Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I was struck this weekend by the differences in Oregon's micro-climates.  Here in the Willamette Valley, it's been "spring" for a few weeks:
Daffodils:  evidence of spring
Yet, 2 hours away in Camp Sherman, nestled on the western side of the Cascades, it's still winter.  This past weekend brought snow, rain, snow, snow, rain, and snow.  In the late afternoon, I glimpsed movement in the yard and caught these trespassers napping:

One, two deer . . .

Three, four, five, six . . .

I enjoyed the rare company of my son the last weekend of his college spring break.  But when he left on Sunday, I stayed at the cabin, sick with a stomach flu.   I spent many hours watching the weather changes, listening to the rain drumming on the metal roof, then experiencing the total silence of a winter snowfall in the woods.
Later in the afternoon,  I closed the curtains and took several deep winter naps, catching up on lost hours of sleep.  In between, I watched a film about Andy Goldsworthy and his art . . . twig sculptures bound together with only thorns, rocks balanced one upon another, ice shards molded into graceful curves, autumn leaves trailing in a colorful display over river rocks.  And hearing him talk about his art and what it means to him, well, all I can say is that it filled me with inspiration.

A must-see!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Surface Design!

Discharging and replacing color with Decolourant Plus, using lime, red, and a bit of purple in the center.

I'm having so much fun NOT sewing!  What I mean is . . . well, I intend to sew very soon, but first I had to make some interesting fabric.  (Not enough in my stash???)

I was playing with a new product from the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR that both DISCHARGES and ADDS color  all at once!  It's called Decolourant Plus "Color Replacer for Fabric and Papers."  It's much safer than using bleach, doesn't degrade your fabric, and comes in a 4-pack.  My set included 3 bottles of discharge-and-color:  lime, red, and purple. 
Again, on black fabric

 The 4th bottle contained no color; it was just the discharging ingredient.   I added some turquoise paint to it and stamped these:

Plain DeColourant with turquoise paint added
On my own hand-dyed gray and turquoise fabric

The last piece was a combo - plain with a tiny bit of lime (looks kind of yellow)  in the upper left, and simply plain discharge in the upper right (using a self-carved stamp in both those areas):
A bit of overprinting
All the above were commercial stamps, except the hand-carved stamp shown above.

The next challenge is to cut the stamped images apart and arrange in a wall quilt.  Simmer, ideas, simmer!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Erika sparkles at "Art at Zena" reception

 A smiling Erika Close, next to one of her "Art at Zena"quilts
As one of the artists featured at the Art at Zena exhibit, Erika looked pretty in a wearable art jacket she designed and made herself.   Tonight's artists' reception was well attended, with art lovers and supporters drifting through the exhibit of mixed media pieces, handmade wooden tables (made from wood found at the Zena property), stained glass, metal, and of course, fiber art.

Erika's three 16" x 10" quilted pieces were hung side-by-side, next to several mixed-media pieces.  I overheard several comments on "the quilted art," all of them positive and admiring.  One woman asked me if I knew who made the three pieces, and when I pointed out Erika, the woman exclaimed "She made all three of those?"  Obviously, she was very impressed.

Fire in the Field by Erika Close

Farmhouse Figs by Erika Close

Ferns in the Forest by Erika Close

Erika's family was by her side during most of the evening, including husband Justin, their son and daughter, and her mother-in-law  Maya (also a Fiberexplorations member!). 

In her Artist's Statement for this exhibit, Erika spoke about her experience:
The "Art at Zena" project sponsored by Willamette University has been a wonderful journey through that creative process.  Just being on the property and around the people that have had such a wonderful vision of what it could be has been so inspiring.  Their ideas to conserve and bring back the farm and surrounding property to be a sustainable hands-on place of learning is going to be an inspiration for many generations to come.  The day I spent there with the other artists was a very thought provoking and insightful afternoon.

If you missed the artists' reception, the exhibit continues through April 30, 2011 at Salem's Bush Barn Art Center.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New exhibit includes one of our own!

The Fiberexplorations group is proud to announce that one of its members, Erika Close, is a participating artist in a new gallery exhibit, Art at Zena, at the Bush Barn Art Center in Salem, OR.  We've been privileged to see Erika's quilted triptych evolve over the past several months, and now the public has the same opportunity.

The exhibit opens this Fri., March 11, with an artists' reception from 5:30 -7:30pm., and is on display until April 30.  Mark your calendar!
As part of Willamette University’s mis­sion to uti­lize their Zena For­est prop­erty for eco­log­i­cal and edu­ca­tional pur­poses, the Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties invited a group of artists, writ­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, and film­mak­ers to con­vene at Zena for one day in July 2010 and then cre­ate indi­vid­ual and/or group works based upon their expe­ri­ences. These works will be exhib­ited in the Camas Gallery as part of the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s National Sus­tain­abil­ity Month.  --  Salem Art Association news release
Congratulations, Erika!

For more information, contact Salem Art Association:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More surface design play

Lately, I'm wondering if I'm still a quilter.  Since my Viking desperately needs a tune-up, I'm avoiding any freemotion quilting and spending most of my creative time in surface design.  And I'm loving it!

Here are some of the results from last week's play.  My favorite:

My golden batik.  Waxed designs were drawn with an electric tjanting.

Another evening was spent screenprinting.  I tried a deconstructed screenprinting technique from Susie Monday's Mixed-Media Textile Art CD from Cloth, Paper, Scissors/Interweave Press.  I drew some simple designs on my funky homemade screen using Caran d'Ache crayons, as shown below.  (Note: the rust-colored stain on the screen didn't print, thankfully!  The frame was made from recycled sheer curtain fabric in an old wooden picture frame, tightly wrapped and sealed with duct tape.)

Screen ready to print.

The prints were made using Golden's GAC 9000 textile medium, which you can see on the printed fabric, outlining the dimensions of the screen:

Experiments with deconstructed screenprinting.
Last of all, I used another clean screen and pulled these leaf prints from a hand-cut stencil attached to the back of the screenprinting frame.  The stencil material?  Half of a cut-apart clear poly page protector. (Quick, cheap, available!)

Screenprints of leaf design.
Now, what to do with the prints???  My sewing machine wants to know.