Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Retreat and Funky Houses

Every year our PTA group goes on a retreat to Lake Logan in Waynesville, NC; this is our third year and it seems to get better each time. We usually go in January to fight the winter blues, but this year we were postponed because of snow. We were disappointed back then, but NOW, yes NOW it starts tomorrow. We arrive at 9:30, have coffee and donuts in the community room and claim our spot for the next 3 days. Being creatures of habit, we usually go the spot we were at the year before. We rent this big room during the day for sewing, talking, eating, doing "easy" aerobics, and other fun stuff. We have our meals cooked for us in the dining hall and rent a house where it's one big pajama party. We're always clammering for a no brainer type project so we can talk, eat, laugh and sew all at the same time! I've been wanting to do a "house" quilt for some time - silly houses that incorporate photos with fabric.  So here's a preview of a few of the little houses I've put together. This has been one of the silliest and most fun things I've done in a long time. This is one of the tinier houses - commercial fabric on roof combined with a photo I took of a door;  I do like the combination.
This next little house used the same commercial fabric in the main part of the house
and a picture of an opening became the "door" to the house.
A birdhouse in our yard has a great big rusty nail in the front
which will become a doorknob. This next little animal house (maybe a dog, maybe something more ferocious...) still needs a pair of eyes. It was made from a photo of the siding of a barn from my friend Dorts property.

and some wonderful textured cement for the roof.
All the photos were manipulated in Photoshop Elements. It was such fun using them in unconventional ways. So this is what I'll be sewing on while I'm eating, laughing and talking also. I have more blocks to share but will have to wait on those.

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

John C Campbell Folk School Revisited

I'm finally getting back into a routine, always so much to catch up on when you're gone for a week and quite frankly sometimes just hard to enter reality again There's no one to cook your meals, no being able to "play" all day. Here's a recap of the wonderful week we had at JC Campbell and some of the fun things we did - fabric painting was first on the list. Using a textile paint, we did many samples using creases, plastic, salt and other technques. The painted fabric provided a nice backdrop for some of the techniques to come later on.
Happy accidents can make the best treasures. Debbie accidentally dropped a thread with paint in the middle of her fabric. It started to wick and we all loved the results, so what do you do? Add more "thread worms"!
Carving a block on Master Carve is a lot of fun because the material is soft but doesn't crumble. You can get great results and really fine detail. I love the block that Jeann created.

Carolyn did a wonderful block print which she turned into a book cover for her journal.
Debbie did a wonderful fish and I love the brush strokes in her print.
We were in the Davidson building AKA the wet room. It's a new building and also houses the cooking and music workshops. We lucked out during our week as both were going on. We had the wonderful aromas from next door and beautiful mandolin music up above - a heavenly combination. We dropped enough hints to the cooking class and were treated every day to one of their culinary masterpieces. This particular day was a curried chicken served on a very unique bread, and the dessert - roasted banana icecream!
At night there's always activities going on to entertain - contra dancing, readings from the writing workshop, a slide tour of Ireland from Jon Riley who was teaching photography and so on, or you could just go back to the studio and work.
Our display at the week end closing ceremonies was wonderful. My ladies worked very hard and did a beautiful job at showing the wide variety of things they did. Marlenes painted piece (lower left) was wonderful and spontaneous using leaves and twigs from outside.
Everyone made a lot of scarves to use as presents and to practice some of the techniques they learned. The eggs on the piece (far left) were done by Karen who became the master of the paintstik; the eggs look like the real thing - we were all so amazed to realize how many different and beautiful eggs there are.
We also did sun printing, monoprinting, printing using a gelatin plate, vegetable printing, rusting fabric, working with Shiva oil paintstiks, fabric crayons, foiling and Angelina fibers. In the photo below, you can see the beautiful journal cover that Carolyn made using her block print.
Carolyn made a beautiful scarf (below) which started out one way, didn't work and salvaged it to be even better! Another happy accident and it matched her jacket perfectly!

