Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Interview with Laurel Burch

I hope that the link works. Laurel died last month, sadly. This is an inspiring interview especially for someone who lives with chronic pain. I hope I remember her feisty nature about not giving up when I'm having one of my bad days.

Art keeps me sane, and you can quote me on that!

Rust dyed shirt

Thanks for the comments about the vessel!! It's 9 inches tall and evolved once I attached the felt to the lutradur. I'm fond of the "what if" kind of approach. Speaking of which, what if I rust dye a beige shirt and then over-dye it? I had purple in mind when I over dyed the shirt after rust dyeing it twice, but it turned out more mauve than I would have preferred. But now I like it. The close-up of the pocket isn't the true color; the front and back pics are though. The pocket is an experiment where I placed nails next to each other. I'm trying to figure out ways to get more pattern and design onto the fabric rather than rusty splotches. The shirt fabric was stiff to begin with and is even heavier now so I imagine it will be more of a shirt-jacket than a shirt. I have no idea what color of T-shirt to wear under it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vessel Challenge

I barely finished the vessel in time for the Oct. challenge on the yahoo group TextileChallenges. It ended up being more of a workout than I was prepared for. But in the end I'm pleased with the result. (click on the photos to enlarge them.)
On the upper right of this montage is a piece of rust dyed felt that I distressed and then randomly glazed with some handmade paper pulp. The scan of the felt is probably more accurate of what the color really looks like; its not as orange as indicated in the photos. I had the worst time photographing the vessel. On the upper left is a close-up of the left side of the vessel showing hand dyed yarn and a stick wrapped with dyed fabric and rusted wire. The bottom left photo is just a fun one. The middle photo is a front view of the vessel and on the right is a back view. The substrate is painted lutradur that was distressed on the top after the felt was attached to it. Paint: washes of 3 shades of blue and some gold fluid acrylic. I love how paint seems to know where to flow on lutradur and in this case seemed to take on an antique patina that complemented the felt. Amazingly enough the color of the lutradur in the photos is pretty accurate.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Palm frond texture

Don't you love it when nature provides a texture plate? While on a midnight stroll around the neighborhood I happened upon a small palm frond on the sidewalk. Bad circulation often keeps me awake and rather than spending 10 minutes on the Exercycle I opted for a walk; the full moon beckoned. The gated community I live in is kept in pristine condition so it's rare to find anything on the ground.
The first rubbing is on tissue paper. For the second one I tore out a page from a French book. The wax crayon provided a resist that I took advantage of by lightly going over the page with a green fluid acrylic wash. The brown splotches are my favorite aging technique.
It's a good day! The smokey sky isn't nearly as bad as it was yesterday and I woke up knowing how to proceed to with the vessel.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Smoke Gets in your . . .

The air quality is at an all-time high. I can't fathom how fire fighters deal with the smoke because my chest hurts. We're suffering some allergy problems. The fires started in southern CA. last weekend and continue to burn, though, most of them are nearly contained and some people have been able to return home. The Santa Ana winds didn't help matters but it's the arsonists who are the real cause of most of the fires. The loss of homes, lives, and pets is unimaginable.

It's not every day a camera can be aimed directly at the sun, but the smokey sky made the above photo possible, sadly.
For the last few hours a cloud covering has made the smokey air even more oppressive so I'm attempting to find something cheerful. The altered photo of the plumeria nearly provided just the right amount of cheer, but the winner is the snail vine. What an awful name for a gorgeous vine. This particular vine is winding its way up the post on the left side of the pergola. The lavender flowers resemble sweet peas; in the insert on the bottom right of the photo is a close-up of the snail shaped buds.

Vessel disaster: The distressed rust dyed felt won't behave itself! I forget out porous lutradur is; glue seeps right through it. I was hoping that enough of the felt would adhere to the lutradur so that I could further attach it with some stitches. It's not happening. Back to the drawing board, so to speak. But first the glue needs to dry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Found art in-the-works

You never know what might turn up in a junkyard. This chunk of metal is the base piece for a possible mosaic. Stay tuned . . .
Feathers: well it seems that I may have broken the law with the pigeon feather. Or not. Domestic bird feathers can legally be used; I had a flock of pigeons when I was a kid so I assumed that pigeon feathers fell under the "okay" ones to collect and use. In some states and counties one can still raise pigeons, but finding out just what counties and cities isn't easy. Feathers that are legal to collect: all parrots and cockatoos with one exception: Thick-billed Parrots. All domestic fowl, meaning swans, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peacocks, emus, ostrich. All game birds---wild ducks, wild geese, wild turkeys, quail, pheasants, prairie chicken---if there's a season on it, you can have the feathers.
So, the collage won't turn up on etsy.com. I'll be on the lookout for duck and geese feathers.
Southern Calif. is on fire, or at least it feels and looks that way. The good old Santa Ana wind season always seems to be the cause of fires this time of year but it's more frightening when arsonists strike. One can only pray that the arsonists are found soon! Out here in the desert the smoke started creeping over the mountains during the night; we woke to an eerie amber/brown sky. We can no longer escape the reality of the fires just over the mountains and up in the Arrowhead area north of us. There have been a few brush fires a couple of miles from us. One was started when a stolen car was set on fire in a field. What is with people?!
Many of our every-day problems seem small in comparison with the loss of lives, homes, and pets. Out of the ashes come new beginnings.
Phoenix: a legendary bird which according to one account lived 500 years, burned itself to ashes on a pyre, and rose alive from the ashes to live another period. Link: http://tinyurl.com/9nmdo I've often considered the phoenix to be a muse of sorts.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Feather Collage

