Friday, December 31, 2010

The Eve of the New Year

For me, 2010 has been a year of many ups and downs. A memorable 'up' was having my first solo installation of my felt art (the nuno-felted flags that flew from the top of LillStreet Art Center in Chicago IL back in June). A memorable down (which I am still working on recovering from) was a number of health issues that popped up in Mid-September including a couple of trips to the E.R. for what turned out to be panic attacks though that was not officially diagnosed until a couple weeks later (took a while to rule out other things like problems with my heart or adrenal gland). Anxiety/Panic attacks are not something I would wish on anyone. At the time I thought there was something wrong with my lungs or that I was having a heart attack. Another 'up', I was in a number of art/craft shows this past year and scoped out a few more for possible entry next year. I have managed to keep up with my sketchbook/journal more often than not. I have also been experimenting with embroidering on felt quite a bit. Basically the first two quarters of the year were good, the third quarter was rough, and the final quarter has left me thoughtful. All in all it was not a bad year but I am hoping 2011 will be better (particularly health wise). I have a backlog of things I would like to blog about which I want to get to over the next couple weeks. One of my goals for 2011 is to try and blog once a week. For the most part over 2010 I managed to at least do one a month and sometimes more. But once a week is now my goal. Also a number of bloggers I read are choosing a word for the New Year. I have decided my word will be compose. I wish to be composed, calm and self-possessed. I also want to compose more experimental art work. I wish to compose a healthier, more joyful, and more artful life. So, yes, my word for 2011 is 'compose'. I will leave you with a few photos of the weird weather we have been having here over the last few weeks (which has been very up and

The night of the first snow storm

After the second snow storm around Christmas

Over the course of today (We have had rain and thunderstorms going on since last night and now all that snow is almost gone...not to mention it was in the mid 50's in temp. both yesterday and today. Although, I understand we will be back to cold temps tomorrow and for the rest of next week)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Craft Fairs

I know this is late but if you happen to be in Chicago my mom and I will be in two craft fairs this weekend. We will be in the Streeterville Artisan Market which is held in the Lurie Research Center downtown at 303 E. Superior (picture of poster above...and yes, that is my orange nuno-felt scarf pictured on it...happy, happy!)(Hours for Saturday the 20th are 10am to 3pm, and for Sunday the 21st 11am to 5pm). The Streeterville Artisan Market ran today, but, sorry to say, I didn't have my act together to blog about it in time (to busy trying to catch up with making stuff since I was sick with various problems for almost two months). The first day went well. If the whole weekend goes this well it will be a successful one.

We will also be at the DIY Trunk Show (well, I will be with both of our stuff while mom's remains at the Streeterville Artisan Market with the rest of our stuff) which is on Saturday November 20th only at the Pulaski Park Field House at 1419 W. Blackhawk in Chicago (hours are from 10am to 5pm)(sorry I have no electronic poster for the DIY but you can check out there website at )

Hopefully I will be able to get on a more regular posting schedule now. I will post pictures sometime next week. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Illinois Chapter Meeting for the Surface Design Associaion

I just wanted to put a blurb here that the Illinois Chapter of the Surface Design Association will be meeting tomorrow (Saturday) October 30, 2010 here in Chicago at the LillStreet Art Center (which is located at 4401 N. Ravenswood which is the corner of Montrose and Ravenswood) up in the Textile Dept. at 10am. If you are a member or are interested in finding out about the Surface Design Association come out tomorrow to the LillStreet Art Center and check out the meeting. The first part of the meeting will be discussing Surface Design Association business and the second part will be discussing our work and doing some show and tell. If you are in the Chicago area come and check it out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today is 101010

Just an odd bit of trivia for today. I thought it interesting that today's date 101010 is binary code for 42 which any reader of Douglas Adams knows is "the answer to life the universe and everything". 42 is also equally divisible by the days of the week. I also decided to blog this piece of trivia since it is also my age. Sorry, just had to get my geek on...LOL!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bad Health

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been having some health issues and haven't had the energy for much. I have been through a battery of tests and I'm just waiting to see what the doctors think is wrong. It is scary when you lose your health. For the last couple weeks I have kind of withdrawn into myself and am just trying to take care of me for a little while. I have always been the one others depend on and I have been trying to fight the guilt for letting those others down. I need to take care of myself. There should be no guilt in that. There is a lesson here somewhere. Hopefully it won't be a hard one to learn. I actually have many things I want to post about, but I will leave those to another day. In the meantime here are some pictures for inspiration.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Been Working On Nuno Felt Scarves and on Taking Pictures of Them

