Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thank you, LoieJ

LoieJ wrote the following comment and I thought I would respond:
"I love your work posted here. Also the ones in QA. I don't know enough about "analyzing art" to say exactly why it appeals to  me so much, because I often don't like collage type art. There is something both soothing and contrasting about the elements. Is there something that makes collage work universally? Or is that just a personal thing:"

Thank you LoieJ, for taking the time to drop a note! I am glad you like my work, it has been a lot of fun for me.

The series, In the Woods, came about becausr I frequently take a lot of pictures of trees, especially their tops. When I spent a week up at our cabin without any art to work on, I spent a lot of time just looking at branches and the leaves still hanging on, the pine and fir threes and just the calmness of it all.

When I came home I began this series, first creating screens for printing and then painting fabric. Once I had a bunch of fabric together, I added fusing and then cut out fabric working on 5 x 7 pieces. It is easy for me to work in that size as since the fabric has a lot of texture to it, I don't need big pieces.  Just a few well placed elements seem to make it work.

But the series itself seems calming to me, as you mention.  Al the images are trees and branches and the colors all relate to the earth and woods, and granite which we have a little of but a lot more up at a higher elevation. So, I think that is why is comes together...I really haven't given it much thought before.

The pieces in Quilting Arts were so different as the patterns created were pretty  busy.  Working on these, I found that I needed to follow the same rules of traditional quilting by varying the size of the patterns, the textures, etc. And not too much or it gets overwhelming.

I notice a difference between the new "in the woods" pieces which I thought were going to be a continuation of my California Dreams series but they have become something different. I am using all fabric that has been screened in the woods series whereas with the California Dreams series there is a lot of just dyed fabric with screening over different pieces.

Thank you for asking about this as it has made me stop to think about it.

If you google collage you will find numerous different artists and numerous different ways of doing it. Some I find very appealing and some not so...but this is what makes art so interesting, there is something for everyone.

I think, that in creating art quilts, I have been using a collage method for some time. Certainly using pre-fused fabric lends itself to this. It is also fun to play with. I can work intuitively and try different things while I work.  And the mind is always asking "what if?"

I would just like to make one comment on working intuitively.  I feel that one reaches that point or capability when the knowledge about composition has really seeped in.  Some people seem to absorb it from the air, others need to study it.  I do find that taking the time to write about work that you like and why you like it helps us all to sharpen those skills.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Still working away

I have continued to play with my screen printed fabrics making more In the Woods pieces. I am doing these while I work on images for urban landscapes.

So here is the largest to date, it is about 36 x 46 or somewhere in there. I will stitch it. It has been fused to canvas and I really like the way these pieces do without quilting and a batting. I stitch all the edges down but only through the canvas. I think I will just do a zig zag stitch around them to secure the edges.

And this one is slightly smaller, about half the size of the previous one. It really is squared off but I can't seem to take a picture right on and avoid that barrel effect. Oh well. It is in need of stitching also which I will start shortly. I now have three of these larger ones done. Perhaps they will end up in my show in May.
And just for fun, my grandson Jacob with his spare rib which he was enjoying. His friend was with us also and this was the first time his friend had had spareribs...he ate four and I was afraid none of the rest of us would have any.
Not to be outdone, Ashton was quite serious about this rib eating business and was a two fister, not giving up the one he had finished while he worked away on his second one. He was not too happy about having to look up for mom's picture taking...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I went down to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles on Tuesday and took my work. They have taken a bunch to sell in the museum gift shop. And I also went to the exhibit which is contemporary textiles from China. What an eye opener! No single strand embroidery on red silk in this show! Extremely modern and really breath taking with lots of things to think about.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nine More

I so enjoy doing these small pieces. I start with white cotton, paint the fabric, let it dry and then begin using my silk screens which I have created using my own photographs.

I have spent time taking pictures of lots of trees, converting photos of rocks into texture, seeking textures everywhere I look and then just having more fun playing with them in photoshop to create good images for screen images. I enjoy the process of creating multicolor fabrics with a lot of texture and interest from white cotton. It is good for my soul!

And then the fun of using them is simple little collages. I have finished one that is larger but haven't gotten a picture of it yet.

