Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Appalachian Piecework Textile Studio

I mentioned in my last post that I discovered a wonderful fiber artist in Staunton, VA and had the chance to wander about her studio/shop called Appalachian Piecework. The fiber artist is Laurie Gundersen. You might say that she is a Renaissance woman or a Jacqueline-of-All-Trades when it comes to the fiber arts.

A selection of just some of the traditional fiber techniques that Laurie excels in.
At the cooperative gallery I belonged to for 20 years we had a running joke...without fail tourists would wander in and ask, "Did you make all these?"...referring to a multitude of art and wearable pieces in techniques ranging from felted vessels to hand-dyed shibori scarves. Of course, we had to politely reply, "No, we have 65 artists producing these works." When I walked into Laurie's shop, I figured she was one of many artists displaying work in the space. There were woven baskets, pieced quilts and handbags, woven as well as shibori scarves, nuno felted accessories, hooked rugs, wool felt Penny quilts, and stitched wall pieces. So imagine my surprise when I found out that she actually did make all these items!

I'm now wishing I'd purchased some of these gorgeous shibori silks.
Rolls of vintage fabrics and a beautiful hand-stitched piece in the works.

I was first drawn to some of the stitched and framed pieces having just recently taught both my Story Cloth class and Healing Cloth workshop. Laurie combines natural hand-dyed fabrics (including Indigo and Osage) with bits and pieces of old quilts. There are lots of beautiful hand-stitched details. When I asked her about them, she informed me that she is presently working hard to produce works for a solo exhibition in October in New Haven, CT. I asked her if I could take photos of her shop/studio being careful not to include shots of the pieces for that show. She very graciously said, "yes". In addition to creating her own works, Laurie also repairs/restores vintage quilts and handwoven coverlets.

This cozy corner has rolls of hand-dyed (many using natural dyes) wool felt. I loved the colors and bought a number of them thinking how great they'd look with some hand stitching.
Laurie uses many natural dyes.

Her shop is located at the train station in Staunton, Virginia. I highly recommend a visit!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Virginia is for Lovers!

Flowers from the Farmers' Market in Staunton, VA.

My husband Mark and I will be celebrating 30 years of married bliss this coming June. We decided to take an early anniversary trip playing tourists in our state of Virginia. So, while most folks were heading for the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, we headed west to the mountains.

Although we've been living in Virginia for 27 years, we've never made it out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and in particular, Skyline Drive. Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive start from the north at Front Royal. After a stop at the Tourist Information Center in Front Royal to pick up brochures and some advice, we started our winding 40 mile ride to Skyland Resort.

View from our room.

Our rustic room had a gorgeous view. It was crazy windy when an afternoon weather front came through.
Sunset from our room.

The following morning we headed off...65 more miles of switch backs and gorgeous overlooks.

We eventually landed in Staunton, VA. A cute, historic town, home of Mary Baldwin College and Woodrow Wilson's birthplace.

Staunton, VA.

We loved this town with its antique shops, art galleries, used book stores, yummy restaurants, farmers' market, one-of-a-kind shops including an art glass shop with glass blowing demos, 3 breweries and a winery. I had a great time meeting fiber artist, Laurie Gunderson and plan to write a separate post about her shop, Appalachian Piecework Textile Studio. We stayed at the gorgeous Stonewall Jackson Hotel and had a great meal at Mill Street Grill.  Our second night we walked next door to the Blackfriar's Playhouse for Othello. The building is a replica of one of Shakespeare's  theaters and plays are performed by candlelight (electric in this case). The actors can see and interact with the audience. Great fun! If you have a chance, this is a great place for a romantic getaway.

Flowers at the Farmers Market
Building details

The last leg of our trip was Charlottesville...home of the University of Virginia. We spent the day we arrived at the eight-block historic downtown mall (an urban park). It was a gorgeous day to be outside and we lingered at lunch before walking and window (and some actual) shopping where I found the C'ville Arts Coop.

Our last full day away we headed off to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. We had a tour of the lower level of this amazing home and then spent the next couple of hours walking the grounds and gardens.

My hubby walking the grounds of Monticello.

I'm back home and believe it or not I spent most of the day planning my two upcoming summer trips!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rich Stories

I've been eagerly awaiting this last class of Fabric Painting, Printing, and Stitching to Tell a Story with Cloth (aka Story Cloth). I was not disappointed...

As Barbara, Susan and Jane pulled out their projects, I felt overwhelmed by the rich colors and beautiful stitches.

This was Barbara's first experience with stitching freely, letting the emotion of her story carry her needle and thread. She grew up in Hungary learning traditional stitchery so this was a new experience. She is certainly a natural!

