30 July 2012

publishing news - my take on sketchbooks

Its been a little while since I published an article about my own artwork so I'm incredibly happy to say I've got one in the most recent Quilting Arts, the August/September issue. I gave my take on keeping a sketchbook for their new regular feature, Off the Page.

I've got a little bit more of a utilitarian viewpoint when it comes to sketchbooks. I use them as a catch all for anything and everything - and I've banned color from it. Not a scrap, all black and white - keeps the focus on thought instead of worrying about creating art on the pages.

And since I'm an abstract artist, sketching isn't always something I can do for my pieces. But I showed how I put down some thoughts for this piece that was an homage to shadows, Shadow Imprint:

I sort of got on a roll and wrote a little tutorial on free form discharge printing (which is used on the piece above). It involves a Gelli Arts plate, Jacquard discharge paste and flinging with a palette knife.

I've enjoyed every single article I've ever written but this one is special to me. Its a real close look at how I view fiber art, felt a little funny at first to put it down on paper but in the end, I loved opening that door.

The last four sentences of it sum up how I feel about sketchbooks: "By all means, sketch ideas and process. But also add yourself to the pages. Learn to let go. Your artwork will follow suit."

I hope you'll love it as much as I loved writing it.  And as always, the issue is full of all kinds of wonderful fiber goodness. Its their embellishment issue and I've gotten lost in the beauty of every single item on the pages - be sure to pick one up! :)

28 July 2012

The Artisan Interview Series - TIMO handmade

I've become something of a junkie for asking artists questions because of my article series with Quilting Arts. Borders on down right nosy to some extent. I've had an idea kicking around in my brain for a little bit about individual artist interviews for the blog but it took a while for the obvious to present itself.

I collect all kinds of art. Mostly fiber (what can I say? I'm an addict) and I thought the blog series could focus on the fabulous artists that I have found treasures I have to have. They aren't advertisements (although I will not hesitate to point you toward their wares) but rather a getting-to-know-a-cool-artist series.

With all that being said, I'm very happy to bring the first of many blog interviews in what I'm calling "The Artisan Interview Series." First up is a doll artist from Israel named Timor. Her shop's name is Timo Handmade.

From her shop description:

TIMO is a small design line, all hand-made. sewn with an eye for detail and a touch for fabric.
Being hand-made, each and every item is one of a kind.

TIMO is part of the EcoDesign trend, standing up for the right consumption and the right manufacturing, alongside recycling, minimization of manufacturing waste and simplification of processes.

The objects' design is current and classic, but the methods of manufacture are traditional.
The materials are mostly recycled, or scraps of designers' fabrics. Scraps of fabric piled up in the studio are used later either as stuffing or as material for other products.

These are the little fellows that she made that now hang about on my writing desk, quietly supervising my work:

Timor is incredibly skilled at drawing with her sewing machine. All the black outlines (including the hair and faces) on the little darlings above? Machine stitched. Color this girl extremely impressed.

But looking past the incredible skill she shows in her construction, her little people have soul. They are all based on family members - she calls it her Family Line - and they are all incredibly unique.

I asked Timor a few questions about her work and she graciously spent some time answering them. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her as much as I did and if you are inclined, swing by her etsy shop for a spell. (Get comfortable too, you'll be there a while.)

Q: Your website says that you are part of the EcoTrend. Can you explain what that means?

A: EcoDesign, for me, is a matter of our responsibility toward ourselves and our environment - human and otherwise. I feel that in many respects being responsible towards yourself IS being responsible towards your environment and vice versa.

When it comes to my work, EcoDesign is a matter of proper consumption and proper manufacturing. That means recycling, minimization of waste and keeping the processes as simple as possible.

Another aspect is "social ecology." That means maintaining a decent personal and sensitive relationship with suppliers, employees and customers.

Q: How did you begin making dolls?

A: Dolls are simply the current manifestation of "me making stuff," which was there for as long as I can remember. Part of it probably has to do with how I grew up: my mother is a carpenter and a ceramics artist. She can also sew, of course. So I had a good role-model, and also grew up surrounded by inspiring materials - wood, paint, glue, clay, fabric.

The dolls specifically came about almost by accident. I was moving to a new house a few years ago, and when I opened one of the drawers I discovered an enormous textile collection I'd been gathering for years without really thinking about it. Old clothes I could no longer wear, embroidered pillow covers no one was using, and on and on. Naturally I couldn't let that go to waste! So I began making dolls.

 Q: Where do you create? What is your studio like?

A: I actually have two studios, both in my apartment. One is dedicated to drawing and has canvas, wood planks, paper, cloth and the likes. The other is dedicated to my dolls, and contains mainly textiles, threads, buttons, a sewing machine and a large collection of hand sewing needles.

I love materials, so the "creative process" means mainly surround myself with the proper materials for a certain creation or product.

 Q: What is your favorite type of doll to make and why?

A: Right now I'm especially fond of making my Family Dolls line.

