Thursday, May 30, 2019

Art Elements Forest Theme Reveal

Wow! I blinked and May has disappeared. This month's theme over at Art Elements was chosen by Sue. I absolutely LOVE this theme. I have so many reference photos from my walks in the woods. I had grandiose ideas for this theme but only managed a few. If you follow the Art Elements blog you can see what consumed most of my time for the past month and a half on yesterday's post.

I did a #30daychallenge last month so I figured that this month I would have tons of extra time to create forest themed projects as well as finish some watercolor workshops I enrolled in. Well....guess what? I made it through one workshop, halfway through 2 more workshops and have very little to show for it. I also made the decision to halt my goddess/spirit doll this month. I had planned at the beginning of the year that would be an ongoing project with one doll per month. I even sketched a greenwoman doll for this month to coincide with the forest theme. But there are only so many hours in a day and I realized I am putting too much pressure on myself right now.  So I am trying to relax and only work on things that really inspire me and get my juices flowing. I plan to not force myself to create if I'm not 'feeling it'. New me-we'll see how far I get with this new process.

Okay, with that said, here are my forest projects.
Looks like I should name them day & night. 
I started the lighter one first. Using a small piece of driftwood as a fallen tree with moss covering it. I then created the stumpwork tree fungi (actually the proper terminology is 'Stereum Ostrea' fungi) that you see on the other darker piece to have growing on the tree. Well that didn't work like I planned. Mainly because I didn't want to glue them and also because I didn't match up my colors very well. I used a reference photo for the fungi and went with those colors rather than something to blend with my lighter piece. So naturally I had to create something just for the fungi. Plus the fungi looked so much better on a darker background.
The first piece above got a different kind of fungi in the form of button mushrooms scattered about an another stumpwork piece at the top-a single leaf with the stitched leaves below. This one was created on eco-printed cotton. The print was very faint in areas, but the leaves were fairly distinct. I just outlined the leaves and did minimal stitching. The stumpwork leaf was created on a piece of felt and cut out to stand out from the flat surface.
Side angle view. The dark tan mushrooms were stitching directly on the fabric using a couple of circles of felt under the stitching to keep the stitches elevated. The small white mushrooms were done on felt and then cut out to add to the flat fabric. The curly, feathery lichen is painted cheesecloth. Painting makes it stiffer than dyeing so it stands up.
A little better view of the stumpwork leaf. And the millions of french knots!
This is eco-printed silk and it's so dark that you can barely see my decaying log that the tree fungi are attached to.
The fungi were intended to e the stars of this piece so I didn't do a lot of stitching on the background fabric. Plus I love the colors of the eco-printed fabric. The silk was pre-dyed with a teal blue dye then printed using rust soaked leaves so the dark gray/black areas are from the rust water.
Hopefully you can see my little needle felted log under the crest fungi. I rolled some wool in a piece of felt, then needle felted it all together to form the log. I stitched the fungi on at intervals tacking it down with tiny stitches to make it curve around the log.
And these were going to be mushrooms only. Never got there but I plan to. I want to really do an up close look at some mushrooms and highlight just one or two on each of these hoops.
So that's it for my 'Found on the Forest Floor' series for now. I enjoyed these and it really makes me want to focus in on smaller items to embroider. Maybe get a lot more detailed with my stitching.

I am really excited to see what everyone has created with this theme. It's such a broad subject that it could encompass so many things. So grab a beverage and read along.
Here's all the participants;

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April Art Elements' Theme Reveal-Repurposing

Another month has flown by which means it's time for the Art Elements' repurposing theme challenge reveal. Lesley chose this theme and it's quite appropriate for April when we celebrate Earth Day. We have become such a 'throw-away' society. I am just as guilty as most. While working on this theme I thought a lot about the effects it's having on our environment and I hope to be a better steward going forward.

My parent's and in-laws both lived through the 'Great Depression' and they were so reluctant to throw anything away-repurposing and reusing as much as possible. My paternal grandmother never threw out old clothes. Instead she mended the garments until they were too threadbare to be repaired and then she cut them up and made quilts for the beds. She also used them for cleaning rags.

