Thursday, July 30, 2009
As I walk from the dorm each morning, I pass the loveliest little spot full of cattails and queen anne's lace. While the campus is not entirely bucolic like this, it is lovely and manicured and buildings are a much easier walk than they were at Morrisville. The teachers here are top-notch and some of them have taught at places like Arrowmont, where Judy Langille tells me she will be teaching in September. The class is called"Torn Paper and Textures:The Art of Original Cloth". It is, by the way - a wonderful class - which I know from first hand experience. The dates are Sept.20 - 26. Go to www.arrowmont.org; Judy tells me there are all sorts of scholarships and deals available that can be found on their site. Back to this campus - today there will be a tour for the public of what's going on in the classrooms around QBL and I hope I'll have a chance to duck out at some point and see for myself. Yesterday, my class was just getting warmed up with some exercises on working with photos and here is Lori's quick study. More from everybody else later. I'm off to start my day!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Last night was the mini-mall at QBL - the vendors were open and the teachers and students who had goodies to sell were there, too. Bob Adams sold some quilts -- one of which I was sorely tempted to buy, but was grabbed up by someone just ahead of me. Randy Keenan was vending Helene Davis' fabrics and wonderful t-shirts and I bought a yard of fabric and a wonderful long-sleeved tee which I will wear tomorrow. Judy Blaydon was selling prints of her work and keeping her company was Rosalie Dace. She was in a conversation when I snapped this photo, listening intently to someone.And Jane Sassaman, who spoke tonight about how she designs her fabrics, was there last night with a table full of goodies for sale. She has a wardrobe of snazzy aprons made from her bright fabrics. I could use one of those, if only I didn't have to make it. I don't sew. My friend Barbara Conte-Gaugel, who lives in Syracuse, came to visit me and we caught up with each other. It was so good to see her after several years - and it is always as though no time has gone by. Today, first day of new class, which is turning out to be a guided studio class. This semi-private workshop has five participants with varied goals and it will be exciting to see how their work develops over the next couple of days.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It is already Wednesday morning--where did yesterday go?? I don't know what was going on at this table, but obviously, everybody was having fun. That's the kind of class it was -- and I'm sorry it's over. If I remember correctly, almost nobody had done screen printing before and they all surprised themselves with the fabric they ended up printing. For a change (or should I say "as usual"?) some of that work gave me fabric envy - aka I wish I'd printed that! Denise's fabric looked good enough to eat and I wish I could remember how she got those cool shapes on the upper right. I'll be interested in seeing what she does with the blue fabric on the lower left. Ruth printed this piece on some out-of-date fabric she had never used and it made a huge difference.
More of Charlotte's work. Lori's pieces I can't remember whose this graphic fabric was. Diane printed on a piece of old linen and I think she'll have a hard time cutting this one up. The photo does not do it justice. It's been such a full schedule that I can't believe the first part of the week is over! But tomorrow I start another class - so more adventures.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I lucked out again with a great class! Was too busy giving input and so forth to shoot many pictures, but I did get a few in process. Today we worked with paper resists, found object resists, syringes, and we prepared glue screens to work with tomorrow. In the meantime, a couple of pix - Donna's piece in process was done with freezer paper on a screen. Came out great!And I think this was Charlotte's - tape on a screen. And I'm thinking these were Sherry's, done with newspaper resists. Cool, huh? Tune in tomorrow.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Meantime, the weekend has been good. I drove up to Syracuse yesterday, settled into the dorm suite that I am sharing with Jane Sassaman, Dorothy Caldwell, and Elizabeth Barton. Then I went over to the classroom and unloaded supplies.
Last night, Jane and I went to dinner with Anna Hergert, Donna Lamb, executive director of the Schweinfurth, and three veteran QBL'ers - Emily, Barbara, and Alice. We ate downtown in an area that reminded me of the Short North in Columbus: dinner was excellent and a lot of fun. Barbara, Anna HegertEmily, clowning around, and Donna. If you think Emily looks familiar it's because you just saw her identical twin in the previous photo.
Jane Sassaman, obviously enjoying the spectacle.
