30 April 2013

more Heap taming

I'll be honest. I had no desire to work on The Heap this past weekend. I'm brewing a cold and just felt like laying down and staring at the TV. But I made a commitment that if I was able to work on The Heap for an hour each weekend, I would. And in all honesty, the cold wasn't bad enough to take me down for the count so I set about my task.

This is where it was the last time we left it.

I set my timer to an hour and this time tried something different. I grabbed small piles and worked on putting the fabric on the boards while standing at my print table:

HUGE difference. So much easier to get them on there with some semblance of being straight and I found that I was moving quicker. The last time I just sat on the floor in front of the mess and scowled at it, I think the sheer volume of The Heap was discouraging. Simply not having to look it in the eye made the process more enjoyable.

I got far more boards done in this one hour session then the last time:

And here is a shot of The Heap as it stands now:

Progress is slow but it's still progress. (Not sure why this picture came out so grainy. Apparently The Heap even upsets my camera.)

Yes, there are little organizer bins beneath it. My plan of attack is to empty the clear plastic boxes and unearth the bins so that something can be done about the mountain on the left. That's the collage scrap portion of The Heap. I'm going to do an honest sorting of it. When I can get to it, that is.

Someone sent me an email and asked me why in the world I would be willing to share photos of this mess. Well, for a couple of reasons. One is slightly selfish, it keeps me accountable. Sort of like being on a diet and going to a meeting to weigh in. If I blog about the state of The Heap, I'll keep chipping away at it.

The other reason is that I hope it might inspire someone to tackle the mess that they are facing as well. The state of the studio drains my mental energy, which could be used for far more productive and enjoyable tasks like, oh I don't know...making art! So I need to clear the physical clutter to get past the mental roadblocks it creates for me.

It just plain gets on my nerves.

So there we have it. The Heap takes another hit. Score: Lynn 2, Heap 1349. At least I'm heading in the upward direction.

28 April 2013

"The Creative Habit" read along - Chapters 1 & 2

If you would like to join the closed Facebook group dedicated to this read along to discuss the book in more detail, please send an email to Lynn at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net with your email address.

Here we are with our first installment of "The Creative Habit" read along. My posts here on the blog will touch on what is covered in the chapters read for a particular week and things I found interesting. They are not a substitute for reading the book but rather just a chat. This week we read Chapters 1 and 2. Both of which offer much to think about.

Chapter 1 - I Walk Into a White Room

This chapter is all about beginnings. The start of a project, the blank slate that offers so many possibilities yet so many challenges as well. 

As artists, it's this starting point that is the most difficult to push past. Twyla Tharp's white room refers to the dance studio that she enters to work. But we all have one - a blank canvas, a new page in a sketchbook, a print table with an unaltered piece of fabric laying across it, a sewing machine without a project. It's the place that we face down the start of a project every time, convincing ourselves that we want to move forward, to create.

I automatically think of my print table as my white room. A member of the Facebook group dedicated to this read along said that her white room was inside her head. We all have one - what's your's?

Tharp uses this chapter as in introduction to her philosophy about creativity. She says, "I will keep stressing the point about creativity being augmented by routine and habit. Get used to it. In these pages a philosophical tug of war will periodically rear it's head. It is the perennial debate, born in the Romantic era, between the beliefs that all creative acts are born of (a) some transcendent, inexplicable Dionyian act of inspiration, a kiss from God on your brow that allows you to give the world The Magic Flute, or (b) hard work.

If it isn't obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work. That's why this book is called The Creative Habit. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That's it in a nutshell."

And with that, we move on to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Rituals of Preparation

This chapter covers some pretty heavy topics: rituals, fears and distractions. All of which play a big role in a creative life.

Thap talks about rituals in a way that is really interesting. She says, "All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: When you enter into them, they impel you to get started." She talks about how the ritual itself does not have to be something grand and sweeping but rather, it can be something very common and small. A simple thing without pressure that signals it's time to start working.

