2019 A New Year – A Stronger Focus

It is already 7 days into the new year! Where did the time go already! We were away for Christmas and didn’t get home until early New Years day so it feels like I got a late start to 2019. Many things I do the last week of the year didn’t get done until the first week of the new year.
But that time away actually because being our of my normal environment helped me to see things in a different context. There wasn’t the normal visual and mental noise going on. It helped give me some clarity about what I want to focus on for 2019. You know, I call myself an artist and sometimes I feel a bit like a fraud. The main reason is why I make art. I don’t make art because I have this burning desire to do so. All my work stems from my desire to learn and to share what I learn with others.

Learning

Learning is what drives me. If I couldn’t learn anymore, I’d just as well die. When I want to learn something, there is no stopping me.
In Las Vegas I learned machine knitting. In South Carolina I’ve learned some computer coding on my first compute, the Commodore Vic 20. In Arizona it was tole painting and smocking. The smocking I taught myself. In Little I got into weaving and took a complete upholstery training class. While living in Italy I learned pattern making and during our last tour in Turkey I tutored with a Turkish tailor, learning all sorts of new things. After retiring I went back to school to learn more pattern making and got back into machine knitting.
After moving back to Florida, I switched gears a bit and in 2000 I learned how to make slipcover When I discovered the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild in 2008 it opened up a whole new world of surface design. I’ve learned screen printing, dyeing, rusting, marbling, discharge, indigo and eco-print just to name a few.

Sharing

Sharing my knowledge with others is also super important. Knowledge in a vacuum is useless in my opinion. I’ve been told that I am a very good teacher, and I do agree with that. I work very hard at it.
In Italy I taught sewing classes and in Seattle Taught several years at a national machine conference.
After taking a slipcover class in 2000 I continued to teaching myself, improving my skill to the point where in 2004 taught for the first time at the annual slipcover conference. I taught each year until the last conference in 2013. Since joining the surface design guild I’ve learned and taught many surface design techniques to guild members and other groups in my area.

Inspiring

Since starting on this textile art journey, so many people have inspired me. Jan Navalas, Linda Dawson and Jane Dunnewold to name a few. And the many members of the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild. Now it is time for me to pay it forward. Not exactly sure how, but I know it will come to me.

Being True To Thy Self

I guess this should have not come as a surprise since I’ve learned something new and taught others everywhere I lived. To say that I love learning and teaching would be an understatement. And to give myself credit, I am very good at both of these things. It is in my DNA, so why fight it. To do so would be swimming upstream, and I don’t swim. To paraphrase the Iseley Brothers It’s My Thing.

2018 Review

I usually don’t do an end of year review, but 2018 saw some big achievements for me, so I decided I would do one this year.

Art Cloth Mastery Program

In February 2018 I completed Jane Dunnewold’s Art Cloth Mastery Program.  It was 2 years of intense, yet fun work.  During those 2 years I pretty much put everything else aside so that I could concentrate on the program.  At times it felt like I was making progress and not understanding everything; not finding my artistic style, but in the end, it all came together.

Funny thing though, I entered the program with definite ideas on what I wanted to learn and focus on, which was printing.  I did learn a lot more about printing, but what I greatly improved on was color.  Color theory and understanding was something I had avoided; actually I was afraid of it.  It all seemed so daunting and overwheleming, that i just didn’t bother.  But during the course, I made huge leaps in understanding and applying color theory.  Because my personal color perferance are neutral colors, I’d never had a desire to delve into color theory much.  I’m pretty proud of my understanding of color and my ability to mix almost any color I want now.

International Quilt Festival

At the end of the Art Cloth Mastery Program we hung a show that was held in conjunction with an annual artist studio tour in San Antonio, TX.  Our show was also submitted and accepted at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, November, 2018 as a special exhibit.  To have my work shown in such a prestigious show was amazing.  And it was even more fun to attend for the first time with my friends Pat Grice and Diane Gardner-Rhoden.

Reflections Solo Exhibit

Another big milestone of 2018 was my solo exhibit held in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Surface Design Wearable Art show ‘All Decked Out’.  I exhibited 12 pieces of Itajime Shibori pieces, focusing on split complementary color schemes.  Pulling together these pieces was a challenge and a learning experience.  I totally loved doing it.  Check out this post and this one to see more pieces from my Reflections show.

One Last Milestone

There was one more big highlight of 2018, but it deserves a post all to itself.  So do come back in a few days and check it out.

 

I hope your 2018 was an exciting for you!  What is the one or two things that stand out for you?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

100 Printmaking Tools Update 2018

100 Printmaking Tools Update 2018

2018 is less than 24 hours from being over and I managed to make a few more printmaking tools, this time thermofax screens of two of my favorite subjects–leaves and backgrounds.

Leaves

Leaves are probably my favorite designs, and was actually one of my first original designs.  For these leves I gather fresh leaves where ever I go and then print them by inking the back side and printing on plain white paper.  this creates a wonderful print with lots of fine detail.

Just as before I printed these on both paper and mylar.  This collection of screens brings me up to 40. Still a ways to go before reaching 100, but slow and steady wins the race.

