Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

thought ful  adj. 1. engrossed in thought; contemplative. 2. exhibiting or marked by careful thought.
3. having or showing heed for the happiness of others and a propensity for anticipating their needs or wishes.
I figured it was time to show off my gifts that my daughter brought home from her trip to Africa.
I wasn't sure she would have time to shop or would even find anything to buy since she was going on safari and camping most of the time.
Fortunately for me, she had time and she was thoughtful enough to bring home all the things that I love!
Here's a piece of batiked fabric that I fully intend to frame. It's a work of art.

This piece still had quite a bit of waxy residue left on it when she brought it home. I ironed it between 2 sheets of brown paper to remove it. The colors are so intense, I just LOVE it!

There's even the artist's name at the bottom. Very hard to tell what letters they are but I believe the first letter is 'J'. If you can figure it out, let me know.
This piece is approx. 8 x 20.

This next piece is also wonderful!
It is much bigger than it appears here. I had a hard time getting a photo of it. This one is not dyed using the batik method. It is painted and stamped and/or monoprinted. Although the way the white paint is applied makes it appear like batik in that it has some crackling in the white paint, showing the dark gray/black beneath. Pretty cool!

This piece is approx. 20 in wide by about 4 ft long. I think with this piece I will edge it in a coordinating fabric, add some batting and backing, then lightly quilt it and make it a wall hanging.

Here's a close -up of the center elephant.
You can see the crackling in the white paint.

Obviously, my daughter knows my obsession with fabrics. Especially hand dyed and painted.
She also knows I love masks. So here's the one she brought us home. (I say us, because my hubby felt a little left out, so we told him the mask was his present too)
Love the elephants!

And here's a carved wallhanging.
All sorts of animals carved in and around one another.

Here's a carved soapstone elephant. Did I mention my daughter has an obsession with elephants?

And last but not least is a little carved wooden goddess. She was a present from the monkeys! Seriously,
my daughter didn't buy this one. The monkeys that roam around freely are always taking personal belongings from campers, as well as giving them items they  pilfer from others. My daughter has no idea who the monkeys took this from, but the goddess was obviously chosen by the monkeys for my daughter to bring home. So here she is.

Some very thoughtful presents indeed!

Love them all so much. I hung up the mask and wallhanging the day she got home. The elephant is
sitting on a little shelf beneath a Haitian painting of animals. And little miss goddess, given to us by the monkeys is on a table where I can see her all the time.
She makes me laugh, thinking about the monkeys roaming around and playing games with the tourist's

Enjoy your Thursday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Texture Tuesday {Dream edition}


Today's Texture Tuesday prompt was 'DREAM'.  The very first photo I thought of was one of my sunsets in Grand Cayman. If there is ever a cause to dream, that's the place to dream about.  layered the original photo with Kim's 'golden hour'  & 'dream' textures. Then I added my own text--Dream.
My next thoughts on dreaming were of my daughter's African photos. I would love to go someday.
An African adventure is on my 'bucket list'. My daughter was kind enough to allow me to use her photos for the TT challenge this week.  Here's the first one I altered. A gorgeous sunset.

I used Kim's 'golden hour' texture again and added the text. It was almost too gorgeous a photo to alter. I tried to just enhance it a bit. Make it a bit painterly.
The next 2 sunset shots have NOT been altered in any way. My daughter took some amazing pictures.
I love how the sun looks as though it is sitting on top of the little tree.

Just love the silhouettes that the trees make.

The leopard above was within 4 or 5 ft of my daughter who was sitting in a jeep. Great capture. I duplicated the photo, changed it to b & w, then masked out the leopard in the b & w layer to recover his beautiful spots! Otherwise he sort of blended in with the golden yellow of the grasses. Such great camouflage.
She took so many photos while she was in Africa. But I have to say that the big cats are my fave.

This little guy above had just finished eating and then walked over to within 3 ft of their jeep and flopped down for a rest. Isn't he gorgeous? I layered it with Kim's 'stained linen' and 'golden hour' textures.
Even though the big cats are my fave, I just had to show you this baby elephant.