For me, it's my morning coffee. Not the actual coffee itself, but the time it takes me to drink it. It's always an hour, no matter what my day is. I need those sixty minutes to sit by myself and let my mind go where it wants to, without agenda. It's the only portion of my day that is dedicated to daydreaming and I need it, it's how I begin.

Tharp also discusses fears and distractions. It was comforting somehow to know that many of the personal fears she listed were also ranked amongst my own concerns. There is something calming about knowing no matter how successful an artist is, they still have the same worries. 

One fear she mentioned in particular is always with me at the beginning of a project: "Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind." I don't think this is a bad one to have. The day I start thinking perfection will just roll off my printing tools is the day I've lost sight of my artist self. Nothing will ever be completely perfect. It's a level of discomfort I've come to accept as part of the process.

The last item she touches on are distractions. These are the things that keep us from focusing on what we are working on. She talks specifically about needing to take away distractions while working on a major project. This is a habit I need to work on.

When I've found myself immersed in big projects this past year, I was most effective when I worked only on them. I didn't need to go to as far as she does when she lists the things that she cuts out but I did need to pull back from the Shiny New Project Syndrome. You know what I mean - taking on new things because of the high that comes with starting something new. When I didn't do this, I struggled. I fell into a loop of feeling overwhelmed and not moving along as I felt I should be. 

Focus. It's your friend. 

Tharp says, "It's a simple equation: Subtracting your dependence on some of the things you take for granted increases your independence. It's liberating, forcing you to rely on your own ability rather then your customary crutches."

It's these two chapters that Tharp uses to set up habits for preparing to work. One might be tempted to think that she is neglecting the spiritual side of creativity, the mystery and magic that we feel when we are in our studios. But that's really not the case. What she is covering is a companion to that. A means of active participation with your muse, habits that keep you present in your art making.

It's all about awareness.

Next Sunday, we'll talk about Chapter 3 - Your Creative DNA. Happy reading! :)

22 April 2013

I've joined The Sketchbook Challenge! :)

Have you heard of The Sketchbook Challenge? If not, let me tell you about it!

It's a group of artists gathered together on a blog, every month a theme is posted, we work in our sketchbooks and show you what we made. Sue Bleiweiss organized the group in  2011 and it's been a hopping center of inspiration ever since.

I'm excited to now be counted amongst the artists that post to the blog. :)

There's a flickr group, prizes and all kinds of fun over there. Full details on how that all works can be found here.

April's theme is Spirals and I knew that joining this group would challenge me - I never do literal interpretations of themes. In fact, the work I produce from themed challenges really skirts the edges.

As a perfect example, here is the piece I made after working in my sketchbook for the Spiral theme:

For details on how in the world I ended up here, stop on by The Sketchbook Challenge blog! :)

21 April 2013

"The Creative Habit" read along - will you join me?

Edited to add: I've started a closed Facebook group for this read along. If you are on Facebook and would like to become a member, email me with your name at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net and I'll add you! :)

It used to be that when I finished big projects, I took time off. I'd turn off the lights in the studio and close the door and let it rest for a few weeks. Getting back started was determined when I felt like it. But as my career progresses, I've developed habits in the studio that revolve around a very disciplined schedule. I've come to love the solitude and the strictness of it.

But I still feel...unbalanced sometimes.

It's the high of a project coming into complete being, sent away and then facing down the blank print table again. I find myself coming back to the best advice I've ever encountered concerning creativity, The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.

I've read through this book so many times I've lost count. A couple times completely and other times in sections when I've felt the need to find the ground beneath my feet again. I've given copies as gifts and sometimes I've just carried my copy around for a sort of moral support.

The thing you need to know about Twyla Tharp is that she doesn't mess around. Her belief, and one which I agree with, is that if you show up, consistently, and do the work, you become a better artist. It's about discipline and knowing yourself and wanting to have a set purpose. This is a book about the kind of work that goes into being creative.

