Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Experiment: Making Clay Texture Blocks

Yesterday, as the remnants of Sandy left us with leaves and branches on the ground and a drizzly rain, I decided to take advantage of a day inside and electricity.

A former student and subscriber to my newsletter sent me an email. She was really excited about the last issue (Issue #6). As a polymer clay artist, she is often embossing clay for printing. She hadn't thought of kidney beans and loved the results I was getting with the embossable foam blocks.

This gave me an idea. I am in the process of writing my book proposal. As my proposed book revolves around using materials from the kitchen for surface design, I wasn't sure if I would include using the commercial moldable foam blocks for embossing. So an internet search began for creating clay using kitchen ingredients. I was fortunate to find a number of recipes.

One recipe for Baker's Clay combined flour, salt and water.
First mix together the salt and flour.

Then add the water.

Stir then knead together until it is dough (clay).

After rolling out the Baker's Clay, I embossed it with my texture blocks.

Here I pushed one of my texture blocks into the rolled-out clay.
The embossed clay on the left. The texture block with almonds on the right.
 Then into the oven for baking.

A number of different textures embossed into the Baker's Clay.
 They puffed up a bit. I will probably try a second batch with slight modifications.

Today I decided to print with them. First, I used a foam brayer and then a foam dauber (I describe how to make one in Issue #4 of Julie Booth Surface Design News).

I was surprised...the results were pretty good.

I'll have to explore this a bit more.

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Black & White: Texture Samplers

 The next issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News is coming out tomorrow. Usually, it's an early morning release, but will more likely be an early afternoon release tomorrow. This gives those of you interested in signing up a bit more time!

Spaghetti block print

The focus this month is on kitchen textures, which I'm calling Textures Time Three. You will learn how to make two different types of print blocks and then learn some different ways to print those blocks. I created a number of samplers before moving on to do some color fabrics (which you can see in the newsletter).

Spaghetti and almonds

I hope you will consider signing up. It's easy. Just add your email to the sign up in the right hand column of this blog. You can also read the past issues by clicking on the Past Newsletter Issues under the Newsletter Archives.

I'm off to work. Sunday could be interesting here in the Mid-Atlantic. Frankenstorm is coming!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Here are the bundles of Black & White and Black & Tan fabrics I put together from my flurry of printing earlier this month.

I created a printed sash to wrap around each bundle of four fat quarters and then stitched it together with a few beads from my collection.

Yesterday, these fabric bundles were accepted into Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery's new show, Black & White.

I'll be curious to see how well they sell. It's my first time putting my fabrics into the Gallery.

Who could be the start of a whole new phase!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn Roy and Winners Chosen

Isn't Autumn wonderful? At least it is here in Northern Virginia. I've had two glorious morning walks this weekend. The colors are blazing. It's one big blast of Roy G Biv!

This morning, names went into my husband's baseball cap for two different drawings.

The first was for the 200th post drawing to win this Peace Flag.

Congratulations go to Angela! Angela if you would please send your mailing address to and the flag will be on its way to you soon.

The second drawing was for the Indigo Challenge fabric.

Congratulations, Lisa! You are the winner. If you wouldn't mind also sending your mailing address (I know I have it somewhere, but just can't lay my hand on it).

 Thanks to those who entered these challenges.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge: INDIGO

INDIGO...not an easy color! I decided to focus on the color of INDIGO dye for my photos this month. Had to use a bit of artistic license!

Basket in the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco

Maybe more blue than indigo, but loved this building in San Francisco

Inside the indigo bowl

Indigo sand. Kittery Point, Maine

Here is the Challenge fabric for this month.

To join in the fun just post up to five INDIGO photos on your blog, website or Flickr page and leave a comment here. I will continue to update this post throughout the day with a link to your photos. If you do not have a blog, website or Flickr page and still wish to play along, I will be happy to post your photos. Leave a comment with your email address and I will be in touch.

The Challenge will continue until midnight, Saturday, October 20 Eastern Time USA. Drawing for the  INDIGO Challenge Fabric will be on Sunday, October 21. Remember to be eligible to win the Challenge fabric you must play along.

Also be sure to visit Jennifer's blog for more  INDIGO.

Fiona at Paper Ponderings has some amazing INDIGO photos showing bits of the dyeing process. Also enjoy her weekly Thursday Thoughts...this time about controlling vs. listening to the materials and the process.

I hope you will spend a bit of time with Lisa over at Arzigogolare. She has a wonderful post about her search for the ever elusive INDIGO, complete with an audio clip Indaco dagli occhi cielo (Indigo from the eyes of the sky). She promises an INDIGO creation...I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Return of "Children", Revisiting the Past

Wise One
Yesterday, my neighbor's son dropped off a package that had come while I was away in San Francisco. Inside, were two promised children, returning to me. Martha's daughter asked me if I would like to have them, and I said yes. They are another reminder of Martha and her support of my work. The original hamsa, also returned, a special request from me. I plan to frame it, to keep Martha's memory close.

Small Totem #35

As I was taking photos of these prodigal babies, I decided to snap a couple of shots of two printed and stitched works of mine from a while back. I don't display many of my own pieces, but these two seemed to fit well in my home...a little reminder of past interests...

About Faces #1

About Faces #2

I've decided to keep the 200th post drawing open for another week, as I didn't have many comments. I am offering one of my sample peace flags. All you need to do is leave a comment at this post or the original post, or a comment or Like on Facebook and I will consider you entered in the contest. I will be pulling a name from the hat on Sunday, October 21.

Also...another reminder that the Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge is this Thursday, October 18. Indigo is the color of the month...I know it's a hard one... I'm sure that Jennifer would agree that it can be open to interpretation! So, feel free to be creative! As usual, I will have the Challenge fabric drawing, also on Sunday, October 21 for those of you who participate.

Time to get back to printing in the studio.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle: Day 8 (Our Last Day)

I thought I'd share one of the highlights of our last full day here in San Francisco. After a trip to the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) we journeyed over to the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. There the second installment of Fiber Futures had just opened.

 This show is called Fiber Futures X2: Japan's Textile Pioneers. According to the brochure, it:

 ...explores a new art that is emerging from a remarkable fusion of Japanese artisanal and industrial textile making. Coaxed from materials as age-old as hemp and newly developed as microfilaments, a varied array of more than 25 works by artists from multiple generations will be on view...

Here is a sampling of some of the work on display.

I sadly report that this small museum will be closing its doors at the end of this show. I'm always sad when venues for fine crafts disappear.

We will be on our way home tomorrow. It's been a really enjoyable trip with lots of quality time with my hubby.  One thing we both agreed about is that we haven't made the time to visit the many wonderful museums in our own backyard of Washington, D.C. Hope to remedy that in the future.

Many projects and deadlines await at home...