They are all different characters that can be put together as families. They come in all skin tones and all ages and genders so people can assemble any family they please. I really like to see how they are purchased for every family model that you can possibly think of - two men and a baby, a single mom and twins, a family that has a grandmother, brother and sister, or neighbors and a dog. Sometimes people write me asking for very special families and its a delight to see what a variety of shapes and colors there are for love in the reality of a modern family.

Another item I make that I'm particularly fond if is the children's fabric book:

Its made solely of textile, and inspired by a fabric book my grandmother made. She immigrated to Israel from Germany, and her children were born in the village they all lived in. She had no books for them at the time, so she embroidered the Grimm Bother's tales for them on a length of sheet. The book I've made is also something I see as passing from generation to generation, leaving a vast space for the child's own imagination and sensory stimulation.

Q: Your work has a minimalist, clean style. What attracts you that?

A: Strangely enough, I never thought of my work as minimalist - but I certainly aspire to cleanness. Its something I seek also in books I read and music I listen to. The trial is to say much in the fewest words possible. This leaves plenty of interpretation for the observer.

 Q: The quirkiest item in your studio is...

A: My cat.

Q: The music you listen to while you make dolls is...

A: In recent years I've stopped listening to music while I work. I now listen mainly to lectures. The internet is simply a miracle in this regards. Since my hands are busy when I work, the online lectures are probably one of the best things for entertainment!

You can find Timor at her etsy shop, website and facebook.

Many thanks to Timor for sharing not only her work but the reasons behind it! Stay tuned for the next Artisan Interview next month.  

24 July 2012

studio snippet

I have an unabashed love for wool felt. Makes me want to snuggle in and take a nap. :)

22 July 2012

"color + stitch" class - let's fling paint together! :)

Color + Stitch class
Thursday September September 27, 2012
American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI

I don't get to teach nearly as much as I like to. So when the fine folks at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI asked me to teach a pre-show workshop, I was thrilled! :)

I'm a huge fan of the expo, go every year and just soak in all the fabric and thread and fibery goodness. Although it is primarily sewing event, they do offer a variety of classes. So I'm pleased to say that my new class, Color + Stitch is on the schedule for the 2012 show.

The cost of the class is $130 plus a class kit fee of $30. 

 The class kit fee includes:

* fabric squares for color exercises
* textile paint
* sponge brushes
* spoons
* plastic cups
* stencils, homemade monoprinting plate, thermofax screens

What you'll need to bring:

* paper towel
* spray bottle for water
* two black garbage bags
* 5-10 fat quarters in your favorite colors (bring solids since we'll be doing the printing)
* embroidery thread
* embroidery needles
* embellishments (beads, buttons, ribbon, etc)
* 13" x 17" batting or felt
* quilting ruler
* safety pins or straight for basting 

Here's what we're doing:

In Color + Stitch, students will learn to create hand printed fabric for use in a vibrant
and modern abstract 12”x16” art quilt. Surface design techniques such as stenciling,
monorprinting and Thermofax screen printing will be used as tools for learning color
theory. Hand stitching and simple embellishments will add additional texture and color
pops to the piece.

You can register for the class here.

Its going to be a grand time, I do hope you'll come out and fling paint with me! Email me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net if you have any questions.

17 July 2012

"Voices" fiber art exhibit opens this Friday July 20!

Remnants Collage 16
Lynn Krawczyk

I am incredibly thrilled to be part of a fiber art invitational called Voices. The exhibit is organized by Anne Hiemstra and it showcases nine fiber artists. The work each artist is exhibiting is a representation of their artistic voices.

I've got four large Remnant Collages on exhibit. The one above, RC 15, and two new ones (lacking photos at the moment but will get those up soon).

From the Voices website:

For the visual artist, “voice” is a metaphor for the distinct and recognizable manner in which we communicate with the viewer.  The vocal artist uses pitch, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, phrasing, and (usually) words to convey mood, emotion, and meaning; the visual artist uses line, color, shape, texture, value, and (sometimes) words to do the same.

Voice is more than style.

It includes both technique and content. It is rooted in our own personal space – our  experiences, understanding, and interpretations of life, and our choices of medium and techniques.  Finding one’s voice is not often easy, quick, or simple, but once found, it will tell truth to the viewer.

By presenting a body of work from each of several artists, “Voices” gives viewers the opportunity to “listen” to the work as a whole & explore how the artist’s voice informs each piece within the group.

The exhibit includes work from Jill Ault, Kathie Briggs, Barbara Bushey, Anne Hiemstra, Sue Holdaway Heys, Lynn Krawczyk, Carol Myers, Joan Potter Thomas and Desiree Vaughn.
The show is being held from July 20 - August 24 at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.
Gallery details:
Kantgias/De Salle Gallery
1516 South Cranbrook Road
Birmingham, Michigan   48009
(248) 644-0866
BBAC Hours: Mon-Thurs 9 AM-6 PM
Fri & Sat 9AM-5 PM

The opening reception for the exhibit is July 20th from 6pm-8pm. 
A website has been set up showing not only the work from the exhibit but also information about each artist. 
I hope you can join us for the opening reception and if you aren't able to make that, please stop by and see the show - it will be fantastic! :)

15 July 2012

studio snippet

I have a dilemma.