With that said...I went through our closets and found some clothes that didn't make their way into the last clothes donation to Goodwill. I also had been saving my husband's neckties for quite a few years now. The neckties I have used for these projects have been in bags in my studio for close to 20 years. I knew that one day I would figure out what to do with them. This challenge seemed like the perfect opportunity.
First necktie on the cutting board. This one is rayon. I love the pattern and colors!

First quick project-I used the pointed end of a necktie to create a small little business card holder. I am forever forgetting to carry business cards with me. Now I can tuck this little pouch in my purse and take it wherever I go.
Business card holder
Business cards fit snuggly inside. The button on the flap is even a vintage button.

Next is also a single necktie. I made this one into an eyeglass case for my sunglasses.

Then I decided to use 3 neck ties to create a small purse. I chose 3 with similar colors and interesting patterns.

Then I decided that I just had to make a pillow out of 4 neckties.
Love these colors and patterns! Yes, my husband wore some bright & funky ties in the late 80's & early 90's

16x16 pillow.
Then I stared at the pile of clothes I had pulled from my closet and decided it was time to try something other than neck ties. So I pulled a denim skirt from my stash and decided to make a tote bag. The denim skirt was never worn. One of those 'what was I thinking purchases'. And when it came time to put handles on the tote-I turned to what else-a couple of similar red neckties! Hopefully they hold up. I sewed them pretty securely. Silk is a pretty strong fabric so maybe they will be ok.
Finished denim skirt tote. Sorry I failed to take a 'before' photo.

As soon as I finished stitching this tote bag I realized it was the perfect place to stitch my patches from Tiny Cup. I found her on Instagram. She does skeleton embroidery and her pieces are amazing. She periodically offers patches done with her designs. I bought these over a year ago and was waiting for just the perfect place to put them.

Top photo-My Tiny Cup patches on the pockets. I love having the outside pockets on the tote bag. Bottom photo-inside the tote I have smaller bags filled with some sketchbooks, pens, pencils and  watercolor pens.
One last project I created was a bracelet using a piece of the same necktie I used for the business card holder.
Necktie bracelet

I am planning to do a mini tutorial on a few of these neck tie projects over at the Art Elements blog where I'll give a few tips and suggestions. So keep watching. It's a great way to repurpose neck ties especially if you happen to have a large stash of them.

I am really looking forward to what our team members and guests have come up with for this theme.

Here's the list of all participants:

Sunday, March 31, 2019

AE March Theme Reveal-Luna Moth

The March theme over at Art Elements was chosen by teammate Jen. She chose the beautiful, luminous Luna Moth. I have never seen one alive-only found dead ones-but I do love them. I didn’t know that their adult life span is so short only 7-10 days. Maybe that’s why they’re so elusive.

I knew I wanted to do an embroidery piece for this month’s theme. I wanted to keep a series going that I started with the fairy theme back in September which is an embroidery piece with the moon in the background. I also did an embroidery piece for January’s Moon theme. So here is my Luna Moth Moon piece.
Embroidered Luna Moth- 12x12 on stretched canvas

I have never tried using watercolor paint on fabric, only textile paint or acrylic with textile medium. For this piece I decided to try Daniel Smith watercolor paint in Buff Titanium. It has such a luminous finish on paper and when painted on the black fabric it created a pretty cool moon surface. I sketched a Luna Moth on paper the size I wanted my embroidery to be & used it as a template to trace around the design onto the black fabric using a white gel pen. Then I gathered threads and started to work. Once the embroidery was done, I backed it with several layers of quilt batting and stapled it over a 12x12 canvas.
close-up of embroidered Luna Moth

My second & smallest piece probably took the longest to create. It started out as a two dimensional beaded Luna moth but then I changed my mind and decided she was going to be a 3-d small art doll. I sewed the backing on as you normally would if making a bead embroidered pendant but left one end open so that I could stuff it with a little polyfil, then finished beading it closed. Now this next step is where I almost lost my mind...I wanted to make her wings from a wire frame and then bead the wire frame. Ha! I got about 50 beads wired on and had barely covered one tip of a wing when I decided nope not gonna go this way. Changed course and decided to created some shiny cellophane wings over the wire frame. First of all I used the original frame which had wire that was way too large in gauge, secondly I used a heat tool to try and melt the cellophane onto the wings and used it way too close in areas. The wings were okay but just did not make the cut. So back to the drawing board. Final attempt was lighter, airier and much better for this little Luna baby. I used bits of fabric snips, yarn and snippets of cellophane sandwiched between tulle. I placed all this on water soluble stabilizer and used a satin stitch to get all the bits stitched together. I dissolved the stabilizer then let it dry. I didn’t use wire to help the wings hold their shape instead I used a small amount of fabric stiffener. Once dry I glued her wings on & gave her some beaded antennae.
Ceramic Face Cabochon is by teammate Jenny Davies-Reazor

