awesome book on natural dyeing. Beautifully composed and easy to follow and I'm really glad to add it to my bookshelf. (Although I've no plans to print fabric with cow poo. I have limits.)


I was feeling a little melancholy on the drive home (again, SIX days of steady rain - cold and overcast I can deal with but rain really gets to me after a few days) so I stopped off at Michael's for a little pick-me-up.

I needed some supplies for the class I'm teaching in a couple of weeks and decided a wander about the store would be a nice treat.

Did you know about these?

I didn't and boy am I ever glad to have found them. Granted, I'm a paint junkie. (Which is putting it kindly.)

But what really caught my eye about the new line from Martha Stewart is that her general all purpose craft paint can be used on fabric. I plan to give it a try tonight to see how it does. She also has different tops you can screw right onto the bottles so you can use the paint in different ways. I grabbed the fine tip one you see up above, got all giddy thinking about how those can come in handy printing fabric.

And even though its shallow, I'm smitten with the packaging too. Kind of vintage, super graphic and just makes me want to gaze at them and admire their colors. :)

I'll do a little review of them once I give them a go, I'm hopeful it goes well. Her color range is outstanding. (Yay! Paint! Paint! New PAINT!)


Today the magical mailbox portal coughed up some new yarn I ordered. Yes, I need more yarn just like I need more paint but I'm sure you'll agree, its worth having:

I've pledged my love for Blue Moon Fiber Arts' sock yarn (aptly named Socks that Rock) on the blog before. She released the halloween colors and I regretted not snapping these up last year so I treated myself and got them.

The one in front is Frankenhen and the one in the back is Black Magic. Someone bring me my needles.


Speaking of needles (but of the embroidery kind), I scored at the American Sewing Expo last weekend when I found a vendor selling perle cotton:

These are the colors I use most in my work and I've worn the ones I have now pretty much down to a nub. So it was time to stock up and it seems to be getting harder and harder to find hand embroidery thread at the shows. I know the machines are nifty and I expect in another year or two they will be able to cook and clean for us as well as sew but I still love hand stitching. It will always be my go-to way of working and with my stash replenished, I'm good to go for a while again.


But lest you've think I've been sitting around eating bon-bons and ordering things online with abandon, I offer proof of productivity from last weekend:

These are my version of jelly rolls (which is not at all food related but refers to fabric collections in the form of strips). They're hand dyed fabric that I've printed and they'll be for sale during my class coming up. Depending on how they do, I may put some up in the shop. I'm rooting for the little fellows!

This weekend is cleaning the studio up from new projects I executed like the freaking Tasmanian Devil, prepping for the class and writing my e-zine. (Don't forget to sign up to receive the e-zine if you don't already, always fun stuff!)

Lots to do and hopefully an upcoming week that has more art around the edges then this past one. No matter how nutty it gets though, there is always fiber lurking about and that's at least something. :)

26 September 2011

creative pause prompt #3

Creative Pause Prompt #3:

Make a list of ten things that made you smile today.


Creative Pause Prompt is a weekly blog post series that delivers a low key, no stress prompt to help you keep creativity in your schedule no matter how busy you are. You can read more about it here.

25 September 2011

where i stand sunday

Its a continuous cycle of reinvention, a need to find new uses that fascinates and inspires. The shift in how the world views material items is welcome, the creative mind seems to reign supreme at every opportunity. When the old function ceases to exist, a new purpose is found with ease and simplicity and destiny.

This is what the little planter looks like from the front, I couldn't work my feet into the picture from this view. Very cute, yes?

P.S. I got a lot of comments about my shoes (apparently I've been boring everyone with my dull foot apparel! LOL!) and what brand they are. Here they are and that's the site I buy from too. Enjoy! :)

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.

23 September 2011

the mystery of neutral

1. as a ghost in my own world, 2. feather and two leaves, 3. never been, 4. I would sail back to you

What if color drained away? What would be left? A mysterious underpainting, a beginning that has a depth that doesn't belong. Its a ghost, tired and connected - a kind of anchor that establishes a start.

The photos in this post were collected from flickr. The words are mine but to see the original photo, click on the links located below the mosaic to visit the photographer's flickr page.

