27 May 2012

where i stand sunday - the dyeing edition

Very bizarre words came out of my mouth this morning: "I hope its a really hot day."

If you know me, you would have been worried. (I rank hot weather on the enjoyable scale right about in line with scrubbing the bathroom floor with a tooth brush.) About my mental health as well as to the general wellness of the planet. For the record, I am not insane and the sky has not fallen. I've got a project going in which I decided I needed my own hand dyed fabric. And since the weather man is predicting 90 degree weather today, I figured I better get a move on.

I'll be honest, dyeing my own fabric is not my favorite thing in the world to do. In the past its been an issue with a poor working area and then all the bending and hunching that produced nothing but an incredibly cranky back.

I found a way to help minimize these things. Behold my new dyeing space:

This is my garage with new utility sink lurking in the corner. I was incredibly thrilled when the contractor automatically added a light fixture over top of it, I felt he really understood me.

Behold my beautiful little sink:

The tray that is in there is the shelf that goes on the bottom. I discovered by accident when I was giving it a washy that it has a slight press fit and can hold itself up along the edges as long as I don't push too hard on it. I was overjoyed - no bending! :)

You'll notice that I have a lot of jars of dye. I know how to mix colors (thanks to Carol Soderlund's dyeing boot camp) but I also have the firm belief that if you see a pre-mixed color you like, go for it. If you work with colors you like, you'll get fabric you like. Simple philosophy but works for me.

Doesn't the chartreuse look alien?

I did a bunch of parfait dyeing, which is what the white jar is for in the other picture. If you aren't familiar with that, you put a piece of fabric on the bottom, dump dye on it and repeat that for three layers. I crammed three fat quarters into each jar. I did have a little bit of dye left over from each layer so I decided to dye a frankenstein piece of fabric:

See the haloing around the edges? That's from the pre-mixed dye powders, there is more then one color in there so when you dump it on dry fabric like this, it separates out into some of its individual colors. I think its fairly nifty.

I wasn't sure if I would have the fortitude to get through the ten yards of fabric that were prepped. (Soda ash and I don't get along. The fabric I used was pre-soaked some time ago so I got to avoid dealing with that.)

But by the end of it, all of it got consumed. Here they are ready to swelter in the heat:

I love those blue trays, got those from Susie and they hold a yard of fabric very nicely. Since I like to work with dark colors, they always look like a mess of yuck. But have faith grasshopper, the results are usually very different.

So I'm going to let them cook today and probably overnight.

15 fat quarters and five full yards. Oy, the washout will be epic. But once they are done, I'll be set for a while.

25 May 2012

CREATE retreat - get a free thermofax screen! :)

Are you going to the CREATE Retreat in California from May 30-June 3? I sort of am - well, my screens and artwork are at least. :)

The fine folks over at Welsh Products, the providers of all things Thermofax related, will have a booth in the marketplace. We joined forces to bring you a little Thermofax treat - want one of these?

That's the tiny screen I sell in the shop called Chickadee. Its one of my favorites. I used it on this piece for my first article in Quilting Arts about Thermofax printing:

Lynn Krawczyk
10" square art quilt on 12" fabric wrapped canvas
as seen in Quilting Arts magazine

If you're going to the retreat, all you have to do is stop by their booth (sorry, don't know the number since they won't get it assigned until the arrive but check the listings to locate them) and tell them I sent you. You'll get a tiny chickadee for your very own - free! :)

Don't wait too long, though. I only sent thirty screens and when they are gone, they are gone.

Just a little gift from both of us to show you how awesome we think you are and how much we love Thermofax screen printing! Enjoy!

22 May 2012

interested in getting to know SAQA Michigan?

I mentioned a few posts back that I'm very excited about being a co-rep for the Michigan region of SAQA.

One of the things I'm excited about having the opportunity to do is bring members of the state together so we can all get to know each other better.

Lucky for me, I am friends with the Surface Design Association Michigan rep and we got the great idea to bring the two groups together for a picnic!

So if you are in Michigan and would like to socialize with your fellow SAQA members or have been wondering about either group, now's your chance to test drive both organizations to see if you'd like to join. I belong to both and love them dearly, I think you will too.

