Thursday, June 20, 2013

Etsy Store is Up & Running

Finally, I was able to post some of my work for sale in my Etsy store! More stuff will be coming soon but it was important to get this first step started. Here is one of the scarves that are available. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Putting the Pieces Together

Once the silk square was trimmed to the finished size it was placed back onto the waiting canvas. Hmmm, the dark blue swallows the square - not enough contrast. Out comes the paint again and a bit of green is mixed with some black. I taped off a border around the silk square and painted this inside area with the black mixture. EDGES TOO STRAIGHT! FIX IT!! I grabbed the spray bottle with water and gave the edges a good spritz to soften and allow them to run a bit. Of course each side had to have a bit more paint dabbed on and allowed to run in each direction. Took a couple of times to get the dark in just the right place but finally it was complete. Once dry, a light coat of sealer gave the paint a finished feel & the silk was attached. The best part? I have a lovely piece of leftover silk from my trimmings that is just the right size for a journal cover. My next project has already begun! And my journey continues...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Determining Placement

OK, so all of those skinny strings of silk have been stitched down - now what? I remembered my handy cropping frames and pulled them out to help me figure out the best placement of the design. Since my canvas was square with a loose grid already established with paint, I decided that a square would be a good choice. I moved the frames around until I found a pleasing composition. This decision was tough as there were some really interesting areas I didn't want to lose. This is about the time I realized this wasn't a cruciform motif and the journey aspect came to the forefront. I could see roads leading somewhere - the path less taken perhaps? Where was this piece taking me?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Silk Spaghetti

Now it's time to play with the silk spaghetti! All of these tiny little strings were from the trimmings left over from making the second jacket. I used a lovely varigated thread in my machine on the jacket and decided that would work perfectly for what I had in mind. Keeping that idea of a cruciform shape in the back of my mind, I started placing silk spaghetti on the background one strip at a time and stitching down the middle of the string. Some of the strings were so thin that was sometimes difficult to do. If the stitching fell off to one side a bit, oh well! I alternated the strings - first a vertical one then a horizontal one, then back to vertical until I had a pleasing arrangement. I love how sometimes there is a lot of contrast in color in some places and not so much in others. I even let one of the spaghetti strands cross over another. My goal wasn't for nice straight rows but for more of a wonky path to be created.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Random Background

Here is the experimental silk piece I found in the test pile. The colors were a bit too bright so I decided to overdye it again to tone down the acid yellow. Shoved the whole piece down into a Solo cup and dumped some Mud dye on top (Mud dye is a mixture of excess dye - I keep a bottle handy for collecting excess dye that doesn't get used up. Mud dye is great for over dyeing!) Color still not right - back in the Solo cup. This time I poured on some Turquoise over the wet silk to cool the colors a bit more. That did the trick! Once the silk was ironed dry I fused it to a piece of black cotton with Heat & Bond light to bond these two fabrics together. Now I had a nice stable base for the next step!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Journey in a New Direction

Finishing the last jacket left me a pile of really skinny scraps of silk - almost like silk spaghetti. They were too beautiful to throw away but what do you do with strips so small? They are too narrow to leave any kind of seam allowance so how to use them? I set them aside in a pile knowing they would either be in the way and I would eventually toss them or inspiration would strike quickly. Fortunately I have a studio cluttered well stocked with all kinds of in-process artwork. There was a gallery wrapped canvas laying on my cutting table that I started about a month ago. Since I normally paint more floral/still life subject matter, I wanted to shake things up a bit. Originally, I thought a fat squatty rooster or some really large fruit would look good on it but couldn't make up my mind. Hmmm, the colors are just about right. I also found another piece of silk that was an experiment that went nowhere. OK - the colors in this might work as well. Where do I go next? Since my word for this year is "Journey" I thought it might be time to put this into a new piece of art. But how to express this? Through various blog posts and Pinterest pics from different artists I noticed that the cruciform shape kept popping up over the last couple of days. But how does that relate to a journey? And my thought process didn't exactly follow this line of reasoning. It was more like "here are some puzzle pieces - do they fit?" Next up - some stitching!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Getting Ready

In just a few weeks I will be winging my way to Houston to teach at Artist Expo again! This year I will be teaching silk dyeing and it looks like I will have a very full class - 30 have signed up so far! There are a lot of things to do to get ready for an event such as this. The silk & dye is ordered and should be here sometime this week. I ordered business cards that will double as care instructions on the back - all that silk has to be cared for properly. Then there is all the miscellaneous details to deal with to get a booth ready - product, booth samples, the physical booth, etc. I will be trying out a new system for taking money this year with a square reader attached to my phone. Sometimes it's just the little things. The silk dyeing is really fun and I am trying to create some special pieces for the booth. I also want to wear as much silk as I can to show off the versatility of this medium. Here are jackets I just finished to wear in Houston. The first is hand dyed silk noil with dragonflies stamped on using fabric paint. It is so soft and lightweight I can see wearing this year round even here in Florida. The second is a lighter dupioni (way more expensive!) with a lovely sheen to the fabric. There may or may not be water lilies handpainted on it in the future - time will tell. This jacket is a bit longer with a longer sleeve.