21 September 2011

Paper Stacks online collaboration

stack of thermofax screens on top of artwork featuring thermofax screen printing


Back in this post I mentioned the very cool online photo collaboration project that Seth Apter is putting together over at his blog, The Altered Page.

Today is the day to post a picture of a stack of something you dig.

Now I know that the title of this post is "paper stacks" but since you all know my fondness of thermofax screens (and because Seth said it could of anything as long its in a stack), I decided to gather all my little screen friends and put them in a pile.

And since they are a little hum drum on their own (I love the way they look but they do tend to look very similar), I put some artwork underneath them that features thermofax screen printing. (The one sticking out the most is "Red Eye" that was in the 10th Anniversary Issue of Quilting Arts.)

Ah its a pretty site. :)

Head on over to Seth's blog to see a list of everyone who is participating so you can link hop and take a look at everyone's stacks. :)

20 September 2011

how to print text with thermofax screens

Thermofax screens are really groovy. You all know my feelings on them. I don't really think there is anything in this world that shouldn't be screen printed and I think thermofax screens are just the ticket. (Yes, I am obsessively geeky about them and proud of it.)

I get asked quite often if they can be used to print text.


But (isn't there always a "but"?), you have to be mindful of a few things. I thought we'd have a little chat about it since its something that I answer several times a week so its obvious that inquiring minds want to know.

Successful printing of text with thermofax screens depends on two things:

(1) The font you are using for your words.


(2) The size of the font (referred to as "point").

Its pretty logical actually - the smaller and more complicated the font, the harder it is to print. Of course, its easy for me to tell you that but much easier for you to take a look for yourself so I did a couple of example prints.

I typed up some sample text (including numbers) in two different fonts that pretty much everyone has on their computers: Arial and Lucida Handwriting.

Arial is a basic, simple font. Lucida Handwriting is frilly and sweepy so its more complicated. Then I changed the sizes of the text so it ranges from 9 point to 18 point (each one is labeled) so you can see how it progresses.

Here they are (click on them, I left the images godzilla size so you can get a better look at them):

Arial font example print


Lucida Handwriting font example print


Its pretty clear to see that the 9 point font doesn't come out crystal clear. You have better clarity at 12 point and above. And the Lucida Handwriting font didn't perform too shabby. (Super fancy fonts can be a pain, though. Just sayin'.)

I do have a trick for printing teeny text because sometimes you just gotta go small. Here it is:

In my video tutorial where I demonstrate Basic Screen Printing Using Thermofax Screens, I use a sponge brush and just squirt the paint all over the screen. (Check out the video if you're new to Thermofax Screens, I babble a lot about everything you need to know to get started.)

But you can see from the picture above that I've forsaken my trusty sponge brush in favor of a regular paintbrush. And I squirt the paint on the side where the image isn't (the well of the screen) to dip the brush into.

The biggest reason I do this is so that I can control the amount of paint I'm using. Too much paint will give you smudgey prints when you're working with tiny text. And using a regular paintbrush limits how much pressure you use when you print - another factor that can make your text prints come out unclear.

You also need to watch how many passes you make when you print. I've been known to just go back and forth over the image as many times as I want but as I print art cloth and rarely strive for a perfect print, this isn't an issue. But if you're going for a very clear concise outcome, the fewer times you go over image you're printing, the better chance you have of being clear.

Oh, and here's the real secret to printing text - practice.

Not too magical, is it? As with anything, you need to find your comfort zone and figure out what gives you the best outcome. But the tips in this post will help set you on your way.

So what kind of text might you want to print?

How about a wedding invitation? I've sold many custom screens from the shop that were purchased for creating wedding invitation, often for printing on hankies. Here's an example one of my customers created (she blotted out some of the information, she didn't want all of us showing up):

Other examples are business cards, labels for the backs of quilts, care instructions for the fabulous clothing you like to create, advertising your business by printing on tote bags - pretty much anything you can think of.

I have a screen that I use to make the labels for the backs of my little stuffed owls:

I wish I could say that every label I print is perfect but the honest truth is that it isn't. Its not the fault of the screen, its totally operator error so that's why I'm saying that practice is really important to produce little prints like these.