She's a dancer but that doesn't matter. The book is general enough that it doesn't matter your medium. While not all of it might apply - there are some parts I still tilt my head at - there is much to be learned from it.

It's become my rock.

So I'm inviting you to do a read along with me. I'm feeling the need to reconnect with it's entirety, I want to re-read the entire book. I'm not going to lecture you on what she says but what I'm proposing is that every Sunday we come here and talk about what we've read the previous week. If you want to get the book and join me, great. If not, my thoughts will still be here if you're interested in hearing them.

If you're joining me, grab the book and read Chapters 1 & 2 and stop on by next Sunday. Happy reading. :)

20 April 2013

my worst studio habit - feeding The Heap

I've got many goals in the studio this weekend. I had decided not to dive into additional cleaning but rather just work my tail off beating my to-do list into submission.

And then I did it. I started to indulge one of the worst studio habits I have. I need to prep some fabric for a new project and the thought of wading through The Heap of fabric at the one end of my studio kicked my automatic response into action: "I'll just go buy a couple of new pieces."

No. Stop. Worst. Habit. Ever.

My goal with my upcoming studio overhaul, otherwise known as The Great Studio Reno, is to not only make my space functional for how I make art now but to break the habits that have contributed to me getting here.

So I stopped and said, "How long would it take me to go to the store and buy new fabric?" I estimated an hour given that it's a Saturday and there are more fabric addicts lurking about plus the store that carries the fabric I like is a little bit of a drive for me. Okay, an hour. If I'm willing to spend an hour of studio work time driving to go buy fabric I already have, then I can spend an hour working toward taming The Heap and locating the fabric I need for this project.

I approached The Heap with a big coffee and a somewhat surly attitude. "I should be working, not cleaning!" I kept thinking. But the logic kept kicking in saying, "If you clean you'll get the fabric you need to work and will have not spent a dime."

Okay, fine.

Here's where The Heap was at when I plopped down in front of it with my timer set to one hour:

See those white boards? I bought those at the Houston 2012 IQF. They are Fabric Organizers. Trick is, they don't organize much if you don't put the fabric on them. Weird, right? I sat there for a full hour and put fabric on them. Turns out they work like a charm when you do that.

This is what I had when the timer started singing it's song:

I decided not to get too picky about how I sorted the fabric. If it's a yard to half a yard, it goes onto one of the long skinny boards all by itself. If it's less then a yard but far too large to go into the scrap bin, then it gets folded up and arranged with a friend on a skinny board. If it's an unholy amount of yardage, it gets a fat board all to it's lonesome.

I want this to become a habit, using these. I know myself, if it's too much work to keep track of what goes where, I won't keep it up for long. This I can manage plus it gives me a quick visual of how much fabric I have in a particular color so I know which board to grab.

Here is The Heap after all my efforts:

Doesn't look like much change does it? Yeah, that's what I think too. And I instantly started spiraling toward, "Well that was a waste of my time!" But was it? Really? Reality is that it wasn't. I have more fabric easily accessible and I found what I needed for my project. Which translates into I didn't spend money on something I already have.

Sounds like a win to me.

I still have a lot of work to do and I need to figure out what in the hell I'm going to do with all my strips and scraps. I use these in my collages, I'm not hoarding. And much of them are printed pieces. I'll give that one a think, boards are not an option because the sizes of the fabric are manic.

I also need to address my little stash of commercial prints. I go back and forth on that one. Because while 98% of the time I do print my own fabric, I like to mess around with little projects that use commercial fabrics too. Point and case, my Secret Keeper Owls (previously known as Wishing Owls). I need to resolve the reality of what I will actually use and then deal with it.

The goal of the re-org is not give away everything and then end up re-purchasing it at a later time. It's kind of a fine line.

I did put the boards on the bookshelf I currently have for storing fabric:

Hate this bookshelf for fabric storage. Hate the color, hate where it sits in my studio and hate that it does absolutely nothing for me in allowing me to see what I have. It's on the hit list of things to change.

