Friday, October 29, 2010

Off and Running Again

I'm off and running again, this time to the Hudson River Valley Art workshops where I'll be doing a weeklong workshop on Inspirations from Nature - lots of good machine techniques. If you click on their website, you'll see a good picture of the Inn which looks positively wonderful with lots to do and beautiful views everywhere you look. My hubby is coming with me; he'll do the driving and get to bop around all week while I'm teaching. I think it will be a fun week.
Also wanted to wish you a Happy Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing the little ones and especially love eating the leftover candy.
I grew up in NY where it was always cold on Halloween. Your costume was always big and loose so you could wear lots of warm clothes underneath. My mom was the "candy apple" mom who made those yummy bright red candy apples for all the kids in the neighborhood. It was always the last house we went to as it was our favorite treat. I have wonderful memories of my days as a "Trick or Treater" and those of going around with my kids.
I hope you'll be making some wonderful memories this Halloween, so a Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Prints to Share

This is a continuation of our Fiber Junkies Deconstructive Screenprinting meeting a short while back. I never had the chance to show you all of the wonderful prints that came out of this afternoon of "playing". I think this was Mary's prints which she went back and added color to. The circles were created using bubble wrap underneath the screen, the lines - corrugated cardboard. I think they look amazing!
And more prints done by Carol.
This next one was done by Carol Sloan. She used a larger screen and had lots of interesting elements underneath the screen for texture.
Can you find the baby mushrooms?
This was probably the third swipe, a little more blended and lighter. The dye is beginning to exhaust, but I love this look.

Patsy, being our "in house dyer" started with a colored fabric with great results. The areas that would normally be white, have the color from the base fabric.
I love this next one and boooooo on me as I can't remember who did this, but it's a great print.
And this next one where a little more dye is released in the lower right area.
In this next one, Carol used feathers, bubble wrap, leaves, twigs and some decorative "flower" edging. Can you see the little flowers - very effective.
The prints from this screen keep getting better and better as more dye is released.
Isn't this wonderful? The best part about this process is the "unexpected" results, you never know what to expect. Sometimes, they're not so great but often they are spectacular!
And all of this magic was created at Val's studio which overlooked this!
Does it get any better - dont' think so!
Until next time

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SAFF - Southeast Animal Fiber Fair

Yesterday I went to the SAFF at the Asheville, NC Fairgrounds. This event is held annually; there are lots of vendors selling rovings, yarn, knitting and felting supplies and many other things. It's an amazing event and if you love fiber and color, you'll think you've died and gone to Heaven. Sad to say, I have never been able to attend until yesterday and was it worth waiting for. It was hard to find a spot to park and I wound up way in the back near a tent of vendors. They had some amazing things - so many fibers I was not familiar with - both hand dyed and natural.

This is the large tent where I thought the entire event took place until someone pointed to a large building across the way and said - there's lots more vendors over there and a TOP and BOTTOM level!
So many of the rovings are hand dyed and braided for display purposes. They are so luscious!

Racks of rovings - beautiful colors,
natural fibers you can dye yourself. The vendors were saying they use an acid dye - makes sense as they are animal fibers like silk which also uses an acid dye.
I loved these racks of yarns. Some of the yarns and fibers were dyed with natural dyes and had a beautiful soft color.
These little bears might have been my favorite - made from fibers like alpaca which is incredibly soft. I couldn't put them down.
Many of the vendors had these little goat curls - all hand dyed. Just running your hands through these soft and colorful curls was such fun and purchased by the ounce.
At one point, I stopped and took some pictures of the huge building where SAFF took place, quite impressive and every bit filled with color, fiber, books etc. There were vendors from all over the country - this is a very big event.
And I don't knit or crochet but I do a little felting so I did bring home a treasure - some goat curls. I REALLY wanted a Teddy bear (am I too old for a Teddy bear?) maybe next year!
And the animals, an added highlight. Angora rabbits in some of the booths; some were taken out of their cages so you could pet them. They were precious. One woman was spinning angora fur as she pulled the excess off the rabbits - from rabbit to spinning wheel - no inbetween!
On to the outside to see, feed and pet the Llamas and Alpacas. I love the way they sit with their feet straight out in front of them or completely tucked underneath. It reminds me of my cats.
I couldn't stop taking pictures of these beautiful, gentle creatures.
Is this the cutest/funniest face?
I loved this handsome boy - caught him eating.
They are so tame and comfortable with people.
You could reach in and pet them. They especially loved you when you gave them food! This little Alpaca below is loving all the treats we were giving him.
Mother and baby, how sweet is this!

It was a wonderful day. I also forgot to mention - there are classes ongoing all day on everything you can imagine related to fiber - next year!
Until next time

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Leaf Thief

My husband and I were out running errands a couple of weeks ago and stopped at the Hilton Hotel for lunch; they have a nice little restaurant in the lobby and some mighty beautiful plants. On my way out, I passed by this wonderful looking one with really cool looking leaves. Hmmmm - no one was around. Should I or shouldn't I? My husband - the FBI guy was embarrassed, thought I shouldn't (I thought I should) right? A whole bunch of cliches ran through my mind - you only live once, life is too short, nothing ventured - nothing gained. Nothing really fit this situation, so what the heck. He went to the restroom and while he was gone, I did it! Yup! I'm a leaf thief! Well I half expected to see the leaf police with a fluorescent orange jumpsuit and handcuffs running down the street, but not so! So here I am in my studio feeling a tad bit guilty but also happy with this wonderful new treasure for screenprinting.
Whether to use the front or back - I think I'll try both. I know it's best to use the side with the most texture but both were equally good.
Isn't this a great looking leaf!
I laid it down on some paper and squeegeed some thickened dye over it. This is the leaf on the paper after I lifted up the screen.
I did a screen of each side.
The results were less than exciting but I do keep my "leaf" in a ziplock in the refrigerator (they can last a long time this way) and plan to try it again.
This was the first print when there was a lot of dye in the leaf area which did not loosen and break down yet; the first print is usually not that good. I'm always tempted to do the first one on paper and not waste the fabric but once in a rare while, the first print is good so I hate to take the chance. I will go back and paint some thickened dye in the white area.
I also did some Maple leaves in several colors.
This one (below) was done with green dye but very little of it came off the screen. The white areas were filled in with Indigo mx and Smokey Grey mx - a favorite of mine. Smokey Grey is a wonderful bluish-grey color and very soft.
Here is a later print off the same screen where the heavier dye areas (green) loosened and printed on fabric and the background almost exhausted of dye appear much lighter.
I really enjoy working with the leaves - such fun results.
Until next time

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blue Ridge Cruising

Yesterday, hubby and I decided to do some "leaf peepin". It was a glorious day and so we headed up to Boone - @ 2 hours from here. It's a little farther north, and a little colder so we were hoping for some leaf change. It wasn't peak but still beautiful. The sky was crystal clear and lots of color everywhere. This is the Blue Ridge Parkway, a national treasure which runs right through Asheville. We are lucky to have this so close by. I know sometimes when you live in a place for a while, you become numb to the beautiful things around you, things that made you fall in love with the place to begin with. But this parkway, I never tire of. I'll go out of my way, tack a few more minutes onto the trip to drive on it. In any season, it's a beautiful place to be.
So enjoy the little picture journey of leaf peepin.

The tiny little blue area is the Asheville watershed. This was taken in Craggy Gardens, one of our favorite places on the Blue Ridge parkway with some great hiking trails also.
How beautiful is this!

Happy Fall. I hope you're enjoying every moment of it cause you know what follows the fall - The COLD WHITE STUFF!