He is too cute! I thought at first he was trumpeting his horn, but she said he was sticking his snout up in the air to smell them.  I layered this photo with Kim's 'stained linen' and reduced the saturation a bit.
Maybe next time I will show a few more photos of her trip to Africa. There is a great shot of a zebra as well as a giraffe and the biggest cat of all the male lion.
Until your life creatively & always carry your camera~

Also linking up with Lisa Gordon's "The Creative Exchange" & Life n Reflection's Texture Twist



Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching My Breath

I'm finally getting a chance to photograph some fabric that I dyed with rust about a month ago. Also some silk ribbons that I dyed with procion dyes back in May.
Our summer has been so full of outings with friends & family, coming & going--nonstop it seems as though I haven't had a moment to relax.
Soooo... this past weekend hubby & I spent it pretending to be couch potatoes. We did do a teensy bit of yard work on Saturday, but other than that we chilled out big time. Better than great, it was FANTASTIC!
Seems as though it recharged my batteries. I was kind of running on empty in regards to creativity. Felt drained of all artsy ideas. Haven't been able to even think about going into the studio to do anything all summer except rust dye that muslin & linen.
Now...after lounging & drooling over all my fiber art, jewelry art & mixed media magazines & books, I feel like I'm ready to jump back into the game of making some art.
I haven't been entirely art free this summer. I have tried to participate in Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday every week that I've been home. Sooooo much fun and relatively simple in terms of pulling out art supplies. All it takes is my camera & computer. Easy, peasy! Plus, I have become addicted to my camera & photoshop making it an absolute essential part of my life!
Now the results of the rust dyeing........
This is unbleached muslin.

The above piece is also muslin.
The process I used this time was to wrap my damp fabric around the rusty metal objects. Then I put them in a bucket.
Each fabric bundle was stacked on top of the other. Then I filled the bucket with enough water to have the fabric bundles fully submerged. Then as a last minute thought, I scrunched up some natural linen that I dampened and mashed that down on top of all the bundles of wrapped metal. I was thinking that all that rusty water might produce some type of dyeing effect on the linen.

This piece to the left is one of the pieces near the top. The ones with the most rusted tones were the bottom bundles. I'm assuming due to the weight as well as more water, since I forgot to keep an eye on the water level and it was HOT outside. I kept the bucket in the garage about a week and a half before I took the fabric out.

This one was wraped very tightly around some metal spikes. I really like the little dots and I have no idea where they came from, unless it was all the small particles of rust that I dumped in the bucket once I filled it with water.

But the ABSOLUTE BEST results were the paper towels! After doing some rust dyeing last fall, I wrapped my wet rusty pieces in paper towels.They've been sitting inside a plastic bag in the garage ever since. Now look at my paper towels!

I just LOVE these pieces. I will definitely find a use for them in a mixed fiber piece. So naturally after removing my rust metals from the fabric I wrapped them back up in new paper towels and stuck them back in their plastic bag until next time. I hope I find some more richly patterned rusty paper towels next time I decide to do some rust dyeing!
Now some more colorful photos for you. Dyed silk ribbons in various sizes to be used with some future projects. Beautiful blues, greens and a little bronze thrown in.

More bronze with some greens and a little yellow/orange added & in the very back is burgundy mixed with orange/red.

Next up is my flaming oranges/reds and some gold, along with a bit of brown.                                    

I'm so excited about these scrumptious colors, I've got to come up with a project that is worthy of them.
Maybe I'll save a few bits to add into a mixed medium weaving that I plan to create in a workshop in Sept.
My needlearts guild starts it's year back up in Sept. & our first workshop is with Kat Allison & Cindy French. They will be teaching a 2 day workshop. One day is bead weaving and one day is multi media weaving. These silk ribbons might be just the thing to add in for the mixed media one! If you live in the Chicago area and would like to take this workshop, go to our website and check it out. We have a limit of 20 students but there is still some space left.
Fully refreshed and armed with some gorgeous silk ribbons, I'm ready to get back into a creative work routine. Next up.....I'm doing some sunprinting on fabrics this week. May as well take advantage of these bright sunny days while we have them!
Until your life creatively~
see ya tomorrow for Texture Tuesday
p.s. just realized I didn't show any of the linen that I topped off the bucket with.....not much happened with it. When I first removed it from the bucket & it was still wet, I was really excited about it because there was a greenish hue surrounding the rusty areas. Kind of like a verdigris color on copper. Sadly, when the fabric dried the verdigris color disappeared : (

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wabi Sabi & Texture Tuesday

"Wabi Sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent & incomplete".
Characteristics of the wabi sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness or irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes."