Such a great week with so many fun things to bring home and think about!
Thanks to all my ladies who made it such a joy to be there!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well I love teaching, especially week long workshops, but I really love coming home - to my own pillow, my own bed, my cats (my hubby and son of course), my studio and so on. But I did have a wonderful week with five of the nicest ladies ever. I always come home from these things with my mind reeling with ideas. I think I learn as much from my students as they do from me. There's nothing so energizing as a room full of creative and enthusiastic minds. So thank you (left to right) Carolyn, Marlene, Jeann, Debbie (myself) and Karen - it was a great week. We are all wearing scarves, one of the many projects we did during the week.
This is the display at the "closing ceremonies" where each class has a table to display their work. It  gives everyone an opportunity to see the variety of workshops offered.
I know I mentioned I was going to make a stop at the Blacksmith building where the bin outside has lots and lots of iron scraps and I did. I came home with buckets - literally
So here are my treasures. My husband never has to worry about me spending money on all kinds of stuff; this is the kind of treasure I love and come home with.
Have lots more to share but am still catching my breath, putting things away and getting caught up, will check back soon. Until then
Happy Creating !! ( :

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heading Out

I'm heading out to John C. Campbell today to teach a surface design workshop for a week. JCC is one of my favorite places to go - beautiful views, great food, wonderful workshops, lots of creative energy everywhere you go. I always make a stop at the Blacksmiths building. Outside they have a bin of discarded iron scraps - perfect for rusting. This is a view from the Orchard House - how pretty is this!
Have a wonderful week and "talk" to you soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Great Girlfriends

I am so blessed, really I am. Last week we had our Fiber Junkies meeting here at my home. One of the highlights of the meeting is our Show and Tell - such a variety of talents and such prolific members, there's always so much to see and share. One of the pieces shared was made by Mary Stori. We're always in awe of her beautiful beaded work and this was no exception. A Sunflower, my favorite in our garden beautifully beaded and set off center which I loved. We eventually all went back to work and the day came to an end all too quickly. I was tired and planned on putting my studio back in order the next morning which I did and also went over near my computer when I saw THIS! - sitting there - FOR ME - from my pal - Mary. How lucky am I!
The beading is wonderful with the "many yellows" that's used to make it so realistic. The center is amazing - the beads are piled up to give it lots of dimension, one of the many techniques Mary teaches in her workshops. Hand dyed felt was used for the background.
My best treasures are in my studio where I spend the most time. It makes sense to be surrounded by my favorite things. I am blessed, truly I am.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fiber Junkies Paper Painting

This past Monday, we had our monthly meeting of Fiber Junkies - Six "fiber loving" gals who get together to play and learn from each other. Carol Sloan, who is a wonderful mixed media artist led the meeting and shared her many techniques for paper painting. Needless to say, we had a blast and our minds were spinning with ideas for making beautiful paper. Carol also makes interesting journals out of these papers, but more on that later. This is our group (minus me, the photographer) left to right - Nancy, Patsy and Carol...
Val and Mary.
And here are some of the beautiful papers that Carol brought to share for inspiration.

Carol uses a wonderful variety of techniques and materials to create these works of art.
This one was gorgeous and a mystery as to how she got the flowers on there.

This might be my favorite (below) with the cheesecloth!
Thanks Carol for such a wonderful and inspiring day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

FAA March Meeting

Okay, so where did February go to and for that matter - January! I can't believe we're into March already but that brings another meeting of our Fiber Arts Alliance group which is growing in leaps and bounds.
Our own Dot H did the program on gelatin plate printing;  it was fabulous! Dot showed us so many tricks and ideas. I think we were all heading for the store to buy Knox gelatin after the meeting.
Dot used a pan with a scalloped bottom so her gelatin took on that shape - here a plastic swirl shape she cut out of "recycled" lids - how clever.

Dot uses any and everything in the way of fabric - like she says, it will all be cut up for quilts.
She makes use of all kinds of things for printing and is always on the lookout for new stuff.

What a great day and thank you Dot for such a great demo and so much inspiration.