Sunday, January 27, 2013

Learning from My Students

African Shields by Kathy R.

Yesterday, I taught another session of my workshop, African Influence: Textile Inspirations. In this class, students look at fabrics from Africa along with motifs from books and then create their own fabrics.

Assorted print blocks by Maria C.

Maria C.'s block sampler.

Kathy R.'s block sampler.

Sylvia A.'s block sampler.

I had three very three industrious students who were up for experimenting. I joked with my students that I always learn at least one new thing every time I teach. Well, this time I learned two things!

First, I managed to leave the bottle of Sienna Brown transparent fabric paint at home. No worries, we started experimenting with mixing up some browns from the paints we did have. It made me realize that I really have to plan a play date in the studio just for color mixing. I need to get out of my color rut and see all the various subtle color combinations I can mix. The great thing about needing to mix up browns is that the students showed no fear and started mixing up all sorts of interesting colors!

Kathy R. burlap and moldable foam blocks.

Maria C. with carved block.

Maria C. with moldable foam block.

Sylvia A. with carved and craft foam blocks.

I learned the second new thing, while I was demonstrating how to work with moldable foam print blocks. I like to show students that by laying objects of different depths onto soft upholstery foam, you can get all the different objects to emboss in the block. I decided to try an experiment by laying textured shelf liner down on the foam first and then some small pebbles and a piece of chain. To my surprise, all the textures embossed, including the shelf liner! This led the students to try their own experiments with designing with the shelf liner. Here are a couple of the fabrics created with this technique.

Kathy R. with moldable foam block.

Maria C with moldable foam block.

I was very pleased with how the day went. I feel energized to get back to experimenting!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

First Snow

Woke up this morning to the first snow of the season...only an inch but enough to haul out the snow boots!

This piece of fabric seemed to say Winter to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hearts & Lace Teaser

I was back in the studio today working on Issue #9 of Julie B Booth Surface Design News. The focus this month was to limit myself to using two items: freezer paper and doilies. The theme: Hearts & Lace in preparation for Valentine's Day.

This issue will be coming out on Saturday, January 26. If you'd like to learn more, feel free to sign up (see right hand column). Every fourth Saturday of the month, I get inspiration from my kitchen and come up with interesting surface design ideas to share. In this upcoming issue, I also talk about the challenge of working within limits.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Letter A Week: Test Prints


I spent Sunday in the studio. Lots of printing and fabric painting.

Finally, did some test prints of the first four  ALAW 2013 letters.

I have a few possibilities about how I want to work with the print blocks. Had an inspiration at 11:50 PM (when I should have been in bed!)...I like the color washed background and may try printing them again in a deep brown then add some stitched highlights.

I have to figure out what the final presentation of all the letters will look like, as well.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roy Winner and ALAW Progress

My husband, Mark pulled this name out of the cap...

Congratulations, Judy Martin! You are the winner of this month's Black & White Challenge fabric. Please email me you mailing address and I will send it your way (you can email me at:

This week in the studio, I managed to get the first four letters for the A Letter A Week 2013 Peace alphabet completed. I plan to do a test print today. I have a few ideas about how I want to present the final letters...still need to work that all out.

Also, in the studio today, I'll be working on the next issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News (Issue #9 will be out this coming Saturday, January 26). I'll be spending the day working with doilies and freezer paper, the theme...Hearts & Lace. Experimenting to commence!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge: Black and White

It's that time of the month again...the third Thursday. Jennifer and I are once again Searching for Roy...or after Roy, as I like to call it! This month's Search is for Black & White. My photos this month are details from the exhibits I saw at the SCAD Museum: Little Black Dress, Jack Whitten: Erasures and Stretching the Limits: Fibers in Contemporary Painting.

 If you are new to the Search, each month, on the third Thursday, we invite you to post photos of the color of the month. So here's hoping that you will post some Black & White photos on your blog, website or Flickr page and make a comment here. I will link back to you. If you don't have any one of those, you can leave a comment with your email and I'll be in touch to help post your photos. The Challenge starts today and continues through Saturday, January 19 (midnight Eastern USA time).

As an added incentive each month, I create a special Challenge Fabric. If you play along, you will have the opportunity to win this fabric. I will be drawing names on Sunday morning...but you have to play in order to be eligible.

Looking forward to seeing your Black & White!

Check out Jennifer's blog for more Black & White...

Judy Martin of Judy's Journal has a Black & White transfer of her father. It is part of a quilt she made about her family. There's a joke as well!

Susan Bowers of tracemarks shares her collection of artist's books including some in Black &White.

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.--Thich Nhat Hanh . Fiona Dempster of Paper Ponderings explores this thoughtful quote in her Thursday Thoughts. She also illustrates it with a beautiful piece of Black & White calligraphic art, Peace in Every Step.