I have been working on making more nuno felt scarves and also on trying to take better pictures of them. I found a small mannequin bust (probably for children's wear) in an antique/resale shop and thought it might be the perfect display for taking photos of my scarves with (either nuno felted, dyed, and/or printed). So I tried taking pictures outside but the mosquitoes drove me inside (they are really nasty this year. I swear they are getting bigger and more aggressive as well as more abundant). The rest of the pictures were taken inside after I figured out a set-up.

I have also been working on my picture taking set-ups and skills because I have been applying for craft fairs and have not been happy with my past pictures. Plus it was time to show something newer. I have also been paying for an artfire online shop and should really start using it. So I have been working on photos as well as production.

Another thing I need to start thinking about is what I want to do for United Felt's International Day of Felt and where I want to display it. I could display it outside my house/studio or I could display it at a friend's Frame & Gallery Shop (or possibly LillStreet...I would have to talk to them about that). Yep, I have a few options as to where to display...but what to do? I think this week I am going to spend some quality time with my sketchbook and take some walks since I will be out and about.

Anyway, here is one last picture. There was this butterfly flitting around all over my backyard, and, being the crazy person that I am, I chased after it for a good hour snapping shots with my camera. Here is one of the better pictures (really hard to take pictures of a moving

I hope you enjoyed the butterfly picture! Have a great weekend and enjoy the summer while it is still here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The remaining Three Flags from LillStreet

Sorry! It looks like I skipped a month in posting (you know what they say about "the best laid plans of mice and men..."). Anyway here are pictures of the remaining three flags during production.

You saw the Earth flag in my last entry and here is the finished Air Flag:

Just like the Earth flag I started with a design marked (with a sharpie) on the backside of a large (taped together) piece of heavy plastic. I used this as the template for laying out my wool. After laying out the first layer of wool I spread out a large sheet of hand-dyed silk on top of that first layer of wool. Then I followed the wool design that showed through the silk and laid out my second layer (so it was a sandwich of wool-silk-wool). Then I wetted and patted the whole thing down and then rolled it up. I rolled it in 15 minute intervals (I hate counting rolls so I go for time). I unrolled in between intervals to check on progress and then rerolled from the opposite direction. I did this for a few hours. After it was done I had the fun of rinsing out the soap. Then I set it to dry (which took a while). By the time I got to the Water flag I was very close to my deadline and didn't have a lot of time for drying. at this point I discovered that my washing machine did indeed have a way to just use the spin cycle. All I can say is I wish I had figured that out with the first three flags. Also, with all three of the remaining flags I corrected my mistake and made sure I dyed the canvas reinforcement to match the predominate color of the flags.
The Air Flag Production:

Here is the finished Fire Flag:

And, here are a couple production pictures (unfortunately by the time I got to the fire flag I was beginning to feel the pressure of my deadline so I took fewer pictures).

When I finally got to the water flag I realized that I did not like my sketch and started trying to come up with other design ideas. I finally hit on the idea of doing a visual representation of the water molecule 'H2O'. Unfortunately I took no production pictures of the water flag, so here it is finished. I will show you both sides since they are slightly different from each other (I was running out of wool in the colors I needed so I made do with what I had).

Finally all was done and all that remained was the clean up.

The flags flew until the end of the first full week of July. They weathered four major storms, several days of high winds, and many days of rain without ripping. I was extremely proud and consider the installation/experiment to be a success (I also got many compliments on my work which is always nice). My flags are down now. I just need to take pictures of how they look after Mother Nature had her turn with them. Then at some point I need to re-work them. Hopefully I will get back to a more regular posting schedule now that my social life has slowed down a bit. I hope you all are having a creative summer (and staying cool)! Ciao.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Flags Are Done And Flying High Atop LillStreet Art Center

It has been a very busy month. I wasn't sure I would be able to get four nuno-felt flags done (from conception to design to final product to installation) in a little over a month but I did. It was a crazy ride and I am sorry I didn't find the time to blog as I went. So, I will put up as many in-process pictures as I have for each flag over the next few days. The theme for the flags was the four elements; Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Let's start with the Earth flag.