Here are the details if you are interested in coming:

Susie, the SDA rep, is graciously opening her beautiful home in historic Indian Village in Detroit for the event. Here are the details:

What: Meet and Greet SAQA / SDA picnic

Where: Susie's home
             1731 Seminole St.
             Detroit, MI 48124

When: Sunday June 24 beginning at 2pm

What to bring: Please bring a dish to pass, your favorite beverage and a piece of your artwork to show off your wonderful talents! :)

RSVP: To Lynn at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net

I have room in my car to carpool if a few people are interested in doing that. Just let me know in your RSVP, only three spots.

Please feel free to bring non-SAQA members to check out the groups, we're always looking to welcome new artists into the organization and this would be a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to what we do.

Very excited about this gathering and I do hope that you will attend!!! :)

20 May 2012

like a roadmap

I've been talking about the purging and cleaning activities. I've got piles everywhere, ready to be mailed out to some people and others going to a garage sale and some that well, just need to go to the the craft cemetery in the sky.

My first reaction was, "Holy cow, what an incredible amount of junk." But the more times I look through things and I sort them, I realize I'm really tracing back my history.

When I first began in fiber arts, I started with crazy quilting. I remember the ad I got in the mail advertising a brand new magazine that was about to launch called Quilting Arts. All about crazy quilts, I didn't hesitate to subscribe. I still have the premiere issue, its something I decided I wanted to keep because it feels so symbolic.

Then there is the bizarre pile of fusible web I accumulated when I discovered that I could "glue" fabric down with an iron. That was the beginning of art quilting.

I also found one of my first sketchbooks. There is an entry in it that I wrote after going to an IQF. It was kind of an epiphany, here's part of what it said:

I've finally realized I'm not a true art quilter. I walked through those exhibits and stood in awe of these massive, heavily stitched quilts. Those artists carved out faces and scenes in such realism and beauty. Even the abstract pieces had a quality that I know I'll never achieve.

And I'm excited to know this about myself. But what does that make me? Where do I fit in? I wonder if I'll ever answer that question...

I'd spend years trying to find an answer. Its still not fully answered and I know now that that's the way it should be.

So all this stuff. These things that, to someone who isn't an artist, look like an incredible accumulation of things, is so much more. Its all the necessary steps that got me from the first step to where I am now.

I'm happy to be passing them along, sending them on to new homes so that other people can find the excitement I felt when I discovered them for the first time.

What about you? How did you start in fiber arts and is it very different from where you are now?

19 May 2012

Fiber 577 Invitational Exhibit

Here's my thing about exhibiting my work: once I decide to start showing, I go after calls for entry like a crack monkey that just downed a case of red bull. I don't know what comes over me but I can't help myself. The only thing that slows me down is my ability to produce enough work to put it everywhere I want it to be.

This year has been no exception. It started with Ragged Layers and has kind of snowballed from there. But in a totally excellent way - I couldn't be happier. And being accepted into shows is always a thrill but when you receive an email inviting your work to visit, well...that's a bright spot in the day that never really seems to fade.

Such is the case with the Fiber 577 Invitational Exhibit:

The fine folks at the Perrysburg Area Arts Council are a fiber loving bunch. Every year they put on a wonderful fiber exhibit and they've decided that they are going to make it an invitational exhibit every other year. 2012 kicks off the first Invitational.

I'm incredibly happy to report that Remnants Collage 13 and Remnants Collage 20 are going to be part of the exhibit.

Remnants Collage 13
Lynn Krawczyk
18" x 18" on canvas

I seem to be completely unable to find a photo of Remnants Collage 20. iPhoto is messing with me. I know I took the photo because see the flyer up above? On the middle set of photos (that aren't two small photos stacked on top of each other), the one on the right is RC 20. (At least I know I did take a photo and I'm not nuts...)

After the exhibit at PAAC closes, the work will travel on to Anglewood Gallery in Grand Rapids, OH from June 10-July 8. (I swear, my art gets out far more then I do.)