This morning, Jane and I went to breakfast at a place called the Egg-Plant, in East Syracuse. Of course we got lost -- but eventually got there and had a good repast. Afterwards, we found our way to the art fair downtown and spent an hour wandering around, looking for something we couldn't live without. Jane bought two long skirts and although I tried one on, it made me look like a blimp so I left it there. At dinner, it was big-hug time for some friends - Sally Davis, Sandy Donabed, and Randy Keenan whom I have not seen since last month at crit group(LOL). Also, students who have been in class with me at QSDS and other places -- it's always fun to see familiar faces. Judy Warren Blaydon was the first person I saw yesterday when I arrived and I was so happy to see her after 9 years. Yikes - how is it possible? It was good to see Jane Dunnewold, catch up with Rosalie Dace's adventures, and talk to Bob Adams at dinner, too. I was doing more table-hopping than eating (which might not have been a bad thing). Bruce Hoffman spoke tonight and was his usual charming, frank, shoot-from-the-hip self. The thunderstorm started while he was speaking and while the rain slowed a bit by the time the evening was over, we all got a bit wet walking back to the dorm. QBL's new venue at Onandaga County College is lovely: the facilities are nice (and air conditioned - hooray!) and everything is pretty walkable. However, my umbrella is in the car and since it is raining and I have some quilts to take over with me, I will probably drive to class tomorrow. I should have more pix to post by tomorrow night.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I had forgotten how liberating it can be not to know what time it is. I am rarely without a watch on my left wrist and The Bracelet on my right. But this afternoon, in the midst of packing in preparation for my teaching trip to QBL tomorrow, I had to run errands and - eeeek -- I ran out without my watch. I made the round to Staples, Dollar Tree, K-Mart, and Whole Foods - all of which are in the same strip mall. I was so relaxed, just wandering from store to store, la-di-da that I lost track of time. And guess what? It was nice for a change. I recycled my toner and picked up a pack of rubber bands - odd sizes & colors; a pack of two sharpie-wannabe black markers; a box of pencils and some cut-out cardboard letters I might be able to use for screen printing in class next week. Then I wandered into K -Mart, where I found black cotton/rayon t-shirts on sale that might discharge nicely at some point. And my favorite summer uniform - the black capri pants (or whatever they call them these days) - somewhat unflattering but the next size up are three sizes too big.. They're cool (we're talking temperature, not style), comfortable, and I can't worry about the other part. Going into the dressing room, I had more items than they let you take in, so I left some with the attendant. Of course they were gone when I got out -- put back by some employee who needed to look busy. Fortunately, I had left my watch at home and could not aggravate over how much time it took me to remember where I had found them in the first place. Off to Whole Foods and I was so relaxed by the time I got home that I may go out without my watch again sometime. By now, I am mostly packed (having removed the labels from my new garments) and have even started to stitch the quilt I finished this week. Another in what is turning out to be my X series - but certainly not by design and not all in succession. I am taking a sewing machine with me in the god-forbid case that I find myself without anything to do one night at QBL. I also unearthed some hidden treasures tonight: pieces I created four or five years ago and had rolled up and stuck in the corner. They are fairly large and I suppose I should do something to finish or mount them. I didn't like them at all when I finished them but I quite like them now, with the passage of time. Here are the two I prefer. So -- time to get some sleep so I can finish packing and leave in the morning. It i so nice to be driving instead of flying and shipping. Will post from the wilds of upstate New York.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Yesterday, I finally finished putting together a quilt I have been working on for what seems to be months. I had arranged and rearranged it so many times that I think I shall make a power point presentation out of it for my Jump-starting the Art Quilt workshop next week: anatomy of a piece. A couple of the fabrics I used are on the left. It's really interesting to see how it has morphed and changed. Finally, with some crit and feedback that kept me from giving up entirely, it has come together so that I am, if not deleriously happy, at least satisfied with it. Now I can stitch it and move on. I also played with some screen printing yesterday - going back into a couple of fabrics, and pulling a print or two on paper. This is on newsprint - an audition to see whether I liked it before printing it on fabric. Yes, I liked it, but I never did it on the fabric. The orange print is the original; the left one is the ghost. This was a deconstructed screen print on fabric - the first pull was subtle. Here's the second pull, which I did on paper. I really like this.