Lisa McGarry of arzigogolare is Capturing Shadows. Once again she puts a new spin on the Challenge with her shadow play in Black & White.

Ersi Marina or Ersimarina's Workroom has an eclectic collection of Black & White. Scenes of her bedroom, broken glass, her mother's gloves (a favorite of mine!), scissors hiding in striped fabric and a beautiful fractal of a rose.

Liz Davidson has posted some heavenly Black & White night shadows!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tallis Reconnection

A friend of mine got a commission to create a tallis, or prayer shawl, for a girl's Bat Mitzvah.

Since my son had his Bar Mitzvah just over nine years ago, my friend asked for some information on the size etc. of his tallis.

So today I went digging and found the woven bag in which it is stored. I unrolled it and realized that it needed to be ironed...or at least have a bit of looking after.

The tallis was woven by another friend and I did the embroidery on the collar.

It's interesting to me that even nine years ago I had a deep connection with the hamsa symbol.

The Star of David has the Hebrew word Chai which means life.

It was nice reconnecting with this ceremonial piece. I'll be curious to see how the commissioned tallis created by my quilt artist friend turns out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Visit to the SCAD Museum

Nick Cave detail
 Yesterday, my Mom and I took a trip to the Savannah College of Art or SCAD Museum.

Some of you may remember my last visit to this museum in April 2012 when Jennifer Q and I were having a little back and forth...just the beginnings of the Search for Roy G Biv.

So to start...yes...the Search for Roy is continuing...or I should say after Roy, as we are continuing with Black and White. So if you'd like to play along, post your black and white photos next Thursday, January 17.

 Back to the SCAD Museum... I have fallen in love with this little museum! First, the exhibits are always interesting. There seems to always be at least one exhibit that is fiber this case two exhibits. Students from the school are the docents. They are extremely friendly and seem to be very happy to engage you and talk about the exhibit where they are stationed. And...they know a lot! My Mom and I spent a good while looking at an exhibit of collector cards having to do with war and the exhibit we might have passed by had the student docent not been as engaging or informative (and a former soldier himself).

The two exhibits that were fiber related included, Little Black Dress, a wonderful exhibit of couture black dresses, the oldest being from 1907, the newest for a 2013 collection. The exhibit is eventually heading to New York City (Jennifer, you should be on the look out for it!).

The other fiber exhibit was, Stretching the Limits: Fibers in Contemporary Painting. This exhibit: highlights artists who are exploring fibers-based media within the language of painting. This group exhibition broadens the dialogue of contemporary painting practices by showcasing the ways in which formal considerations such as color, texture and composition are created with thread, fabric, clothing and sculptural manipulations of canvas. There were some familiar names such as Sheila Hicks and Nick Cave.

This piece is made of sewn ankle bells!

Close up of the ankle bells.

Sheila Hicks

Nick Cave

Thread paintings
Expect to see some additional photos as part of my after Roy, Black and White Search next Thursday.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Peace Alphabet: First Ideas

I've been doodling and sketching some ideas for ALAW 2013.

Playing around with letter shapes and doves for the peace alphabet challenge.

Although these are fun, not sure that it's the direction I'll ultimately take.

I'm down in Savannah for the rest of the week visiting my parents...assessing some things. My Mom and I headed into the city to see some of the exhibits at the SCAD Museum. I'll share some of those photos tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mending Redux and "Seed" Fabric

 This evening my son headed back for his last semester of college. It is very hard for me to believe this! How is it possible that four years could go by so quickly?

Last night, he asked if I could do some mending again of his favorite cargo shorts. So today I was patching over patches! I happened to find a piece of salted fabric I'd created with browns and blacks that seemed to blend well with the camouflage fabric in the shorts. These shorts are evolving into an art piece! Eventually, I will have to steal them away and really go at it with the stitching!

Today, I also had some correspondence with Karen Anne Glick. If you don't know of her or her work, she is a very creative quilt artist who has challenged herself to make a small quilt a day. These pieces are very spontaneous and are always accompanied by a short poem or Haiku. They are wonderful visual surprises!

Her quilt today featured pieces of the White Challenge fabric she won from me for playing along in the Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge.

Here is the block I used to create the fabric. It is made of pieces of rolled gift wrap glued to corrugated cardboard.

It was a surprising block and after printing with it, I was reminded of pumpkin seeds. Karen Anne was reminded of sunflower seeds and of a special porcelain sunflower seed she received as a gift. The seed is from an amazing art installation by Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei. There is a marvelous video about the installation on Karen's blog today.

That's all for now. My eyes are a bit tired from all the hand stitching I've done over the last few days. Time to relax and get reused to my empty nest.