Monday, September 19, 2011


This past weekend I visited Alley Art Studio, where Dayna Collins mixes her media and artistically expresses her motto:  Be Bold.  Dayna's studio was open to the public last Sat. and Sun. as part of the Visual Artist Studio Tour (VAST).  Her studio itself is an artistic wonder.  There are paintings on the walls, mixed media pieces, and collection after collection of curiosities such as vintage hose nozzles, doll heads, and one of my favorites, a vignette of used watercolor sets arranged on a wall.

Some of Dana's art was available for sale -- her Curious Elements.  I've admired them for awhile, and now own these two pieces:
Curious Elements by Dayna Collins

Now I need to find a special place to display them!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Starting the Architecture Challenge

Last Friday night's excitement has calmed down, gradually being pushed aside by a growing interest and flashes of inspiration for our next challenge.  I wanted to play with another hand-carved stamp again, so I looked through my photos of the Ladd & Bush Bank's architecture.  I decided to experiment with this image:
My selected architectural motif
Cropped: a smaller section to work with
 I opened the cropped image, rotated and resized it in PhotoShop Elements, then applied different filters.  The one I liked best was under Sketch, called Reticulation.
[Reticulation:  an arrangement resembling a net or network  (in photography, reticulation is the process of fracturing the film for creative effect).]
The reticulated image

 I printed out the reticulated image and darkened the lines with a fine-point marker (left, below) to make it easier to trace onto tracing paper (middle, below).  The traced image was placed face-down on a Speedy-cut block.  I re-drew the lines on the back of the tracing paper, which transferred the markings to the block.  With linocutting tools, I cut/carved the image into the block (right, below).
Three steps of the process
 A sponge brush was used to put a thin layer of fabric paint on the carved stamp, then the design was stamped onto fabric and heat-set with an iron after the paint dried.  Here are a couple of samples I stamped:
Image stamped onto fabric
The architectural motif I began with has been slightly morphed into a more abstract design.  Now I have to decide if I like it enough to use it, and if so, how to use it in a 12" x 18" design challenge.  This is the incubation period, a time to be patient and not to make a rushed, forced decision.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Surprise: an award!

Torrie and I went to the artists' reception for Salem Art Association's show, Bits & Pieces: Intuitive Quilts from the NW and Beyond this past Fri. night, since we both had quilts juried into this show.  It was a really fun time -- people were friendly, the energy was high.  Several times I overheard comments such as "finally, quilts are being accepted as fine art."
We were there for about an hour and a half when someone pointed out to me that the tag on my quilt said "Merit Award."    I don't know how I missed that, but it was true!  When the awards were announced, my name was the first one called.  It was a huge thrill, happily shared with several friends and family members.  (Thanks to those who came out that night!)  We had planned to go out for dinner afterward to celebrate my first juried show.  As it turned out,  there was even more to celebrate!
Merit Award:  my "Natural Symphony"quilt.
 There were three other Merit Awards presented.  Two went to Jean Wells for her two quilts below:
Merit Award:  "Coffee Country" by Jean Wells.

Merit Award: "Steppin Out" by Jean Wells

 In my excitement, I've forgotten the recipient of the 4th Merit Award.  (That, plus other details, I'll add later after I've returned from seeing the show again.)

The award for Best of Show went to Salem's Kay Worthington, whom I met for the first time that night.  (I'll add a photo of her award-winning quilt later . . . my camera's batteries died early in the show!)

LOVED this one!  (title/maker to be added)

Another entry by Kay Worthington.

The color RED was well-represented at this show.  (Title/maker to be added)
 The show will be up until Oct. 15 at Salem's Bush Barn Art Center.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who doesn't like cupcakes?

Cupcake fabric postcard from hand-carved stamp
I finished this fabric postcard, placed it in the fancy stand to show it off, and delivered it to my friend Nancy Smith today.  It's my donation to the big raffle basket (with a dessert theme) that she's coordinating as a member of the Willamette Valley Auxiliary (an extension of the Assistance League of Salem).  This fundraiser, as part of Operation Backpack, helps provide backpacks filled with school supplies for local K-12 students  who might otherwise start their school year without these basics.

My hand-carved stamp and "practice" postcard

 I realized how much I enjoy carving my own stamps and using them to create one-of-a-kind fabric designs.  I stamped the cupcake image on 5-6 different cotton fabrics that I'd dyed, painted, screenprinted, etc. beforehand.  On both the pink and blue postcards above, I freemotion-quilted with a Mettler 50/3 brown cotton thread (on top and in bobbin), using a Topstitch 90/14 needle.  No problems; just an easy meditative little quilting experience.

I have a tendency to overdo it when using most types of cutting/trimming tools. (Loppers on the hedge:  clearcutting.  Trimmers on the hydrangeas:  removed  about 88% of the decades-old plantings, etc.)  But so far, I've maintained control with my carving tools and not chopped away too much of the carving block.  (I used Speedball carving tools and carving blocks.)  I like the three stamps I've made this year:
My 3 hand-carved stamps

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's almost showtime!

Torrie's quilt in ad
Bright and early Sunday morning, Torrie sent me the following link to an article  in Salem's Statesman-Journal about the upcoming Bits & Pieces show.  Near the end, it mentions both of us!

In addition to the Gee's Bend quilts and the quilts juried into the show, there's also an invitational part to the show that we weren't even aware of!  Once again, Jean Wells' name enters the picture -- she was one of the quilt artists invited to be a part of this show.

Torrie, who, unlike me, is always early for everything, reaped the rewards for her promptness.  A close-up shot of  part of her quilt was used in the full-color ad for the Bits & Pieces show (also in Sunday's paper).  Incidently, this detail shot shows some of the surface-designed fabrics from our Fabric Swatch Exchange!)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wax on . . .

My "new" tjap!

I just love Dharma Trading!  I was on an email "alert" list to be contacted whenever they got in a shipment of copper tjaps (pronounced chops from Indonesia.  Here's what the Dharma website says about them:
These approximately 50 year old collectible tools called Tjaps (or Chops), have been made and used on the island of Java for over a century. They are handmade of copper strips, carefully cut, shaped and soldered into fabulous shapes and patterns. They are used by Batik artists in Java by dipping them into hot wax, shaking off the excess, and then stamping the wax onto the cloth.
Another view (background is a batik fabric made earlier this year)
 I heated up some soy wax this evening and tried out the tjap.  Hmmm . . .LOTS of excess wax and very little design.  I need to work on my technique! 
Stay tuned for photos of this experiment.