Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who says Engineers can't be Artists?

My husband, the engineer created these wooden pendants. This photo does NOT do them justice!! They're absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself). They're about the size of the pad of your thumb. The one of the left is made from ebony, quilted maple and African bloodwood. The center piece is quilted maple and lacewood. The third is from African bloodwood, quilted maple & a rosewood. Wished you could feel these. With the natural oils in some of these woods and the polish that was added to protect the pieces, they're SO smooth.

The pieces below were a joint effort of Daryl's & mine. One day when he was creating some wooden boxes, I mentioned how cool it wood be to make a polka box from wood. Rolling his eyes and shaking his head (I'm sure there are a few of you out there that has a husband that does this when you mention some crazy idea) he says, if you want a polka dot box, I'll make the box for you but you're doing the polka dots. I think they turned out pretty well!!

(yeah, the triangle shaped box was my idea & I added little wooden polka dots for the feet to raise the box up just a little from the ground)

Dragonflies as promised

Ok here they are. I am so NOT a pink person, but I thought the brown swatch at the bottom of the three turned out pretty interesting with the pink dragonflies. Now how to incorporate them into a piece??

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wonderful Experiments

I think these turned out wonderful!! The original fabric was a white cotton with the "swirls" being a printed in white pattern. That pattern created somewhat of a resist when I dyed the swatches. I was very pleased with how these turned out! I discovered something interesting when I dyed the same type of material but with dragonflies as a background. When I dyed one of the swatches a very nice brown, the dragonflies dyed a very nice subtle pink. (I'll have to take a picture of it and post it here so you can see it.)

Ahhhh, dyed cheesecloth. One can never have too much!! I'm not sure what it is that I love about it. Maybe it's because it's so easy to dye & takes very little of a dye bath to dye a piece. Or is it that whatever you're dyeing (assuming it's protein fibers) there's always room to add a little cheesecloth into the bath. Or maybe it's that wispy gracefulness of the fabric. (It's probably all of those things.)

These are some of the colors I was able to create over the long holiday weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Art or Craft? Just one artist's opinion.

I visit Joanna's blog quite often & she brought up a great question, "what is your opinion on art vs crafty?" Everytime when this topic is brought up, it makes me stop, think & be thankful of what I have learned through the years that have allowed me to grow as an artist. This is the comment I wrote in Joanna's blog:

Art or craft? I think this debate will go on forever. I feel that there is a blurring of the lines with this. I've seen it taught both ways in 2 different colleges. When I was an undergrad, our design college taught all of the art courses (pottery, fibers, metals, wood, etc) as a craft. There you learned a craft or skill. You learned how to create jewelry or a wooden bench with your hands with the help of tools. This craft taught you techniques which you used to create art.

While in grad school, they taught the "art" side. They didn't care about technique or how you did what you did to get to the finished product, they were more concerned about how you mentally arrived at the piece and I have to tell you, after learning art as a craft as an undergrad, I really struggled through grad school. I consider myself an artist but I'm also proud to say that I'm a craftsperson and I don't think that puts me down in any way or makes me less of an artist. I have learned a craft that allows me to create art.

When you use the word "crafty" I wince. I think it's all a matter of educating the public. (Not that long ago quilts were considered to be used for bedding only).

You might find this humorous, I know I did. When my husband & I went back to Iowa to visit family, someone had asked him what he did for a living (he's an engineer at Boeing). When he told them he was an engineer, they said "oh you conduct trains." It's all my husband & I could do to not burst out laughing. Again, it's all about educating the public.
(ok I'm down off my soapbox)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Brown, how hard can it be?

I'm on the hunt for a really nice brown & it hasn't been an easy task! You would think learning from grade school, "just mix the complements of the colors & it should work". Yeah, it's not that easy. I belong to a couple of dyer email lists and there is constant talk about achieving a nice brown.

I tried different color combinations on swatches & soon discovered if the dye powder was not a pure color then just about anything could happen.

Red & green? (my green leaned toward the blue side) so it made a really nice purple. I had another green that leaned toward the yellow side, those are the rust colors you see above.

Blue & orange? (didn't have pure orange, so I used scarlet & sun yellow-which makes a beautiful orange by the way) something with the scarlet, once it hit the blue dye, again, a really nice purple. (counting down and over, that is swatch number 7)

Yellow & purple? (that's those funky drabby olive swatches you see above)

I thought if you mixed half of each color you'd get brown. What I learned is to start with the lighter of the 2 colors and slowly add the dark color until you can achieve that certain shade you're after.

I have bought the straight from the container browns from Dharma and ProChem & even those gave very weird versions of brown. With those they tend to lean more toward that drabby olive color which can be a nice color, but not when you're wanting a deep chocolate brown.

I am very happy with how these swatches turned out & I think they're all beautiful colors (& I did keep track of the recipes for each of these so I can recreate them) however, I know I've barely scratched the surface in researching achieving that "just right" brown.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Toilet Tissue Stamping PC

I did these for a swap in the Surface Design Group. We were to incorporate toilet tissue stamping into a postcard. I think colorwise, they all turned out pretty well. The photograph of the purple one just does not capture all of the rich colors in the piece. For some reason, my digital camera just seems to have a difficult time capturing those true blues and purples. And it had a hard time with the neon green pc as well.
(when you click on the purple & the green pc, you can see the colors better)

Monday, November 5, 2007


This was one of the many sunsets from the beach about 2 blocks from where we used to own a condo. It was so wonderful to take the dog for a walk along the beach and have these beautiful sunsets.

I wondering about re-creating this photo & one of the two pictures below in hand dyed sheers? Or maybe not all sheers? The "black spaces" I could do in a cotton?

I'm not sure which of these two I like better?? I'm not normally a pink or sky blue person, but I think the colors in these two photos are GORGEOUS!! (if you look really, really hard in the bottom picture-you'll need to click on the photo to see it, but in the right corner, you can just make out the Space Needle)

Just for fun!

Ok, is this just cute or what?! A co-worker/friend of mine, just for fun, has started making some of those Uglee Dolls. I suggested to her to start designing some of her own and she could sell them. I thought she did very good with this one. I asked her to make one for me to give to my best friend's son for Halloween. I hand dyed the flannel and drew up a basic design of a triangle head on a post-it note. I think she did a great job from taking it from just a teeny little sketch....don't you?