I'm so honored to be part of the exhibit and if you are in the area and can stop by and see the show (dates and location are shown on the flyer up above), please do so. They put on a great exhibit and you won't be disappointed!  :)

15 May 2012

the shift

Remnants Collage 17
Lynn Krawczyk
24" x 30" on canvas

I've been talking with a friend about the role art has played in our lives. About how art is a mirror to what is going on in our lives, how it seems to leave us when times are difficult. (But not really, it just steps aside so we can get the business of living out of the way.)

I've not been an artist for a long time, about a dozen years. When I think back to where I started to what I do now, I step back and pause and wonder what will be sitting on my work table in another dozen years.

I can mark major events in my life by the way my art shifts. And each time it did, I had to get to know myself all over again.

It was not easy.

I would walk away from it, unable to face its demands for weeks, even months at a time. I think there is a misconception that to be a good artist, a great artist, you have to live a dream life of producing nothing but perfect art all the time. That your life is a greeting card where everything falls into place simply because you want it to.


Being an artist is damn hard work.

And if you are willing to accept that into your life, you can weather the shifts, pour more of yourself into your pieces, you'll come out the other side with work that speaks to you on a primal level.

That's what I want for my art. If nothing else, I want it to follow my life and reflect what is going on. I want to be connected to it in a way that when something major happens, I can't help but spill it onto the fabric.

Everything about making art is an ebb and flow. Sometimes it will seem as if it just pours out and other times, you'll stand in your studio with a headache building asking the air why you're bothering at all. The hard times produce the good times. There cannot be one without the other. When we struggle with what we want our art to be, that's when we get to know it the best, make it the most honest.

I'm in an upswing period right now. Every time I finish a collage, I sit back and feel a small wave of content exhaustion. I'm putting energy into it, feeding it. And that's how I know I'm getting it right.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that you have to wait for inspiration to make art. Just work. And who cares if it sucks. Doing the bad art means you've crossed off one more thing that you don't like, that you're one step closer to making the work that will sing.

I'll never know exactly how it all works. And I don't think I want to. The dance of changing and examining and being present keeps me tied to the process. Its where I want to be all the time and the constant longing for that has become a way of life. A way of life that I am happy to embrace.

11 May 2012

all the art gathered in one place

My website has been a bit sad lately.

I decided that I needed to take the time to get my new work up there and take down the old work. After all, much of what had been up there has been cut up and assimilated into the Remnant Collage series.

Add to it the fact that there are spiffy new pictures taken by the fabulous photographer I found and I couldn't put it off anymore. (Cleaning in my studio and cleaning on my website. Will the cleaning never end??)

Here's an example of one of the lovelies that has been added:

Remnants Collage 12
18" x 18" collage on canvas

There are many smaller pieces as well. If you are inclined, my portfolio is here. Have a gander. See if you can pick out the old work that used to be there. Kind of like a twisted game of Where's Waldo? ;-)

I'm taking another round of items to the photographer in a couple of weeks so I'll be able to replace some of the so-so photos that I've taken that are currently on the site and add in several new things. (Can you tell I'm happy to have found him?)

Feels nice to have it tidy.

09 May 2012

unknown names

Since I'm attacking my space in a most ruthless manner, I'm finding treasure. Things I totally forgot I had (kind of makes it feel like Christmas).

I found these:

Its a stack of worn out old blocks I picked up. I was attracted to the circle and text (shocker, I know) and when I came across them, I sat down on the floor and thumbed through them.

The top block is the only one that is embroidered. All the others have names written on them in pencil but they never met thread:

It makes me wonder about who wrote them, who the names belong to. Why is there a group in the middle and then others in the spokes? Are they a family? Are they friends? A church?

Why didn't she finish stitching? She could be like the rest of us and maybe just lost interest. Or was the Queen of UFOs of her time.

Or was it something else? What if she lost them and that's why she stopped? What if she died?

I became suddenly aware that my own work might ask these questions years down the road. I have no idea where it will end up or who will want it or if it will just end up on someone's studio floor being studied.

Its odd to know that pieces of ourselves are out there, ready to be examined years from now...