And one of the great things about Thermofax screeens is that you don't have to fuss with reversing the text to make the screen. You just make it look how you want the print to be and the screen is made that way. No fussing around trying to imagine how things will look backwards.

So there you have it. That's what I know about printing text with Thermofax screens so I hope you'll give it a shot and as always, if you've got any questions, don't hesitate to shoot me off an email and ask! FibraArtysta@earthlink.net

19 September 2011

creative pause prompt #2

Creative Pause Prompt #2:

Take a photo of a special possession. Print it out and write a couple of paragraphs about why its important to you and any memories you have associated with it.

Creative Pause Prompt is a weekly blog post series that delivers a low key, no stress prompt to help you keep creativity in your schedule no matter how busy you are. You can read more about it here.

18 September 2011

where i stand sunday

The first signs of autumn huddle together alongside the cracked asphalt, almost as if they don't want to draw too much attention. Its the beginning of the color assault, it begins slowly with whispers of contrast and then explodes into a madness of energy. I'm watching with wide eager eyes, hungry for the show to begin.

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.

16 September 2011

got a stack?

Just a quick little note to point you on over to The Altered Page - a most excellent blog by Seth Apter featuring his altered art.

He's hosting an online collaboration photo essay called Paper Stacks. From his blog post:

"One week from today, on Wednesday September 21st, The Altered Page will host Paper Stacks, an online collaboration. Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to participate. All you need to do is post an image on 9/21 on your own blog of your stacks - be they papers, books, journals, or anything else of your liking. On the 21st I will post a list of all participating artists on my blog so that you can be sure to find all the links to the stacks. Feel free to let your own readers know about this project by spotlighting it on a post on or prior to reveal day. Please (and this is important) email me with a link when your post goes up so I know to add you to the posted list on my blog.

This is one time when the higher your stacks of stuff, the better. "

I'm in - there's plenty to choose from around the studio. Want to join in the fun? Just head on over to his blog and follow his directions and let's show off our stacks of art goodness! :)

15 September 2011

contemplating the moon

1. MOON, 2. , 3. Moon, 4. Sept 11, 2011

We've been looking at each other for years with nothing to say. Its a study, a questioning that doesn't really want an answer. I yawn into the night as it hangs resolutely, never tiring of its task, never questioning. I long for its patience and calm, a kind of existence that is slow and purposeful in the most basic of ways.

12 September 2011

creative pause prompt #1

In my last e-zine, I talked about a new series of blog posts I'm beginning starting today, Creative Pause Prompts.

(If you don't subscribe to my e-zine, you can do that here. We talk about different aspects of being an artist and there is always a giveaway each month - don't miss out!)

Here is the what Creative Pause Prompts are all about:

Living a creative life is about more then just the artwork you produce. Its about remaining connected to your creative spirit, to the thing that drives you to make things. Since most of us have to squeeze art time into the little bits of the day that aren't sucked up by our routines and schedules, its often easy to push our creative self aside.

I've been keeping a notebook for years now with Creative Pause Prompts. They are little tiny exercises that may not seem like much, may seem silly or not even something you'd label as creative, but they keep me in touch with my creative self.

I've decided to bring them to the blog. Every Monday I'll post a different prompt and if you need a little "me" time during the week to feed your muse but can't spare more then a nanosecond, this prompt will be waiting for you to help fill that void.

Keep a notebook, jot things down, don't stress if you can't get to it. These are truly a no pressure kind of thing, just little blips in the background that keep your creativity fed and happy.

Sound good? Good! :)

So without further ado, here is Creative Pause Prompt #1:

Write down five projects that you'd like to make if money and time (and even physics) were no object. Just daydream, be wild - go wild!

And with that we are off and running! Simple, right? If you'd like to share any of your thoughts, leave a comment but no problem too if you'd like to hoard it all for yourself. Have a wonderful creative pause! :)

11 September 2011

SAQA benefit auction begins on monday sept 12! :)

on the wire 2 by Lynn Krawczyk

Every year Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) puts on a big shin dig auction of small art quilts. They do a reverse auction which means the quilts begin at $750 and then the price drops down to $75 over the span of six days.

Of course, if you choose to wait for a cheaper price, the work you really want may not be there since its totally first come first serve.