I've got a long way toward making this an actual habit. But it's a start. And for that, I'm happy. :)

17 April 2013

view from the studio window

My studio is on a corner of the house. So I have windows on two sides, which I love because I get to watch the sun crawl across the walls.

This past weekend the light was having it's way with the tree that flanks the right side of the front window. It was odd and eery and breathtaking all at the same time.

I stood there and watched it and hoped that someday I could paint my fabric the same way.

15 April 2013

Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop!

If you've hung around the blog for any length of time, you'll know the battle that I fight with my studio. At times it's been civil, at others I have considered lighting it on fire. There are a lot of things my studio space has taught me - about my art, my habits, my mindset. So when the fabulous Cheryl Sleboda proposed a Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop, I decided it was time for me to begin The Project that I've been considering for a couple of years now.

There are a few things you should know about what I'm about to post here:

1. I don't apologize for the amount of stuff I own.

2. I don't apologize for the messes I generate.

3. Truly cleaning your studio is a process that can rarely be completed in one session.

4. I'm not going to show you a compeltely spotless picture perfect clean studio at the end of it.

What I will do is this - tell you to STOP FEELING GUILTY about how your studio looks. Own it. If it makes you twitch, clean it. If it doesn't and there aren't any cockroaches sharing the space,  enjoy it. I'm tired of the people that judge artists who have messy spaces and for the guilt that creeps in when an artist describes what a trainwreck their creative space has become after a project. It's all a process, it will always get cleaned and messed up and cleaned again and messed up again.

Guilt over it is wasted energy. Period.

I am also going to share my Scoop and Sort cleaning method. This has helped me reign the studio in on more then one occasion. It does not result in a Martha Stewart magazine spread studio but it's the best system I've developed for keep my space workable.

So without further ado, here was the state of my studio before I began cleaning:

I discovered the "Panorama" option on my iPhone camera - now you can see my entire space in a slightly distorted shape. The mess, however, is not distorted. That's how she looked.

How did it get this way? Well, several ways. Lots and lots of deadlines but I can't blame it all on that. I've come to some very honest realizations lately (more on that in a second) that will require more long term work to overcome. But I've got art to make and this really is about as messy as I can tolerate. Not a single clean work space to inhabit. Time for Operation Scoop and Sort.

Essentially what Scoop and Sort is is a quick method of putting things back where they belong. You've got to have spots for items to make this work but it doesn't need to be perfect. First what you do is you transfer the bulk of the mess to a single spot. For me, that's my print table:

 Doesn't look drastically different does it? Look a little closer. Stuff is off my desk (where my laptop and monitor is) and stuff is off the floor. I get visually overwhelmed when the mess is crawling over ever single surface so I need to lump it into one spot. The fabric heap in the back does not apply to this step in the process, it will be dealt with separately.

Here's a closer look at my print table after the Scooping has occurred:

Now I Sort. And the way I do that is with some small baskets lined up on my now clean ironing board and some trash bags:

Slowly and honestly go through the heap you've just created. Throw out what needs to be thrown out. You can never convince me that you need to keep every scrap of what you have in your studio. I treat my stash like a pet that I love dearly but let's be truthful, some it is just trash. Pitch it. Move on.

I decided to take this opportunity to try out something new. I changed the position of my print table to see if it would allow me to work easier on my pieces.

This picture sums up why I changed it:

In the very first picture, you can see that I had my table with the long side against the wall. I have short little arms (I'm only 5'1") and could not reach past where the paint on my table cover has paint on it. Plus I could only work from one side. Does this reduce walking space? Yes, it's a small studio and not everything can be perfect. But I think this will make my table more functional and hopefully make working on larger pieces easier.

Here's how the studio looked after sorting and the table was moved:

Clean print table. Sorting baskets full but not bulging. Some items have wandered back onto my desk during the Sorting but they will be dealt with before this cleaning session is done. The thing that is making me truly nuts in this picture is the giant heap of fabric in the back.