I painted a wooden base and glued flat glass marbles to the bottom to compensate for the screw head (since I didn't use a router to allow the screw to be flush with the wooden base)which I used to attach the wooden bead which holds up the baby Luna. I inserted a heavy weight piece of wire into the doll at the bottom of her body to glue into the wooden bead.
Baby Beaded Luna Moth
Back side of Baby Luna-You can really see how transparent her wings are
Next up- March goddess/art doll. She is ‘Queen Mother of the Luna Moths’. I used/repurposed one of my old Barbie dolls to create this creature. I used apoxie sculpt clay and a face mold to cover the original Barbie face & inserted copper wire into the clay before it set up. She was painted with several layers of paint-first a brass color, then lime green with a smudging of verdigris ink over her face. I  used a gold paint pen to color her lips and highlight the eyes. She has dyed & distressed cheesecloth draped and glued around her body, arms & head. I created her wings in the same fashion I created the baby Luna wings. But I added extra fabric  and I used wire to help stabilize and bend these huge wings. I also used the fabric stiffener just to add extra strength to the wings. She is perched on a chunk of wood from our woodpile out back. She is queen of the silk moths, even though she isn’t wearing any silk!
Queen Mother of the Luna Moths
Using/repurposing an old Barbie was quite fun and since the April theme is repurposed/recycled items I may have to do that again!
Close up of the Queen of Silk Moths-she definitely has a bug-like face;-)
For comparison-Baby & Queen side by side

Looking forward to seeing all the participants Luna Moth creations. I have seen glimpses on social media but really looking forward to the full reveal. Thanks to Jen for such a fun theme.

Here’s the list of team members participating this month and our guest:

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Art Elements Birds Of Prey Theme Reveal

This month's theme over at Art Elements is Birds of Prey. I was the lucky host for this theme and chose it particulalry because I love owls, hawks and eagles. But specifically owls!! I know many people who share my obsession so I figured it was time for this sort of theme challenge.
I had sooooo many ideas for projects that I wanted to create this month but here it is the end of the month & I finished a few but not nearly the list I had in mind.
The first thing I started was a VERY lengthy freeform peyote beaded piece. That consumed quite a bit of time. I generally only bead at night for 3-4 hours while watching tv. So this piece was created mainly at night for about 9 consecutive nights plus I spent a Saturday & Sunday afternoon beading as well. All in all it took about 45-50 hours of beading. I probably could've done it quicker if I had known what I was doing-haha. I had never tackled anything quite like this. So here is Athena's Owl.
I glued the porcelain cabochon (by Laura Mears Designs) onto stiff stuff & beaded around it. I cut the stiff stuff as though I was going to make a pendant out of it then started some free form peyote around the beaded owl. Once I had enough beading I wrapped it around a stick and kept doing freeform peyote.
The stick was nice an smooth with a 'Y'  shape. There was one knot on the branch that I left open for the knot to poke through. There is a slight ruffle around the wing area of the owl. It's been awhile since I attempted a ruffled peyote piece. I need to work on that a little more, but this was enough of a ruffle to mimic the wings.

Athena's Owl perched in a tree

Next piece was also a Laura Mears Design cabochon. I paired it with a teardrop labradorite and a moon snail shell almost the same color as the owl. Originally I was going to make a necklace but had a change of plans.
Various views of the beaded pendant placed on wet felted fabric and embellished
 I decided that this piece needed to be a mixed media wall 'jewelry'. I created a wet felted piece approximatelly 12' square and placed it on tan wool (thanks to teammate Jenny's upcycled skirt). I did some free motion machine quilting then stitched the beaded owl pendant in the center. Added some hand embroidery and beading, then stapled the tan fabric backing to a stretched canvas to hang on the wall.
Full view. The color is distorted in this full view. The above collage is much more accurate.
If you follow me or our monthly challenges you know that I am creating a goddess or spirit doll eacah month. So this month's doll is Athena-goddess of wisdom & war with her faithful owl riding on her shoulder.
Various stages of the doll development