In the Woods 28

In the Woods 29

In the Woods 30

In the Woods 31

In the Woods 32

In the Woods 33

In the Woods 34

In the Woods 35

In the Woods 36

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Seven More

Here are six more to add to my In the Woods series. Again, they are each 5 x 7 inches, mounted in an archival double mat with backing board and are $50 each.

In the Woods 21

In the Woods 22

In the Woods 23

In the Woods 24

In the Woods 25

In the Woods 26

and one last one that is going to Collage Mania:

In the Woods 27

I am also working on a larger piece using the same fabrics. I am enjoying these so much. Hope you are also!

Monday, February 09, 2009


Misty Fuse, my favorite fusible webbing, now comes in 50 yard bolts that are 36" wide!

Way to go, Iris!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More Than You Want to Know

I received a nice email today from Michele in Ontario who had a number of questions about my process so I thought I would share my response to her...

"The process I use for silk screening is to make the screen with a thermal imager. This is normally called a thermafax screen. I have my own machine, which cost me about $500 a number of years ago. I love it and it has made all the difference in the world for me.

There are a number of services by different quilters who will produce the screen for you at much less than $500! If you ask about who makes the screens on the Quilt Art list, you will get a large response. Also, sometimes there is advertising in the back of the art quilt magazines.

In this case, I used Golden Acrylic open paints. I usually use either textile paint or other acrylics but Golden has come out with a new acrylic that does not dry very fast so I can use it much better with my screens without worrying about it drying and clogging the screen which would make it unuseable. The paint, unlike dye, does sit on top of the fabric. However, since I am making art quilts I am not too worried about the "hand" of the fabric. I even use paint rather heavily sometimes which I feel just adds more texture.

Sometimes I will screen on to fabric that is still damp from painting. When I do this, the paint thins a little and the image is not as crisp but it also goes into the weave of the fabric better.

If you really want to keep the hand of the fabric, then the best way to do this is to use thickened dyes which dye the fabric, by bonding molecules into the fiber itself rather than laying paint down on it. Jane Dunnewold is a great person to learn about this from...she has several books out but you would probably get more from taking one of her classes. She also creates a lot of screens the standard way, with photo emulsion, freezer paper (for temporary ones) and many other methods. She has a book about called Complex Cloth which you might be interested in.

I also stamp fabric, again using textile fabric paint or Golden open acrylics! But again, the paint lays down on the fabric.

When I paint my fabric I am very loosey-goosey about it! Not a lot of planning but lots of fun!"

Judy had a question about what I meant when I said I was ordering mat board and backing board.

The pieces I have shown the past couple of days do not technically qualify as quilts. They have no batting. The painted fabrics has been fused on to canvas and then stitched. They are very flat. For Collage Mania, I have them mounted between a double cut mat board (actually two mats with one just slightly smaller in the opening than the other) and the are mounted on the the bottom mat with linen hinging tape. The tape is archival and holds the piece of art hanging loosely within the opening of the mat board. The edges of the art are behind the cut out window in the mat.

Backing board is just archival 1/8" foam core board cut to size of the mat. Line up the art work, use the linen hinging tape to mount it, leave it free on the bottom, place the mat board with the window cut out over it and then the entire thing is ready for framing. I get frames from a couple of places. I order metal frames from the American Frame Company that has a shadow box type frame which allows you to have space between the art work and the glass or plexiglass. I use plexiglass for work that is being shipped to my gallery. People know how to respond to work that is framed and ready to hang.

I also get frames from Aaron Brothers only when they are on sale at 50% off and then I stock up. They come with glass but frequently, even though I may mount and frame a piece, I don't always use the glass. These frames are wood and I get them in black or brown and are generally gallery style frames...meaning very simple.

I also sometimes stretch cotton duck (black) over stretcher bars that I get in huge amounts from Dick Blick. You can order on line. For 4 x 6 work I mount it on 8 x 10 stretched canvas and then larger pieces are on larget canvases. I have also purchased pre-stretched unprimed canvas from French Canvas (also available on line) but lately they have not had the smaller sizes. I stitch my work to the canvas. I also buy primed stretched canvas from Dick Blick, again when it is on sale, paint it and then mount the work by stitching it on to the painted canvas.

