Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Full Wednesday Part 1

Detail of gelatin print by Karen M.

A lot happened in my classes yesterday, so I decided to talk about the daytime class today and the nighttime class a bit later...

Yesterday was the second session of To Tell a Story with Cloth. This is the session where I introduce gelatin plate printing (monoprinting). I find that working with the gelatin not only results in visually beautiful layered prints, but also seems to connect one to the sense of touch. While smoothing a piece of fabric over the gelatin plate to pick up the paint, you can't help but notice the cool, soft surface. It's really comforting and sensual...and feels connected to childhood.

Karen M. really got "into" printing with the gelatin!

At first, students can be a bit tentative with their prints but then something happens...a freedom...and the prints really take off!

Karen M.
Karen M.
Jan B.
Jan B.
Amy P.
Amy P.
Kathy F.
Kathy F.
Lee W.
Lee W.
Marine L.
Marine L.

After lunch, I decided to present a brand new (to me) exercise in cut paper based on some of the concepts in Molly Bang's wonderful book, Picture This. I gave each student a piece of white and a piece of black paper. I then opened up a package of construction paper and also origami paper. The origami paper packet consisted of 100 colors in 6" squares. OH MY!!! Such a feast for the eyes...I gleefully spread the colors out on the table :). Then I asked students to choose to illustrate one or more scenarios or emotions. The scenarios included: 1. A parent protecting its young from danger, 2. Two lovers dancing, or 3. Children playing on a beach. I also listed a number of emotions including isolation, anger, love, joy, etc. The "rules" were to use white and/or black, and up to three colors. The paper could be torn or cut and emphasis was on the use of color, shapes and placement to represent the scenarios in an abstract way. My hope was for students to connect to something inside...again in a child-like way... and really see how moving colored shapes around could result in an emotional connection or knowing.

Amy P. : Scenario 1. Amy said that the purple color made her think of her mom..

Lee W.: Scenario 1

Karen M.: Scenario 2
Karen M.: The opposite of Scenario 2
Lee W.: Scenario 2.
Kathy F.: a version of Scenario 2. Representing her and her husband who have been married for almost 50 years!
Marine L.: Variation on Scenario 2. This piece represents her.
Marine L.: Variation of Scenario 2. This piece represents her husband.

Jan B.: Lifeline representing loves and losses. Jan said that this tint of violet represents death to her.
Jan B.: The Greatest Light Show on Earth! This is what her grandfather used to say when he sat out and watched lightening storms.

The visual results and discussions about how students felt about the process and what students saw in each others work was really enlightening! I am now trying to figure out how to incorporate more exercises like this one in a future class.

Thanks students for being so open to the process!

Monday, April 18, 2016

April Stitch-In...Goodbye Teaism!

A detail of Alice's piece.

Sunday was the Stitch-In...our last one at Teaism which will be closing in a week. Our group will miss this spot...with it's great light and tables...We'll especially miss the big wood table with the square cloth cushions...a great gathering spot. Next month, we'll try out a new place...and perhaps another the following month...until we find another good fit.

It was a gorgeous spring day, so I do appreciate that Susan P., Laurie T. and Alice A. came by to stitch and share. Laurie and Alice were in the most recent Healing Cloth workshop and brought their cloths along to stitch on. Susan is in the Hand Stitching class this semester and brought along her first stitching assignment.

Alice is working on a piece that brings back childhood memories of a favorite "special" spot...a meadow with a large glacial rock. When she told me about this memory...I couldn't help but think of my own childhood memories of hanging out in the woods, the large rocks in our side yard that seemed to form a castle, a large neighborhood field with cattails and areas of squishy mud, the swampy pond at the end of our street and the small creeks that ran into it. Alice is planning to add a small bird (or two). One will be on her hand. This piece is already so evocative...I can't wait to see how it continues.

Alice's piece so far.
Some stitched details. The blouse is part of a Mexican embroidery she inherited.

Laurie stitched on some of the details for her piece. These dimensional flowers will be appliqued to the larger cloth and she plans to stitch a beautiful poem to complete the piece. While working on the flowers, she was reminded her mother's blouse which had free-standing pansy appliques.

Laurie's dimensional flower appliques.
Another how this pop's off the fabric!

It's amazing how stitching fabric can connect one to vivid memories!

Susan is working away on the Line theme for Hand Stitching. She brought in two completed pieces and started working on a third. Aren't these great!

Susan's Line Challenge piece.
Susan's Line Sampler piece.

I stitched backings onto some more of my book pages. The next step will be to complete borders and bindings. My goal is to have the book completed by the end of April.

I also brought along some recent purchases from Fiber on a Whim...hand-dyed cheesecloth and burlap! I'm just imagining these with stitching!

Hand-dyed burlap and cheesecloth from Fiber on a Whim.
Love the gradations of color in these cheesecloth fat quarters! Can't wait to play with them!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stories Starting and Getting into Stitching

Amy P.: Liquid soap resist. that post title may sound a bit confusing...but I am trying to have an easy-ish day after teaching back-to-back classes yesterday!

The great thing is ...I have two wonderful groups of students. In the morning, I'm teaching, To Tell a Story with Cloth and in the evening, Hand Stitching. I'm so glad that I set up the classes up that way. The morning class is very active and full of color and the evening class is a slower pace with thoughtful stitching.

So here's what went on yesterday...

In Story Cloth, we started by painting backgrounds and creating our first print blocks. The premise of the class is for the story to unfold...that we set the scene and the characters start to show up. Some colorful beginnings, that's for sure!

Kathy F.: Liquid soap resist.
Marine L.: Foam brush painting.
Kathy B.: Stamping with craft foam.
Jan B. salted fabric.
Jan B.: Moldable foam block prints over liquid soap resist.
Karen M.: Detail using craft foam blocks.
Hattie B.: Hot glue, craft foam and moldable foam block prints.
A pile of print blocks I brought to share with the class.

In Hand Stitching, we started stitching, focusing on line stitches. This time round, I had the students do the first Journal Prompt in class...A Line Can Be... then we started with the stitches. I think that this was a good change to the format. The students got into playing/doodling lines and I know that they will be applying this playful attitude to their stitching!

My Journal Prompt drawings for lines.
Christina H.'s Journal Prompt drawings.
Christina H.: Line stitch sampler beginnings.
Claudia E.'s Journal Prompt.
Claudia E.: Line stitch sampler beginnings.
Kate G: Line Stitch sampler.
Kate G.: Stem stitch challenge.
Susan P.: Journal Prompt.
Susan P.: Line stitch sampler beginnings.

Apologies to Lee and Peggy...who both had lovely painted backgrounds that I somehow missed photographing. I'll be sure to include you in the next post.