I used a pattern that I had never used before from Patti Medaris Culea's book, 'Creative Cloth Doll Making'. I have had this book for years and had never made one from her patterns, so this was another new thing for me. Especially since I hate following patterns. I prefer to wing it. About halfway through the process I did ditch several of her ideas in favor of 'doing my own thing'.  I made mistakes galore but learned quite a bit in the process.
Making the needle-felted owl was another 'new' thing for me this time. I have never attempted anything 3-d so this little guy was one of those things where I watched a YouTube video and then did my own thing. I 'winged it' no pun intended-haha!
Red headed Athena with her owl on her shoulder. Complete with warrior shield and spear

Athena in her full glory sitting on a pedestal. I am really jealous of her gray velvet cape. That turned out better than I expected. Maybe I'll have to make one for myself.
Last but not least. I tend to procastinate when tackling something that is new and daunting-like the art doll and the needle-felted owl. So while pondering how I was going to go about making her I ended up making a quickl little journal cover using the needle-felted owl I showed you all in the theme announcement post. It was gifted to me by team mate Caroline.
I actually made it to fit a small sketchbook/journal. The leather strips slip over the outside covers. Took about 15 minutes!
I thoroughly enjoyed this month's theme, but then again I love every month's themes and the whole creative process.
I do hope you will all take some time to visit everyone's blog and see all the creations from this month's theme.
Here's the list of participating guests and team members.


Team Members: 

Cathy You're here!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Art Elements January Moon Challenge Reveal

It's that time of the month again-Art Elements theme reveal. It was Lindsay's turn to choose the theme and she chose the moon. I was so thrilled! I love depicting the moon in creative projects and have used it as inspiration for many past fiber art pieces.
This time around I had soooo many ideas I was torn as to which ones to try and accomplish. Plus I also created a rather long list at the beginning of the year of various projects I wanted to make during the course of 2019.
This is a photo I took about 8 years ago when I lived in Illinois. The moon was FABULOUS. Plus I played around with it in photoshop and added some texture layers .
Some of my moon pieces were accomplished, some are in the process and I have realized that my year-long list is just a tad too grandiose and overhwhelming. So I reworked my to-do list and worked on my moon pieces while trying to overhaul my studio.
First moon piece was something I had been thinking about for a while. I do a lot of rust dyeing and eco-printing on fabric so I can have a supply for random projects. Rust dyed fabric was the perfect thing for a moon. So I rummaged through my bin of rusty linen and found the perfect piece.
Rust dyed fabric cut in circle and fused to solid black cotton.

Then I started stitching trees onto the fabric to be in the foreground of the moon.

I love how this turned out! I stitched some dark gray over the black threads along the branches so the moon appears to glow between branches. I stitched a random 'ground' below the trees and added some french knots for start. It is mounted on a 12x12 canvas and framed.
The above moon cabochon is from fellow AE team member Caroline. Perfect for this theme. I had almost forgotten that I had it. I beaded around it and it hangs off a brass metal tube.
    I added the same seed beads I used in the bezel to create the necklace along with some coin or moon shaped freshwater pearls.
The next piece is a cabochon I got from Jenny, another fellow team member. I actually beaded the cabochon sometime last year and never created a necklace for the cab, so I decided I just had to make a necklace to finish off this lovely lunar hare.
Beaded lunar hare cabochon hanging from silver metal tube.
Full necklace created with amazonite beads and silk cord from another team member's Etsy shop-MarshaNealStudio
My final (completed) moon piece is part of my 2019 year-long series that I have planned for the year. I am creating a 'spirit doll' each month. I am going to attempt to blend our monthly theme with each doll. I want them to have some beading, maybe some stitching and lots of character and possibly relate the spirit doll to a particular mythological goddess.
In honor of this month's full/wolf moon my spirit doll is loosely based on Artemis, daughter of Zeus & Leto. Artemis was a shapeshifter who morphs into a wolf. Artemis is also a moon goddess. I also thought of calling her Lupa which means she-wolf in latin. In Roman mythology Lupa was a she-wolf who nursed Romulus & Remus. There is a bronze statue in the Piazza dei Conservatori in Capitoline Hill in Rome (I failed to photograph that statue while I was there last October). The she-wolf suckling the twins has been a symbol of Rome since ancient times.
The fabric on the left is a piece of black fabric that I found in my stash of discharged fabrics. This particular piece was created by laying an old crocheted doily over black fabric and spraying with Tilex (yep the cleaner with bleach) let is sit a few minutes and then pull the doily off and rinse the fabric well in vinegar water then plain water. The wolf cabochon is from Laura Mears Designs and the carved wood crescent moon is from cabcabana on Etsy.
I beaded around the wolf and the moon cabochon separately. Then I stitched the beaded wolf onto the fabric that I cut out in my goddess shape.
Here is my January 'spirit doll', Artemis-shapeshifter and moon goddess.
She has extra long wool locks for hair and a white fur hooded wrap. She has captured the moon above her head.