But since I like a more graphic look I go back and enhance the markings to get the look I want.  These are a Maple leaf and what I believe is a Yellow Elder.  The Maple leaf I tried something different, and did a stipple look.  The Yellow Elder leaf I did more of a block look.  Not sure how I feel about the stippling.

Background Texture

Next I created some background textures. In my opinion you can never have too many background screens.  I love textures, but have a hard time coming up with some that I like.  For these I used some white on white textured wallpaper like this one.

Using a hard brayer, a rolled on black paint, which colored the raised areas without sinking down into the recesses to much.  Turned out to be a great way to highlight the textures.  I then photocopied them and made thermofaxes.

So two of my favorite design elements, leaves and backgrounds.  What are your favorite design elements?  Let me know if the comments below.

Reflections, A Solo Show

It’s been two weeks since the opening of my solo show, Reflections.  This show is in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild Wearable Arts show, All Decked Out.

I’m just now posting about it because opening night I could not get good pictures, so I had to go back a week later and take pictures.  And it’s taken me this long to get things edited. 

My show information literature
Statement about the series, my artist’s statement and bio

This series is all about my love of Itajime Shibori and my continuing studies of color.  I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now, so I took the time to get it out.  Actually I was on a different path for this show, but at less than 2 weeks out from hanging, I wasn’t feeling that direction.  So I ditched it all and went with this.  Surprisingly it all came together effortlessly.  Lucky me, especially since I had less than 2 weeks to pull it together.  These pieces are all split complementary color schemes.  They were all dyed with just one or two dyeing sessions. 

Itajime Color Story #1
A card like this accompanied each piece to explain the color scheme.  Very helpful for
non-artist
Itajime Color Story #2
Itajime Color Story #4
Itajime Color Story #5
Itajime Color Story #6
Itajime Color Story #7

I still didn’t manage to get good pictures of every piece, so I will be making another trip to get the rest. 

But of all these, which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

Over-dyeing Workshop

Several weeks I lead a workshop for the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild on over-dyeing fabric.  Students bought in fabrics they had previously dyed and learned how to over-dye them.  We discussed color options and manipulations options.  I had premixed all of the single color dyes for them to use.  Here are a few pieces they created.

by Donna Winchester

by Donna Winchester

by Donna Winchester

by Donna Winchester

 

 

by Donna Winchester

Bonnie Ward strong orange over-dyed various colors

Bonnie Ward before

Bonnie Ward sun yellow

Bonnie Ward lemon yellow

Bonnie Ward tangerine

The last three pieces by Bonnie shows the original piece before over-dyeing (the small swatch) and an almost solid piece of the color and the larger over-dyed piece.  In addition to over-dyeing several pieces, Bonnie took the time to dye samples of all the single color dyes.  Now she has a great idea on how the colors interact with other colors and a great start on creating a dye notebook.

 

100 Printmaking Tools Day 15

A few weeks ago I posted about my 100 day project where I panned to work on creating 1 printmaking tool a day for the next 100 days.  Well, I’ve decided to modify this project just a bit.  When I started making my first tools, it just made sense to work on several at once.  So I drew out several stamps, cut them all at once and completed them over several days.  I realized I would most likely work this way instead of working on one at a time.

So I’m modifying my project to be 100 printmaking tools in 100 days or less.  And here is my first batch; a total of 14 stamps.

 

And here they are printed on both paper and mylar. The mylar is so that I can audition them on fabric.

I’ve already started of the next batch of stamps.  So the project continues.

100 Day Project Update #1

I’ve been putting in a little time each day on my 100 day project, creating my mark making tools.  So far I’ve completed 3 stamps.  They are all backed with a transparent backing and the excess cut away.

For the backing I like to use these flexible cutting mats from the Dollar Tree.  They are transparent, so I can see where I am placing the stamp.  They are also strong but flexible at the same time and easy to cut with scissors.

And at two in a pack for $1 you can’t beat the price.

100 Day Project

One More Try

I’m sure you have heard of the 100 day project.  It a plan/challenge you make with yourself to create an art project every day for the 100 days.  I’ve tried this before, but never made it past one or two weeks.  I’m sure I had good reasons at the time, but hopefully this time it will be different.

I’ve been thinking about trying it again, but was having difficulty coming up with something I wanted to do everyday for 100 days.  Or even something I wasn’t already doing.  I really didn’t want to create an art project just for the sake of creating which would only add to my stash of stuff.  Especially since I just did a big studio de-stash.  For me it needed to be something I knew I would use in my artwork in some manner.

Well, I finally came up with something that I could do for my own 100 day project.

100 Days of Mark Making

For the next 100 days I will work on mark making.  Creating marks and personal imagery I can use in my fiber art.  I am taking a wide stance on what this is.  Could be stencils, stamps, screens or anything that I can apply to my art cloth/art quilts.  This will help me build up my library of personal imagery which is something I really need to do.  I don’t anticipate completing something every day; most likely I will start several items on one day, and then spend the next few days completing them.  That way I can say cut several stamps at once and then mount them over several days.

Week 1

Today I spent about 30-40 minutes cutting stamps from craft foam.  I found some quick sketches of organic shapes I’d made a while back and decided to do them.  Most of my work is very linear, so some organic shapes will be a good contrast to that.

During the week I will mount them then test print on fabric and paper.

Hopefully Ii will not lose interest or give up this time.