So I sat down and started sorting that. Noticed I said "started". That right there is something that will take hours and I don't want to overwhelm myself by thinking I need to get it all done at one time. So the items in the baskets that were used for Sorting will be emptied by putting away the items in their approriate homes and then I'll use the empty baskets to help sort that pile.

Here's how the space looked when I finished:

Is there more to do? Yup. Without a doubt. But I can work, I can make stuff and not want to swear at inanimate objects or step on a quilting pin again.

I limit myself to 2 hour cleaning sessions at one time. For a couple of reasons. One is that my attention span after that amount of time seriously wanes and my version of cleaning and sorting quickly turns into "Shove this here and I'll deal with it later." Which just leads to a bigger mess for me to deal with later.

Secondly, it keeps my studio time balanced - cleaning and then I can work on stuff.

I've come to some conclusions about my studio.  Want to hear them?

1. It's small. I need to deal with it. It's a decent size but I have to stop comparing it to artists that have separate spaces that are the size of a small house. I can either make it efficient or stop making art. The second one is obviously not an option so that leaves me with figuring out how to make it what it needs to be.

2. It needs to be overhauled. All the way down to painting the walls.

3. I can't feel bad about this. The space needs to evolve as my work does and that's why I think it will truly never be perfect. Somehow that makes me calmer about the whole process.

4. Owning a lot of storage containers does not automatically make me organized. It's actually contributing to the clutter.

5. The things that I don't use anymore need new homes.

6. I need to change my habits of throwing things on other surfaces or the floor when I'm working.

7. I need help to pull this off.

I've got a vision in mind for the space that I am determined to bring into being. But it will be a big undertaking and I think there are a lot of artists out there like me so I plan to take you all along for the ride. Hopefully the process will inspire or help you with some issues you are having as well.

And remember that this is a blog hop so here is a list of the other participants who also agreed to show you their spaces before and after cleaning. Do stop by and say hello to them! :)

Cheryl Sleboda

Amy Wright Weaver

Judi Hurwitt

Jim Parrillo

Lisa Chin

Barb Forrister

Frieda Anderson

Happy Spring Cleaning and Hopping! :)

14 April 2013

printing tip - my print table

Since the majority of my time in my studio is spent flinging paint at fabric in various ways, I have a permanent print table. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me babble at you about it. :)

When you do a lot of printing, you want a surface to do it on. It is inevitable that the paint or dye that you use when you're working will soak through the fabric and if the surface you are working on isn't properly prepped, bad things can happen. Complete opposite of Martha Stewart's "It's a Good Thing" mantra.

A print surface provides two major purposes: (1) it protects the table you are working on so it doesn't turn into a gooped up collection of paint marks and (2) it absorbs any stray fabric or paint so that it doesn't create back prints on the fabric you are working on.

When someone asks me how to make them, I always say to use three layers. The bottom layer is plastic, the middle layer is craft acrylic felt and the top layer is a heavy fabric like duck cloth or canvas. Magic formula, never fails.

The idea of the middle layer is that it adds some cushion for when you are printing. Which can be beneficial for a lot of different printing processes but after a couple of years of using it, I found I didn't really need it. (Discovered when I needed to change the layer out for a clean one and didn't have it.)

Many printers use a super thick middle layer like carpet padding so they can pin fabric down when they are working. Keeps it tight and secure, very wet printing processes need this. I've not found I need to pin fabric down so I skip it.

A print table doesn't need to be a spectacular piece of equipment. The one I put together is really simple. Want to see?

The actual table is this one from Joann Fabrics, it's the fabric cutting one. I got it with a 40% off coupon so it was a bargain and I tell ya, it's fairly indestructible. It has wheels so I can drag it about at will and since two sides are collapsible, it can adapt easily to when I need a bigger or smaller surface.

I sort of love it. :)

The layer on top is Multi-purpose Cloth from Roc Lon.

