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.