Full view of the wolf moon goddess

I left a portion of her body unstitched on the bottom. I think I am going to insert a wooden pole/stick and mount it on a wooden base. Unless I can find a decent shadow box to house her in.
close-up of her body using the discharged fabric

 The white fur wrap is a rabbit pelt that I bought at the Cherokee Indian Reservation at the western NC/eastern TN border about 24-25 years ago. I have been waiting for just the right project ;-)
I didn't use the whole pelt so this white fur may show up on another spirit doll later in the year.
Her backside. Long wool locks hanging out from beneath her fur wrap.

 I had so much fun with these projects this month. Thank you to Lindsay for choosing such a perfect theme to start the new year! I am anxiously awaiting the reveal so I can see everyone's creations.
Here is the list of guests and AE member participants-

Art Elements Crew:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Art Elements WhiteTheme Reveal

It's that time again...Art Elements theme reveal. December's theme challenge was hosted by team member Claire and she chose white. I am a huge fan of a monochromatic palette and have done numerous pieces in shades of white/ecru/beige so I was really excited about this theme.

Per usual, I wrote down about 5 ideas that I thought I would create. Yet again, I did not get a chance to create them all.

First piece was created on natural colored linen and I chose an array of white, ecru, winter white, beige & tan threads to use. I was gifted some lovely natural cheesecloth by my Art Elements' Secret Santa so I just had to incorporate that. I also found the ceramic cabochon in my Secret Santa package. The colors are perfect and it appears to be a goddess. 

Full view of 'Climbing the Tree of Enlightenment'
When I started this I had no idea where I was going with it. I just took the cheesecloth, ripped it, stretched it and started stitching circular motifs. Then I ruched the cheesecloth around the goddess cabochon (with a tad of glue on the back) placed some more stitching around it and said, "what now?" I had no idea what I was making.  Just stitching intuitively and randomly. Then I got the idea to create a tree with the goddess sort of sitting on a limb. This whole thing would've probably worked much better if I had planned in advance. I just tend to fly by the seat of my pants without a lot of forethought. Anyway, the tree started to grow and it is very chaotic and busy on one side with the tranquil tree on the other side. I decided to name it 'Climbing the Tree of Enlightenment'.
Close-up of tree, cheesecloth and the background linen which is a linen/poly blend.
Close-up of cabochon and a better view of the cheesecloth
I love the colors and shades of white & tan that are in this piece. Very calming.

Next up is a small little wintry scene done in some of the same color threads. I really wanted to create a wet felted piece in winter whites/beige and pale gray that I could stitch on, but ran out of time. My Secret Santa gifted me with some gorgeous undyed merino, silk tussah, silk hankies and silk ribbons.
I know that I will have to create a wet/dry felted piece with those beauties! So stay tuned for that.

The linen I used for this piece is a higher quality 100% nautral linen.
Since this is a small oval hoop  I decided to keep the stitching very simple and the design very simple.
Full view of wintry scene  

I had fun with this as always and I know for sure this color palette is one that I will continue to return to.
I am looking forward to seeing eveyone's white creations. Please have a look for yourself.
Here's the list of guests and AE members.

Art Elements Forest Theme Reveal

Wow! I blinked and May has disappeared. This month's theme over at Art Elements was chosen by Sue. I absolutely LOVE this theme. I have...