Off to start the day's errands and appointments before I spend a few hours in the studio.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Impossible to photograph the raindrops: at least with my camera and lack of training. But before I have even have my coffee this morning, I am at the sliding glass door, photographing the reflections on the deck. This is my glass-topped table. The last two days have been beautiful, so I suppose it was too much to ask that it continue. That's okay. This weather has its own beauty, which I am trying in vain to capture. Here's a better reflection of the table. Almost like glass reflected in glass.
and look -- my trees!In the front, my poor, sad garden is looking healthier. Everything looks exaggeratedly, vividly, green in this weather. Or maybe it really is. But just to the left of all this green, another palette more indicative of the day's mood. I slept late and half the morning is gone in the procrastination of taking pictures and writing. I need to go have coffee, pay bills, and then,this afternoon, go back to the studio to do more work on two pieces in process.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
which is never, ever my favorite day. Since childhood, I have hated Sundays. So this weekend, a double whammy. We went to the park this afternoon. Verona Park is about two minutes by car from my door: it was designed by the Olmsteads, who designed Central Park. It has 54 acres, bridges,2 lakes, lawns, tennis courts, a boathouse and it is lovely. Olmstead also designed Branch Brook Park in Newark - another county park that has more than 2,000 cherry trees (greater both in variety and number than the famed Washington, D.C., display). But I digress...There was an arts event going on, so there were more people than on a normal Saturday - and tonight at 5:pm there was a free production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We could not stay for it. Marty sat by the tennis courts while I went out of the park to get the car so I could retrieve him. Here is some of what I saw as I walked. Maybe if I'm lucky, tomorrow will feel like a Saturday. I will go to the farm to buy corn and peaches and then go to the studio. Late afternoon, Todd and Lesli Gillman and our grandkids are stopping en route from VT to D.C. after Lesli and the 3 kids had a month at camp. And their uncle Ross cousin Alexander will be coming by to visit. Hamburgers and chips on the grill: let's hope the rain keeps its pants on. I meant to do some art tonight but can't seem to get going. Maybe tomorrow in the studio will be productive.
I like to say that I started printing on fabric because I’m such a terrible dyer. However, since I started printing, I haven’t made a great effort to improve my dyeing that would give me the good, rich colors that so many people covet. I can buy those from Helene Davis, master dyer extraordinaire.
In my experience, you can save almost anything– but even I have been known to throw fabrics in the garbage. Not, however, before I have gone back in and added layers in hopes of improving the cloth.
Since I’ve been cleaning out and sorting my fabrics, I’ve found more than my share that fall into the category of “just because you can (use them) doesn’t mean you should. Of course, this is a matter of opinion (one person’s trash, etc) – but did I really want to use something that looks like this?
Lots of layers but b-l-a-h. Layer #1 was a deconstructed screenprint on white fabric. Layer #2 was a blotchy overdye in golden yellow. Layer #3 was tape on a screen, which looked too dark, so I washed it out. Layer #4 was a misguided attempt to add another color with oil pastel rubbings (in red).I tried cutting a strip, but it didn’t look like much.
Then, I wanted to see what it would look like if I cut it into squares. But this one just reminded me of a dissected frog in high school biology class.
At that point, I gave up and put it away. Yesterday, as I was sorting my stash, I found it and decided to try again. I got out my screen, tore newspaper strips and added irregular black stripes. The finishing touch was a layer of red stripes, courtesy of a Thermofax screen. Much better.
But now it has six layers! According to the formula for pricing hand-printed cloth, this piece (about a fat eighth) would sell for about $8. Not enough to put food on the table and below poverty-level wages per hour, considering the time I put in. So why do I do this? Why do you do this? (if you do).
Ever a glutton for punishment, I did one more experiment. I had found an over-zealously over-dyed piece, resulting only in values so close the layers below hardly showed.
There was so much dye in the fabric that it would not have taken any more, so I decided to take out some of the color, instead. Out came the Thermofax screens and the Thiox paste (I prefer it to commercial discharge paste). And this is how it turned out.
Not bad but it still needs something and will probably percolate for a while. At least there is a difference in value. What would you do next?
What fascinates me is that no two people would do the same thing with this fabric and I’m thinking that I ought to just tear up an unsatisfactory piece into bits, send the bits off to a variety of people, and see what they do with it. Now THAT would be an interesting experiment! Any volunteers, should I decide to do this one day?? E-mail me, just in case I get around to this, or any other experiment.
Now that I’ve done True Confessions about some of my failures, you can be confident that anything goes! And I invite you to visit my website, if you haven't already done so, to see what I do with my fabrics. And before you go, don't forget to leave a comment here!
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