I'm busy as chocolatier trapped in a room full of women with PMS and the studio is humming with tons of activity...but I can't share it with you.

Not yet at least. Its a long string of secret projects that make for miserable blogging at the moment. And then I realized that while I can't show you everything in its entirety, I can show you microscopic details.

So I'm going to post some photo style posts called Studio Snippets. Their purpose is not to taunt you but to show you that I've got things just bursting from the studio and heading out into the world for all kinds of wonderful things. And I'll be shouting loudly when I finally can.

Here's the first one:

The destiny of these little collages are a good one, you'll have a chance to get your hands on them if they delight you (when you see them in their entirety, sawtooth hangers and labels probably aren't enough to go on). I'm itching to share the details of the project, and once I'm able to I'll be shouting from the mountain tops about it.

Oh and by the way, my studio looks like a bomb went off in it. Anyone discover those elusive studio cleaning fairies yet? :)

11 July 2012

collaboration with lisa call

One thing that I've learned is that when artists get together, we thrive. I've got many creative friends nearby but I've discovered that there are more and more ways to connect online. I decided to join one of them - Alyson Stanfield's Artist Conspiracy.

I like the idea of being able to "socialize" with other artists from my computer. Each month Alyson posts a different topic to act on (I like that too, specific goal) and it seemed to be kismet that this month's them is collaboration. It got my wheels spinning because working with other artists is something I adore doing, I kind of pounced on the idea.

After a few emails, I had a collaborator - Lisa Call. I've long admired her work and the discipline that she puts into her art work. I got the idea that I could print some fabric and she could work them into one of her pieces and she agreed.

Today I popped this in the mail to her:

Its three fat quarters of Kaufman Kona solids (love 'em, they are my own personal drug) that I printed using various methods. Here are some clearer views of the patterns:

The fourth piece that I printed had several layers and I ended up putting it toward another project. Lisa's style is very streamlined, I felt I was pushing the limits of that enough with the last piece.

When I print fabric for my own work, I have a very deliberate approach. I never just randomly put down imagery or color, its all with the final product in mind. Its different for me to print pieces for someone else to use but I really like the challenge of it. I spent some time on Lisa's art gallery looking at her color sense and her style. She has an incredible sense of color and a very clean approach to the compositions.

She works mainly in solids so I didn't want to overwhelm her with pieces that screamed chaos. I kept them simpler and in two of the three pieces, more linear to fit in with her trademark style of structures.

So they are whisking their way to her right now. As soon as I folded them up and tucked them into their box, I felt a little thrill. I really enjoy working with other artists and I hope this is the first of many collaborations to come.

How about you? Do you enjoy working on projects with fellow artists?

06 July 2012

blank slate

These are my companions in the studio this week. Some have already been altered, moving beneath my hands and my brushes, taking on new life. 

There is nothing more I love then a blank slate. The entire world rests easily in that clean space.

Edited to add: I've gotten several emails asking if I dyed this fabric. Nope. These are Kaufman Kona solids. They are the only commerical solids I use in my surface design (I use these and hand dyes most of the time), I can abuse the heck out of them and they stand up to everything - including discharge paste and soda ash and other chemicals. I'd marry it if I could. ;-)

04 July 2012

gaining clarity

Kate and I had a walk about in Ann Arbor last weekend. We've got an idea brewing about bringing you something very special in the coming months so we schemed while we took in the unique small urban town that is AA.

One stop on our list was the Ann Arbor Art Center. I've wanted to check it out for a while and I'm really happy we did - its about twenty different kinds of awesome.  Its difficult for me to be around that much great art without bringing something home and this was no exception. Behold my latest art acquisition:

I was smitten the moment I saw it and when I picked it up and realized it was a rattle, I was sold. It was made by Ohio artist Sandra Westley (no blog or website) and the thing that really made me fall in love with it was the writing stamped and carved into it:

A year ago I made a decision - to know my art. Not just to say I'm a textile or surface design or quilt artist. But to know what it was I was trying to create when I pushed and pulled fabric.

I began studying the Tao, and found the self examination it offered really forced me inward, making me look at who I was. To pick through the things that were static from other people's opinions and to really begin to form my own. I began to "distinguish sense from nonsense".

These are not easy things. And they never end. But I think the artist who made this rattle, who doesn't care about having an online presence of any kind in this decidedly online world, has a sharp focus that warrants pause. She makes art. That's enough. The rattle is simple but her energy is in it and I can see her hand moving across it with the dents in the clay and the uneven scratching of the lettering.

Perhaps that's enough, that quiet little place where nonsense has no business being.

03 July 2012

gelli plate winner! :)

Wow! Awesome commenting skills everyone! :) I'm so excited to have made so many new friends and I hate having to pick winners (I'd love to go all Oprah and give everyone a plate) but alas there is only one up for grabs.

I used used the Random Number Generator and it pulled the number that matches Beverly Baird's comment. Congrats Beverly - the Gelli Plate is all your's! :)

Send me your mailing address (my email is FibraArtysta@earthlink.net) and your plate will be heading your way! Congrats!

And thanks everyone for visiting and commenting. :)