I donated the piece you see at the top of the post, on the wire 2. Its mounted on canvas so its all set and ready to go and has tons of thermofax screen printing (yay!) and mud colors in it (yay again!).

My piece is in the first group to up for auction and it begins Monday September 12 at 2pm EST. I'm on page 1b. All the info on how to bid on the artwork can be found here.

There is a tremendous amount of fabulous work in this auction. All of the proceeds go to support SAQA's efforts to educate the world about art quilts and its a mighty fine cause if you ask me. Everything that they do is based on donation support so if you are inclined, please check out the auction and find yourself a piece of artwork you simply can't live without! :)

where i stand sunday

All I could see were those thin tiny cracks in the lower left corner. The small piece below them held in place by the sheer willpower of weight from the larger glass. I've not been able to settle today, a quiet anxiety sitting just beneath the surface. Like that crack, small but sharp and disruptive.

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.

07 September 2011

puddle daydreams

1. Puddle, 2. Puddle Explorations, 3. Puddle 2, 4. RAIN ...

The sky turned away from the sun today, painting everything in shades of grey and damp. Its like being caught in its daydream, a sleepy moment of calm with streaks of gentle steady drizzle. The puddles create a liquid maze, a tiny symphony of plip plops.

06 September 2011

did you get it?

Today my third e-zine got sent out. If you aren't signed up to receive it, you can do that here.

I have to admit, this one has me pretty excited. I'm starting a new blog post series next monday and I announced it there. Its pretty special to me and I've thought about letting it out in public for a while. I'm glad it will be free to run soon.

If you didn't get the e-zine, you can view it on the web here. For whatever reason, mailchimp decided to eat the photos in the main portion of the e-zine. Bah. Here is one of the photos that was in there:

Go check out the e-zine to find out what in the world that's all about. ;-)

I should also mention that you can get in the running to win this fantabulous book:

Its the giveaway for this zine. Here's how that works: I pose a question at the end of the main article of the zine and then also post it on my facebook fan page. All you have to do is visit the fan page and leave a comment on the status that shows the question and you are in the running to win. The winner gets announced in the next zine (published once a month).

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now! :)

05 September 2011

random (labor day) monday

I got up this morning with that "I'm normally at work by this time" feeling and realized my day was kind of my own. I stood in my studio and stared at the mess I created over the weekend (a good mess, way happy that the studio is on its way to being a train wreck) and didn't feel that overwhelming urge to throw myself into work.

So I did what any sensible artist would do - I went to the craft store and wandered around for an hour. Not good for my pocketbook but I came home armed with stuff that got me back in gear so after four hours in the studio, I'm good and covered in paint. Makes me happy. :)

Today has been a hodge podge so that's what I've got for the blog:

1) I saw an ad for this new paint not long ago and I've been curious about it:

I will admit to be less then excited about a lot of the less expensive craft paint on the market. If it takes me three coats to get good coverage, then its hardly saving me money over the more expensive brands and I gave up on it a while back.

I'm happy to report that the soy paint has awesome coverage. Some of the lighter colors need two coats but that's to be expected and I plan to wander back for more colors.


2) I also came home with red jingle bells and chalk. Trust me, it'll make sense eventually.


3) My e-zine is going out tomorrow. If you aren't signed up to receive it, you can do that here. I love to do giveaways and there is one in each zine, tomorrow's will give you the chance to win this:

Its a groovy book, don't miss out.


4) The weather here is having a tug of war with itself. To sum this up, all I can say is that I have a tube of 100SPF sunblock and a wool sweater in the car. Either could be necessary at any given moment.


5) New friends for the studio. Halloween is close. :)


6) I have (intentionally) taken my project list from two to eleven. Hopefully my fit of starting all these things will result in me working on them during the week. I continue on with my love of mud colors:

With the start of the school year, it feels like its time to work again. I have to admit that I like the routine that comes with this time of year, feels more settled somehow.

Hopefully it leads to many more messes in the studio. :)

04 September 2011

where i stand sunday

Its like a neighborhood joint. Warm, comfortable, a place I'm happy to return to. Its a steady calmness that is welcome at the beginning of the day, a way to enter into my schedule with a confident slowness.

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.