Judi Hurwitt sent me that piece that is across my table. It's the first time I've covered my print table in it and I think it's going to be a permanent addition. It reminds me a lot of curtain liner. Super absorbant and durable. (Doesn't like irons, though. Ask me how I know.)

I also like that it's wide enough to cover the entire table in a single piece. Seams in the top layer are a bad thing, they show up in your printing. Prior to the Multi-Purpose Cloth I used canvas from Joann's which also worked really well.

You'll notice there's no padding. My personal preference is that I don't need one. But it's really something you need to try both ways to know if you like it better one way or the other.

And the plastic I use is a trash bag that's been cut open and taped down to the table surface so it doesn't shift around. They last a surprisingly long time and are very easy to replace when the time comes.

So that's it. Nothing super fancy but incredibly functional. If you don't have space for a table like me, you can make portable table top version by cutting the print surface layers to the size of your work space. Pull it out when you need to work and roll it up to tuck away when you are done.

Print table bliss! :)

13 April 2013

winner of thread giveaway! :)

As promised, I picked a winner today for the thread giveaway in this post. Or rather, I should say that the Random Number Generator picked a winner:

Commenter #13 is Candy - congrats and hope you enjoy the threads! :)

09 April 2013

screen printing on Dura-Lar from Grafix

If I have one endless task in my art making, it's seeking out new ways to add layers to my work. Layered printing - that's where my paint obsessed little heart goes to every time I enter my studio.

Cloth Paper Scissors teamed up with Grafix and several artists (your's truly included) to see what we could do with the groovy items that Grafix produces. In case you aren't familiar with them, they produce a wide range of plastic products that are really useful in mixed media art. Do check out their website, it's got very intriguing things there.

I was particularly interested in their Dura-Lar, a semi opaque acetate:

In case you can't read the last line on the cover of the pad, it says "This unique drawing surface accepts pen, lead, ink, paint and colored pencil." Did you catch the magic word in that sentence? Paint. Paint!

I've actually been flirting with screen printing on plastic for some time now but haven't been able to find one that could handle it. It was either too flimsy or the paint slipped around on it and in all honesty, I'd sort of given up on it.

But Dura-lar is nothing like the stuff I had experimented on before - it's strong and since it's designed to accommodate all manner of printing goodness, I didn't waste any time. Out came the thermofax screens and paint!

And I printed....

And printed and printed and printed...

(That's the "Text Background" screen, one of my all time faves.)

It took the paint well. It's not nearly as fast drying as fabric (kind of a "duh" statement but worth noting) but once it gets there, it's stable.

I printed some fabric, attached it to a canvas and then cut out four squares from the screen printed Dura-lar:

I flipped the squares over so the printed side was against the fabric. I liked that it toned down the print (because the Dura-lar is semi opaque) and also it offered some extra protection to the paint.

Then I doodled some paint and added some buttons to build up the collage:

I kept adding details (always have trouble stopping myself) and I had so much fun working with it that I made it a couple of friends (you can see I added more to the one above in the photo below):

As a fabric collage artist, plastic is not the first item I would think to reach for but I have to say, it fits comfortably into my collages. The shapes that can easily be cut from it are endless and the transparency of it is intoxicating, I really love it.

I'm sure it will be making an appearance in more of my art in the future.

You can see better shots of these little collages in an upcoming issue of Cloth Paper Scissors along with work from my fellow co-experimenters. As soon as I know the issue it's in, I'll post it here. I can't wait to see how others used these great materials! :)

Edited to add: There have been several questions as to if you can stitch through the Dura-Lar. The answer is yes! I didn't stitch it onto the collages shown in this post but I did in another project that I'll be able to show soon. For the collages above, I glued it down using a very small amount of clear Aleene's Tacky glue. Here's the thing - when the plastic has been screen printed on or drawn on, you don't notice the glue. If the plastic is completely unaltered, you see the glue spots clearly and it doesn't look good (remember it's only semi-opaque so you can still see through it).