07 May 2012

May Featured Thermofax Screen of the Month

Its that time again - a new Featured Screen of the Month is up in the shop. :)

This month's beauty is from the fabulous Judy Coates Perez. I've long admired Judy's incredible drawings and when she agreed to be one of the artists, I actually did a little squeal.

And her design is just as incredible as I thought it would be:

She calls it Florabunda. Fun, right?

Judy did a great blog post showing different prints and I really fell in love with this one:

photo by Judy Coates Perez
used with permission

The layers over her more delicate imagery are really beautiful. I swooned a little bit. (Okay, a lot...)

Her design is only available for the month of May so if you want one, head on over to the shop and pick one up! Several have been snapped up already so don't miss out! :)

06 May 2012

where i stand sunday (the virtual edition)

I've been working hard all weekend (with the windows open so I can hear the birds serenade me while I write), many things going on. One of them was this:

So I'm going to use that up above there as my Where I Stand entry since I'm standing virtually over at that other blog. (Don't look at me that way, its not cheating at all...)

I've been a member of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) for a long time. And now I'm very happy to report that I'm a co-rep for the state of Michigan. Anne Hiemstra is the other co-rep for the mitten state.

As is my habit, I picked on the blog. I love blogs (sure you hadn't noticed) and I want to turn it into a kind of little virtual living room for the SAQA-MI members. Its feeling pretty spiffy now so I'd love it if you'd pop on over and take a look around.

SAQA, if you haven't heard of it, is an organization that is all about showing the love for art quilts. My work, while not an art quilt in the most direct way, still has a place there because its a derivative that grew from that place. Everyone is welcome, no matter where you are in your art journey. We're fiber artists and if that's you, you have a place there.

Lots of lovely artists, wonderful people and just a general sense of community at the national level. My hope is to bring that same feeling to the regional level. Anne and I are talking about how to do that.

If you are a SAQA Michigan member, please follow the blog. Its going to be more active and I'd like to know who you all are (Michigan is a big joint, there are members stashed everywhere).

And if you are a fiber artist, living in Michigan or not, and just want to see what the group is up to, by all means, join the gang. Its not a restrictive blog, its there for everyone to read. While it is focused on SAQA events and regional happenings, its still a good read.

I hope to see you over there! :)

05 May 2012

dooley's secret life

A couple of months ago, the fiber art group I belong to - Running with Scissors - had a day retreat. Sadly I couldn't go because a cold was plaguing me and I like to keep my cooties to myself. 

I was particularly bummed out because Kat was teaching a class about the series of quilts she was working on that she called the Secret Life quilts. The quilts depict people or animals acting out their heart's desire. I wanted to do one about Dooley love but since I missed the class and then got insanely busy, I knew in the back of my mind that I'd most likely never get around to it.

Then at one of our monthly meetings, RWS member Johanna brought several Secret Life quilts she had made for her daughters. They were of the family doggies. My eyes lit up and I asked her if she would be interested in doing one about Dooley love. 

She agreed and asked for a photo of my boy. I sent her this one:

And then she asked me what his Secret Life is. I had to think. He's a mischievous little guy. Can't ever really mind his own business. The more I thought about it, I realized that we call him the little supervisor and inspector since he is always nosing around checking things out. I told Johanna that we think he secretly solves crimes for other dogs since he's so good at checking things out.

This is the quilt she made:

I couldn't possibly love it more! I love the Sherlock Holmes feel of the quilt. Johanna hand stitches everything, which just makes her work even more special and dear.

I particularly love that there is nothing in the "LOST" box, he's just that good. :)

Here is a close up:

Super cute, don't you think?

I just had to share, I'm so in love with the piece. Outside of the photo and a couple of sentences, I did nothing to contribute to the design. Johanna dreamed it all up and she captured him perfectly. :)

01 May 2012

giveaway winner! (a day late and a dollar short)

Its not Sunday. Or Monday. So I'm late. But better late then never, right? :)

This happy flower square is going to go live with Joy Manoleros! Congrats Joy! Send me your addy at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net

Know that I am busy and half crazy but happy as hell. Blog might be a little quiet this week but its all good - back soon! :)