Friday, May 27, 2016

Marbling and Wooden Hands

In preparing for Fiber Day last week, I always make lots of extra methyl - marbling base, as it seems to go down quickly as each print removes a little more. I want to have plenty in reserve so I don't have to stop and make some...especially when eager children are waiting for their turn.
As it turned out, I had 3 extra gallons, was thinking ahead and brought containers with lids so I could bring the extra home. It doesn't always last that long (several days) before it breaks down and is un-useable, but when new and sealed, it was wonderful even after a week.
 I am working on a series for an upcoming exhibit and thought it might be fun to marble on top of Stonehenge fabric - my favorite fabric. I never have any trouble cutting into my stash but in this case...once this is's gone so I approached this very carefully. I decided the fabric (to be used as a rock backdrop) could use more veining so I did very little marbling on each.
 This is the only piece of Stonehenge I added color to, not sure I like it . I started with 3 colors dropped in the tray.
 Using a new favorite technique - that of Flow Release by Golden (30 drops to 1 cup of water) which was dropped on using a whisk allowing the paint to separate into an interesting pattern.
 Here is the finished piece which I like but I've lost the beautiful patterning of the Stonehenge fabric.
 Here is a more recent Stonehenge which I marbled using the same orangey color
 It's more obvious in person.
 This Stonehenge I used just the black, white and gray...
 treated with flow release
 and printed on top. This is more the look I was shooting for.
 And this next one
 you can see the clear marbling base and the little bit of paint I use...
 just to give a little more surface texture.
 I also went through my stash of marbled fabrics and pulled those I wasn't happy with. This was already a mish-mosh so I figured I had nothing to lose.
 Maybe a little more interesting now? The jury is still out on this one but it does remind me of being tangled in brush and looking through to an open sunny area.
 This was multi colored hand dyed, pretty but needed something..
 and I think this one was perked up a bit.

 Handling bigger pieces can be a challenge as you have to drop the center first and gently lower the sides. If the piece is too wide, this is almost impossible. Years ago, my husband being at work and not available to help, I had to come up with a way to do this. I call these my wooden hands.
The fabric is held with clothespins onto thin strips of wood. I can hold the ends and gently lower it down. Once down, the strips of wood lie on the edge of the pan (as they are longer) and I can unclip the clothespins and allow the last bit of fabric to fall on the surface.
It's been great fun....I have a paint order in; some of my newer colors include metallics (Createx air brush colors) which I've used with success before. I'm hoping to add more veining in gold or copper to give the effect of mica or another ore running through it.  We'll see what happens and will keep you posted. I'm hoping my order comes today so I have the weekend to play.

Happy Memorial Day  - have a wonderful relaxing and fun weekend...and give a big hug to your favorite soldier/s. They are so deserving of our thanks, our love and our praise...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fiber Day in Asheville

The Southern Highland Craft Guild whose headquarters happen to be in Asheville, sponsor many activities during the year at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the many goals of the guild is to educate the public of the many crafts practiced and developed in the Appalachian Mountain range area. Many of the crafts seems quite simple (like corn husk dolls) but they were the bread and butter for many folks way back when.
 The guild has many weekends during the year to highlight one particular craft. There is a wood weekend, clay weekend, glass weekend and fiber weekend. There is also a heritage weekend which features things like sheep shearing. Last week was Fiber weekend and featured many areas of fiber including, spinning, weaving, tatting, quilting, beading on fabric and marbling. It's always great fun for the entire family with activities inside the center and many spilling out onto the lawn in back. Each artist is given a table to display their craft, do demos or work on projects. People wander through and can watch, ask questions and in the case of marbling, participate in the activity itself.
 This year the Embroiderer's Guild of America was invited as special guests to show and demo their beautiful work.
 Many use story boards which are wonderful visuals for learning.
 Here's our own Georgia Bonesteel demonstrating quilting as well as finishing the beautiful quilt you see in back of her.
 And Elizabeth who does the most darling and clever folk art quilts.
 We had a crochet artist whose booth was covered head to toe with beautiful hand made items including little crocheted foot covers - not good for mountain climbing but certainly pretty if you're sitting still.
 Martine House who is just in a class by herself, was showing her amazing beading techniques. She is wearing one of her creations and one featured below.
 Not only does she create these beautiful pieces but figures out how to put them together.
 I was the marbling lady which I really enjoy as I love working with the kids.
 Outside were spinners along with their animals.
 Who couldn't LOVE that face.
 There was a live Indigo pot for people to try. I would have loved to do a piece but my marbling table was too busy.
 Dee Dee Stiles who has been a member of the guild a long time is known for her natural dyeing, walking in fields to collect berries, leaves etc. anything to create the beautiful color you see hanging in front of her.
 I had some adorable children trying marbling for the first time - WOW...they did great.
 There were 7 colors (all bright) for them to pick 3 or 4 - most wanted all 7.
 Here is Luke with his finished piece, also wearing a very "fashion forward" plastic bag smock to protect clothing. Moms did appreciate that.
And along with the little kids, we had some "big kids". This very nice man really got into the spirit, loved his piece and reminded him of the Incredible Hulks fists....Did I mention Big Kids....  ( - :

Friday, May 13, 2016

Indigo Ocean

 A couple of years ago at one of our PTA retreats, several of us made this very easy quilt top. I actually made 2 of them and finally finished this one just recentyl. It is one of the quilts featured in an exhibit at the NC Arboretum. Kate, Mary and I who often work on the same projects all worked on this pattern and used them at the entrance to the show and Both Kate and my quilt made in this pattern have sold already!
  When I first saw this quilt, I couldn't figure it out, turns out, it's very easy and uses only 2 pieces and gives the illusion of being woven.
 I used very simple quilting...
 mostly in the ditch. The fabric was so busy and thought the quilting should be simple.
 Since I used very nautical type fabrics, I decided to call it Indigo Ocean
 I also used a little strip of red in the border to tie in with the red blocks scattered throughout.
 The is the other one I made using Indigos and white which still needs to be quilted.
This is the pattern I used, including seam allowances. A skinny strip (1.5 x 5.5) is sewn on each side of the center rectangle (3.5 x 5.5). The finished block size is 5.5 square. The blocks are arranged by alternating them end to side and end to side and so was great fun to do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Garden Time

We made our yearly trek to Painter's Nursery last week to load up on flowers for the summer. We have lots of places for planting and although we do have perennials, we also love the annuals for months of color. Painters is only open a few months from March until July. The rest of the time is spent getting ready for the next season.
 It's huge....
 really huge...with lots of sections outside
 as well as an indoor greenhouse
 that goes on forever.
 It's hard to get out of there without dropping more money than you want to.

 They also have several outdoor sheltered areas for plants.
 This fabulous nursery is located in Old Fort in NC.  We just love it here.
 There's a place to picnic if the mood strikes you.
 What tickled me most was this "Cat Grass" with a sign that said - "For your cat to munch on while he contemplates the meaning of life"
I have just the cat in mind!