I tend to adhere to a wabi sabi kind of aesthetic in that I am completely in awe of the imperfections in nature. I love rough, gnarly tree bark, crinkly old leaves and seed pods. I even find the strings of algae in the pond quite beautiful even if it's a bit smelly at times. Nature is a thing of beauty in all seasons whether it's in the spring when everything appears to spring to life or even in the dead of winter when trees are bare and look like sculptures against the sunsets. 
With a wabi sabi mindset, I have been photographing tree bark and pond algae, tree branches with the blue sky as a backdrop and even leaves on a cloudy day to get some variations. I also took a photograph of my concrete steps with ivy growing across them along with some mold & mildew! 
With a little processing in photoshop nature's works of art are transformed even further.
Here's my first photo for TT.
Leaves against the sky. Changed it to black/white, added a color filter and then layered with Kim's 'aurora' texture
as well as her 'sissy' texture. I love how this photo looks after adding the textures.

Next photo is another of leaves that I shot looking straight up into the sun. The leaves were much brighter. It was also layered with Kim's 'aurora' & 'sissy' textures. And I also converted it to B & W first.

Final photo for today's TT is the concrete step with the ivy growing in the creases along with some mold & mildew from the summer humidity. I didn't convert it to B & W, just decreased the saturation and played with hues. I layered it with Kim's 'aurora' texture along with a couple of textures I had in my own files. One is chipped paint and the other is a crusty old book page.
I also rotated the photo. The step is actually oriented with the ivy growing horizontally. This photo of the concrete ended up looking like a gnarly old tree. Don't ya think?

If you'd like to join in the Texture Tuesday fun just hop over to Kim Klassen's site and jump in!
If you sign up for her textures you can get a freebie every week to play with.
Life's been busy this summer with a flurry of fun with family & friends. Now that it is settling down somewhat I plan to join Kim's Test Kitchen to have even more fun with her textures. I also plan to get down to the jewelry making business once again as well as finish all the fiber art projects laying wait in my studio.
I also want to photograph the gorgeous pieces of fabric that my daughter brough me from Africa as well as photograph the mask and wall art she brought home. It felt like Christmas when she brought home all those goodies!
Live your life creatively~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Texture Tuesday

I was a bit of a slacker last week and didn't participate in TT. My daughter came home from Africa last Monday and we spent hours looking at all the photos & videos she took. The photos are AMAZING!
Very close shots of some of the animals.
My first 2 photos for TT are actually photos my daughter took in Africa. She took them because she knows how much I love pink flamingos! So I can't take credit for the photos just the alteration of them.

By the way, this week's TT theme is 'PINK'. Perfect for my pretty pink birds don't ya think?
This one is layered with Kim Klassen's
'canvasback' texture, with hue & saturation altered.

This next photo is also layered with Kim's 'canvasback' texture. More pink birds!!
And again, I played with hue & saturation since these birds were more of a salmon color.
I used a layer mask to mask the 2 brightest birds in the center.

Maybe for next week's TT my daughter will allow me to use more of her fabulous photos. She got some awesome shots of leopards, lions, zebras, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, etc.  And phenomenal sunsets!!!

Next shots were taken by me in my kitchen. Little pink shrub roses with my collection of cobalt blue vases again.
I believe this variety of roses is called
"Fairy". They bloom profusely but unfortunately do not have any scent at all. But oh so pretty!

This photo was layered with Kim's 'canvasback' & 'aurora' textures.

Here's a close-up of the roses. I used the same layers as the above photo with masks.

And last but not least; here's a shot of a beautiful water lily I took yesterday at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. All the water lilies were in bloom--just gorgeous. I really love the dark mottled colors in the leaves.

Since the water background looked almost black I decided to go with a much darker coloring. Also, I thought it really made the leaves more interesting. I used Kim's 'canvasback magic' texture for this one.
Three layers of it, all at different blending modes and opacities. And I used a mask to keep my lilies nice & pink!
So there you have it-my pink themed, textured photos. I have been hoping to get some artwork photographed for my blog and also I have been rusting some fabrics that I hope to show later in the week. Some surprising results to show!
Until your life creatively~

Seed Pod Theme Reveal

I think I say this every month but it's so true..."I can't believe time flies so quickly and we're already at the end of an...