These are some of the sketches I made and planned to follow (though I ended up changing my mind and going with something different on the water flag).

This is heavy plastic that I pieced together and drew the stencil I was going to follow on the backside in blue (didn't want sharpie coming off on my wool so that was why it was drawn on the underside).

The beginning of the layout process.

Further layout on side one.

Silk stretched out on first layer.

Second layer completed.

Flag after it has been rolled for a few hours and fulled.

Finished flag with canvas reinforcement and grommets...I should have dyed the canvas brown or green, but thought of it too late. The canvas on the other 3 flags is dyed appropriate colors.

Finished flag flying from flag pole.

That's it for now. Hopefully they weather well (since it is going to rain tomorrow). I am going to try and blog about at least one flag per day over the next few days. I also have an entry up on the LillStreet Textile Blog with pictures of all four flags at . I hope you enjoy the pictures. I am off to make up some more of the sleep deficit I gained over the last couple weeks.
Thank you for reading!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Have Been Very Busy!

I have been so very busy. I have been working a lot, taking a class, and working on my first installation project. I was asked back at the very end of April to make four flags to fly from the top of LillStreet Art Center in June. I decided after much thought and some sampling to do nuno-felt flags. I am not entirely sure how they will weather, but I am keen to find out. I have decided to consider this project (beside being an experiment) interactive art (or maybe collaborative art would be a better term) between me, my art, and Mother Nature. I have decided that once the flags come down (and have been worked over by Mother Nature) I will go in and rework what I am left with creating something similar but new. The theme for the flags are the four elements (Earth, Fire, Water, and Air). Each flag will represent one of the elements. I blogged a sneak peek of one of the flags in progress on the LillStreet blog go over and take a look.

Here are a couple of pictures from my print and dye class.

Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just A quick Post

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I was a guest blogger over on the LillStreet blog again. Run over and take a quick look at: .

And, just because I hate blogging without pictures here are a few spring pictures from around Chicago. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Painting On Silk With Thickened Dye

Just tossing up a picture of one of the many things I have been working on. I had a lot of fun creating this in class. In this picture it is still unwashed and stiff with alginate. I have since washed it out and the color is still almost as vibrant (I need to take another picture of it washed out). I have more pictures to share later (once I get the pictures uploaded from my camera). I am off to enjoy the day. It is sunny and in the 70's here today. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sun is Back!

The sun came back out to play today. It is back to being very cool but as long as the sun is out I don't mind so much (it is spring after all). I have been making scarves this week. So far I have just been printing and dyeing scarves. I even did a couple pole wrapped shibori scarves. I haven't taken any pictures yet because they still need to be overdyed. I plan to get to that this weekend. I also really need to make some more nuno-felted scarves as my supply is really low at the moment. So I should have pictures up soon. In the meantime here is a picture of one of my kitties enjoying the sun.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"It has been a long and busy week" or "Work, 2 Classes, and a Funeral"

This has been a very long week both physically and emotionally. I was signed up for a four day workshop in Natural Dyeing running Monday through Thursday mornings this week (which was fantastic by the way, even though I missed the second day). I also had my regular class on Wednesday nights. Plus I was scheduled to work four days out of the week (various client/jobs). In amongst all this I drove up to Michigan late Monday night and attended my friends funeral on Tuesday (which was a beautiful funeral, if you don't think it odd to say such a thing. The weather was sunny and mild and the spot for her grave was near the river. I missed her memorial service on Monday night but I heard there were some beautiful readings and stories told). Then I drove myself and my sister back to Chicago Tuesday afternoon. Above is a picture of a spring flower beginning to peak it's head up from Pat's yard, a hyacinth I believe. We will miss you Pat.

Below are some pictures from the classes this week.
This picture is of a shadow print made with lace and a blank silkscreen using thickened dye:

Here is a detail photo of the same print:

This photo is of a monoprint made from a silkscreen that was painted with dye mixed with soda ash and let to dry and then pulled with alginate thickener:

I managed to get a second image printed from that same screen, it is much lighter but still quite visible:

Below are a few pictures from the Natural Dye class. I will post more at another time since I am beginning to get sleepy.