When I stitched through the Dura-Lar on my other project, I did it by hand and found it very easy. I didn't do anything extensive so I can't speak to stitching an entire sheet down but I can say I didn't find it difficult. Since my sewing machine and I have an uneasy relationship, I didn't even go there. But it would certainly be worth trying!

07 April 2013

hand stitching thread giveaway! :)

I was rooting around through the thread stash today looking for just the right color to use on a new project and I found these:

Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are pastel threads. That were in my stash. Want a closer look?

Years ago I owned a brick and mortar store that specialized in hand stitching. I'm not sure if that is where these came from or if I purchased them at a quilt festival. I'm fairly certain they are hand dyed threads from Artfabrik but I can't be sure, I don't save a single label on anything.

At any rate, they are lovely things, aren't they? But I can say with absolute certainty that they will continue to age in the stash because they aren't a palette I use more then once every five years. 

So I want one of you to have them! :) They look to be in two colorways but in in both size 5 and size 8 perle. There are four skeins total. I've no idea how many yards there are but there are lots, I've cut the skeins how I normally to to stop myself from threading up a five mile long piece of thread to stitch with.

Leave a comment on this post by the end of week and I'll pick a winner on Saturday April 13 to send these pretties to. Just tell me why you love hand stitching and you'll be entered in the drawing! Happy commenting and stitching!! :)

paint tip - keeping paint "fresh" while working

I think I take for granted all the little tips that I have learned over the years when dealing with paint. It's sort of like when someone tells me they don't drink coffee, it takes me a moment to realize that there are people out there who aren't doing it.

So I thought I'd share some of my simpler tricks that I use when I'm flinging paint in the studio.

Here's an easy one that seems obvious but I learned the hard way:

I often mix color or mediums into my paint and that means they are sitting in an open cup. Now I only mix as much as I think I will use in a single work session, I've yet to find jars for storing mixed concoctions that I like so I've developed that habit. Which isn't entirely a bad thing.

But when I get moving, that means the cup and brushes will sit out on my work table - often with a fan running overhead. It doesn't take long for that weird gross film to start to form on top. I consider it the enemy.

So I just plop a cardboard or plastic cup over top of cup and ends the printing tools to slow it down. Does it stop it entirely? Of course not. If I left it out overnight or even for a few hours, I'd still get that film. But it keeps it groovy for while I'm printing which makes me a happy paint girl. :)

05 April 2013

"e m b r a c e" fabric design available

e m b r a c e  fabric, designed by Lynn Krawczyk, copyright 2013

I'm one of those people that holds my wishes close to home. It's not until I can secure them that I even say the words, "I've always wanted to..."

Somehow I feel like I'm jinxing it if I give it voice before that. Which is nothing more then a superstition but it's a habit I've carried with me my whole life.

I'm learning that keeping my hopes close does nothing good for making them reality. And while I certainly don't expect them to *poof!* into being because I express them, I think there is something to putting them out into the universe. The energy begins, hopefully takes on a life of it's own and if nothing else, it's honored because it's seen the light of day.

I love making fabric - that's no secret - and I'd love to have it go out into the world so others can use it as well. But hand printed pieces are expensive - both for me and the buyer. I've flirted with offering fabric in my Spoonflower shop before but never really felt like I found my footing so I'm trying again. 

I'm starting a new series of fabrics with writing on them. The first one available is the one in this post  e m b r a c e

These will combine my love of making fabric and writing in a way that I hope speaks to others as well.  A single small step toward shedding light on a wish. :)

03 April 2013

silk? really?

Here are some words I never thought I would utter: I bought three yards of silk.

It's raw silk and I spent some time staring at 4" swatches from Dharma before deciding which one to get.

In all honesty, I've no idea what to do with it.

I bought it so I could experiment with eco dyeing, figured why set myself up for failure straight out of the gate using cotton when everything I've read says silk takes the color much better.

But there's something about this one I like. It's rough like cotton, I like it's odd ruggedness. It's still much more drapey then I'm used to but I'm wondering if I should consider it for other things.

What about you? What do you do with silk?