Susan brought in two pieces with her printed figures. The class enjoyed interpreting all the possible stories reflected in this simple (yet really complex) piece made from printed tea bags.

The second piece is also very mysterious...who are these figures? The stitching is quite beautiful and rhythmic.

Jane continued to work on her humorous story of the moles and her son's dog. She has wonderful plans for this piece that is coming together. She has a deadline...her son's birthday in mid-June. I can't wait to see the finished piece!

We are planning to get together in a month to see how the pieces progress. It might be time for me to join in with a story of my own!

Thank you students! You were such a rewarding group to teach!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Story Cloth: An Update

Barbara stitching the sunrise.
 Fabric Painting, Printing and Stitching to Tell a Story with Cloth (aka Story Cloth) is going into its last week. I've immensely enjoyed teaching this group of students and I will be sorry to say goodbye to them.

This past week there was still a bit of painting and printing but the main focus was on stitching to add dimension, texture and details to the stories.

Jane printed the pesky moles in her story. They will be enjoying their breakfast while her son's dog barks and digs far away at the tunnel entrance.

Sample prints of Jane's moles.

Susan printed figures on tea bags last week and started stitching them onto fabric this week. She's got me so excited about tea bags...I have a collection growing and hope to do a future newsletter about printing on them.

Susan printed figures on tea bags.
Stitching them to fabric.
A second piece with printed figures. Susan plans to do a lot of stitching on this one!
Barbara is working on a series of ten scenes that will be presented and hung in embroidery hoops. These are based on her impressions of the movie, Midnight's Children, an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel.

Additional fabrics for Barbara's story.

Fabrics that feel like India.

Auditioning a fabric for one of the story scenes.

You can understand why I will miss this group! More to come as we finish up the class this Wednesday.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Searching for Roy G Biv III: Blue Update #3

It's the third Thursday and this month the search brings us to the color BLUE.

A trip to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and a walk along King Street I found BLUE everywhere...

Where did you find BLUE this month?

Join in our colorful blog hop! Post up to 5 BLUE photos and leave a comment here or on Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog. I'll continue to update this post through Saturday, May 17th.

Looking forward to seeing lots of BLUES!
Check out my partner-in-Roy, Jennifer's BLUES that run the gamut from kiddie coaster to luscious threads.
Jill at Recycled Daze has some sky BLUES (I'll be visiting Monticello next week!).
Maya at Million Little Stitches has Vishnu BLUES.
Fiona at Paper Ponderings has transportable BLUE.
Liz Davidson is dreaming in BLUE.

Lisa at arzigogolare spent a day looking up at ever-changing BLUES.
Susan at Flying Dog Studio has Seattle BLUES.
Sharmon Davidson has some breath-taking BLUES.

BLUE is a go-to color for artist, Mary Ann at Blue Sky Dreaming (it's even in the name of her blog!)

Margaret at Charlton Stitcher has some gentle ocean BLUES.

 Joan sent along this beautiful night sky BLUE. A friend of hers took this photo (shared with permission) called, Moon Shadow.

Next month it's INDIGO on Thursday, June 18th.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Roy Reminder: Feelin' the Blues

Just a reminder that next Thursday it's time for another round of Roy! As you can probably guess, we've made it to BLUE on the color spectrum.

To play along, post up to 5 BLUE photos on Thursday, May 15 and leave a comment here or on Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog. We will link to your post. It's lots of fun...a very colorful blog hop!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teaching Catch-Up: Student Work from Recent Classes

Barbara M-C

Time for a little catch-up (no, not ketchup or catsup)...

 Tomorrow, is class #3 of my five-session class, Fabric Painting, Printing, and Stitching to Tell a Story with Cloth (or what I like to call Story Cloth). So far we've been focusing in on story settings. This week we invite the characters into the picture. My students already have plans for where there stories are heading. It's so exciting!

Barbara M-C

Barbara M-C

We did some gelatin printing last week. Gelatin printing brings out the young explorer in me! First, is the fact that the gelatin plate is soft, and cool to the touch...should I say sensual...!? Then there is the constant surprise of the beautiful ghost print. Layering prints is when things really start to sing...when the stories start to come out...

Jane H.

Jane H.

Susan P.

Susan P.

More to come as we forge ahead.

On Saturday, I taught, Inspired by Nature: Creative Fabric Designs. I had three students new to painting and printing fabric and one continuing student. It was a fun day, though I jam-packed the class with techniques. As I continue to teach, I'm learning (still learning!) that sometimes it's better to teach fewer techniques and let the students delve into them. I'm thinking of re-structuring this class for the future.

Barbara H.
Barbara H.

Barbara H.

Cindy B.

Deborah H.

Kathy S.