Handmade paper on mat board in a black frame. I needed something on the left side; often when I'm stuck I wander around the yard or house. Pigeons have made a nuisance of themselves on the neighbors roof; a pest control company has been making daily stops at the house, what he's doing is a mystery, but the birds have taken flight and left me a few gifts. This particular feather was the perfect size. The paper is heavily textured with dark fragments of paper and leaves embedded into it. It will be on etsy soon.
Painted pellon base for a fiber vessel challenge on a yahoo group. I'm considering a few additions such as needle felting before I form it into a vessel.

The weather is finally absolutely awesome! We sure waited long enough for cooler nights and crisp mornings. Autumn has arrived and everything seems to glisten with soft lighting; even the palm trees look fabulous.

Quote: Things come suitable to their time. Enid Bagnold

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Work

Monday, October 15, 2007

Handmade paper

A scan of the mandala, below, without the magical moth.
Rust dyeing has taken over! The usual way to dye with rust is to put rusty pieces on the surface (mono printing) or wrap the fabric around a rusted item. I'm experimenting with paper and ways to embed rust rather than surface dye handmade paper. Nothing happened for the first 2 hours this sheet was drying and then suddenly rust started spreading throughout the entire sheet! Eureka! I want a little less rust next time.

Quote: After fifty most of the bullshit is gone.
Isabel Allende

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Once again a gift from nature arrived when needed. The magic of a moth who died on a piece of handmade paper took my breath away! I was in the garage at about 1am checking on the progress of the paper drying on racks and thought that the moth had simply landed on the paper. I left it there, after all it wasn't doing any harm but when it was still there in at 10am I took a closer look. How did it know where to land? I've since moved it around and also photographed it in a copper bowl rich with patina. I need to figure out how to preserve it. It's quite beautiful. The mandala shaped paper is heavily embedded with twigs and leaves from the backyard. The leaves provided a random light yellow tinge to the paper made from recycled computer paper.
Boy do I need a macro lens! Most of the photographs I take are close-ups and the close up lens just doesn't cut it!

Life is a frail moth flying: Caught in the web of the years that pass.
Sara Teasdale

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So, where have I been? Struck down with an FM flare-up brought on by necessary dental work. Ugh! Too sick to care about much or to enjoy my new work space in the garage. My friend decided that I'd worked on the bathroom counter long enough so we designed a counter using metal shelves for an area in the garage. Luckily one of the upgrades for this house was a 4-foot extension and sink which most people use to park their golf carts in and wash off their shoes. I've been hauling around a Rhino painting that my second husband painted in the 70's; it's a 4x6 foot acrylic painted on a board and ended up being the perfect size for the counter top. I've also been carting around a roll of 5x7 foot canvas that finally came in handy as a surface over the painting. The only downside is the heat that will undoubtedly prevent me from working out there for months every summer. It's still in the 90's but at least it's cooling off in the evenings and the mornings are pleasant. So far I've been able to make some paper and rust dye a shirt and everything was within my reach! I've also set up the microwave for fabric dyeing, a toaster oven for polymer clay, a crock pot for wax, an area for heat tools so that I can distress fabric. To say the least I'm thrilled! This poor wounded palm tree hit the ground during a windstorm over a week ago. The tree folded into sections and garnered lots of attention from the neighbors who wanted to know if we'd heard it fall. It's directly across the street. Nope, it silently met its demise.

The plumeria, above, has bloomed again! It's the most elegant flower in the yard and is thriving better than I thought it would. We lost 1 out of 6 plumeria which isn't bad considering how many plants didn't survive the summer. Even with all of the losses the yard is amazing and I can't wait to greet the plants every morning. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that I'd never plant a tree in my lifetime and so far we've planted eight, five of them are citrus. One of the trees sheds leaves from time-to-time, they're a beautiful brown and resemble a maple leaf. I crumbled a few of the leaves and added them to the paper pulp during the paper making session. I also embedded a couple of leaves onto the surface of a small sheet of paper. The great thing was that I gathered the leaves by flashlight when inspiration hit at 10pm.

Quote: Weather - "It hain't not use to grumble and complain, it's jest as easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain, why rain's my choice." J.W. Riley