Larger pieces are hung with a rod through a normal sleeve in the back.

I like the way smaller art pieces are presented when either in a frame or mounted on stretched canvas. It just gives them more oomph...

So, back to doing the laundry!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ten More

Well, I have been busy today and I got 10 more 5 x 7 fabric collages done. I also ordered 50 mats plus backing boards and 50 double mats so I can get these all ready for show or sale. I think I will sell them for $50 each.

In the Woods 11

In the Woods 12

In the Woods 13

In the Woods 14

In the Woods 15

In the Woods 16

In the Woods 17

In the Woods 18

In the Woods 19

In the Woods 20
Now I think I am ready to start doing some that are larger as I need to get work done for my show in May.
This is just a great way to live life!

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Michelle just commented on my collages and said they didn't look like paper. That is because they are fabric. I have painted and printed on cotton, cut the shapes out and put them on to canvas, have also included upholstry fabrics for texture and then mounted them beneath double archival mat board.

By the way Michelle, give me a way to reach you directly!

Fiber art For a Cause Collage Mania

My week spent in the mountains has been put to good use. I spent a lot of time reflecting about the trees, clouds, branches, etc.

So when I came back I was busy painting fabric and then screen printing it.

I have now completed my 10 collages for Virginia Spiegel's Collage Mania for Fiberart for a Cause.

Of course, the numbers are all backwards but that doesn't matter on the blog. Take a look:

In the Woods 10

In the Woods 9
In the Woods 8

In the Woods 7

In the Woods 6

In the Woods 5

In the Woods 4

In the Woods 3

In the Woods 2

In the Woods 1
I want to keep on doing these as they are fun and I really like what is happening with them. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Where Have You Been, Liz?

It has been a little over three weeks since I visited my on earth did that ever happen?

I have been busy doing my collages which I will get up at some point.

I have been busy proofing the article for Cloth, Paper, Scissors which comes out this next month.

I have been busy painting fabric.

I have been busy screening fabric.

I am about to become busy doing collages for FAFC (Fiber art for a Cause) today.

I have been busy with my students who are taking Advanced Better Art by Design.

Oh, yeah, I also spent a week up at the cabin where I only have dial-up which is incredibly slow so I did not get on the computer much at all during that time. But what was really nice is that I did not do too much of anything. I did not take art supplies with me, I only took a book to finish which I did. I spent time watching the clouds drift by. We had an unseasonably warm time there and our grandsons and their parents came up for a couple of days. It was fun watching them play, poke sticks in the ground, create a tee-pee with Daddy's help, dig up the dirt and watch the back hoe at work.

We had a fire there in December which started at the pumphouse which is right over the well. When everything burned to the ground, the pipe for the water and electrical dropped down into the well which is a six inch pipe. We had to hire someone with a back hoe to come out and did a 15 foot trench so that we could cut off the pipe and reach the electrical and water hose. Then, we had to bring it up 150' to the top. Now that was a lot of work.

This is a picture of my dear husband down in the hole. In the back corner you can barely see the white pipe of the well which is only showing about six inches above ground in the hole.
After Doug and I worked for a couple of hours trying to bring the pump and hosing up, the roofer and his two other men came over and together they pulled up the pump. Our roofer, Vince, is at the top of the hole holding the water line and electrical cords while Doug is down in the bottom, 15 feet down, pulling it up carefully so nothing breaks and falls back down in to the well...

Also, during this time, we had no water. That means no drinking water out of the faucet, no toilet flushing, no shower, no dishwashing water, etc. We had to bring water in in 5 gallon containers and 1 gallon containers. I had sponge bathes, learned to wash all the dishes in 1 gallon of water, finally washed my hair after six days with one gallon of water and flushed the toilet one time per day. But at least we had water from a neighbor so we could drive up with the jugs and refill them.

At the same time the roofer was up and putting on the new roof. That is, when he wasn't helping us bring up the pump!

Anyway, he had boxes of roofing nails that go into the nail gun. The sun was shining on them and they gave off beautiful colors and the coils were too cool so I took a bunch of pictures. I will work them in photoshop and probably come up with an image to use as a silk screen.

Now I have to work on my collages for Virginia....and will upload some more pictures soon.