Archive for November, 2010

This past week has been spent in my least favorite art activities:  the business end of being an artist. Humph…and what does that mean?  All the paper work and computer time that goes into being a full-time artist.  Like?  Taking photographs (luckily I have a wonderful photographer who does that, though I still have to be around to tell him what I like or what I want done differently), burning images onto CD’s, applying to galleries and exhibits, keeping records (financial and otherwise), hunting down possible display venues, making flyers and newsletters — and list goes on and on and on. However, unless one devotes time and attention to these kinds of details one’s business goes nowhere.

I did accomplish a lot this past week and I am pleased about that.  But I also spent an awful lot of time in front of this computer. Similar to Luann Udell’s statement “I hate…..” in a fit of pique (see her blog: http://www.luannudell.wordpress.com It’s quite wonderful), today I feel like “I hate this computer!” — only I know I don’t because it enables me to do so many things I’d otherwise not be able to do.

Sometimes I wonder though, why do I choose to run my art like a business? Is it really necessary?  I always come back to the answer, “yes”.  I work better (and more) when I have deadlines (applications to galleries and exhibits). I want to share my work with others (again, exhibits, galleries, alternative venues).  It earns me money to keep making art, which is essential to my well-being.

And so….I sent out 3 applications for group exhibits.  I sent out 1 application for membership in an artists’ coop gallery.  I arranged to exhibit at a new alternative venue starting in January.  I followed up on a customer interested in purchasing a piece.  I am almost done with an email/flyer announcing some classes I will be teaching over the winter.  I’ve catalogued the pieces I have on exhibit now and those I have promised and those that have accompanied applications. And I feel good about it.

Last week I did whip out 3 small color studies.  Using pieces from the same fabric, a fabric I dyed, screen printed, discharged, etc. I experimented with different colors of wool behind them. It was fun.  It was a good exercise and may even come in handy when I go to make a larger piece from the remains of this fabric. These were pieces I referred to in my last post as being “forgotten” in the dryer. They felted more than I might have liked, and are a bit hairier, but all told, serve my purpose.  I will probably stitch, bead and matt them, turning them into low price point pieces.  I think the stitching will be good and turn these not-so-exciting pieces into delightful studies.

Here is the wool layout for one with  light blue and  royal blue wool.

Now the fabric has been placed on top.

And here it is felted.

Here are the same three steps with the yellow one, followed by those same steps in red.







Finally, a couple of (lousy) photos of all 3 together.



And that’s all the news fit to print for this week.



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Last week was a very productive one and I made several pieces.  I used the dryer with all of them, laying the pieces out, wetting them down, rolling them in towels and throwing them into the dryer with my laundry.  I had lots of laundry to do and it was a rainy week, so I used that as my excuse.  Normally I don’t use a clothes dryer, and I did feel a bit guilty for using all that electricity when my clothesline works just as well, for my laundry at least.

More importantly, I discovered that I don’t really like using the dryer to make felt.  It has it’s uses, that’s for sure.  With difficult-to-felt fabric it works like a dream!  But I realized that I want to be involved in more of the process.  I also realized that more often than not I’d put the felt in the dryer and then forget it was there.  It would end up going further along the felting process than I wanted.  Of course, that’s not the fault of the dryer but of the operator (ie: yours truly).

I want to explore this whole area more carefully.  How much do I want to do?  How much am I willing to allow a machine to do for me? Where is that point when I get impatient and the dryer is the saving grace? It reminds me a little bit of my first experiences of using a clothesline instead of the dryer in order to save energy.  I discovered I liked hanging clothes on a line! I actually preferred it to throwing my clothes in a machine and pushing a button.  Hanging my clothes up gave me time to think.  And I felt more connected —  to life.  And yes, to my clothes too.

It may be time to explore the slow cloth movement, websites and blogs, out there.  I am now quite interested in the experiences that others have had along these lines.

In the meantime, let me share the “sketches” I made last week. I decided to call these studies or  sketches.  Usually I’m looking at one variable.  The work is on the smaller side and I put them together quickly.  My intention is to add minimal stitching and beading, matt them (not frame them) and be able to offer them for sale at a lower price point.  All while learning and exploring.

The first 2 studies are about light.  I’d been talking with a friend about the different colors that portray light.  I usually think of yellows and golds.  She suggested rose colors.  So, I put together 2 sketches, very similar in imagery, but one using yellow to portray light and one using a rather dark rose.

Here I’ve laid out the wool for the yellow one.

And here for the rose one.

Here they are side by side.

Now let’s add some fabric for imagery.  The yellow one first, then the rose one.

Felted, first the yellow then the rose.

And here they are, side by side.

I love looking at the differences and the similarities between the two depictions.  Both give a strong sense of light, and this despite the overall darker colors used in the rose piece.

I like these two sketches so much that I think I’ll probably stitch, bead and frame them, regarding them as full blown works, not sketches.

Before I forget, let me show you some close up shots. Here’s a detail of the yellow piece.  I love the way the it shows the ruching of the fabric.

The second detail shot shows the ruching of two different kinds of fabric as well as the actual wool fibers wandering up through the black silk fabric. I’m afraid it gets a bit blurry when it is enlarged.  Good thing I never hoped to be a photographer!

I do have 3 other sketches I made last week.  And they will remain “sketches”.  I’ll share them in my next post.  Right now I’d like to take some more time to contemplate what making felt is all about for me. And then to bed go I.

Good night.  Sweet dreams.

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Once again I find myself being remiss and not posting on my blog as frequently as I’d like.  In part it’s due to other parts of life co-opting my studio time.  In part it is due to the fact much of my current studio time has been spent stitching and framing pieces.  I tend to view these steps as the less exciting part of my process to observe.  It’s great fun and exciting to do, but since my photographic skills are minimal, it’s hard to show you what I’ve been doing.  I’ll give it a go anyway.

Here’s a picture of “Autumn Leaves”.  (see post of Aug. 31st for more info).  I’ve got this piece stitched, beaded and framed.  I just found out this week that it has been accepted into an all fiber exhibited at the West Hartford Art League.  It’s one of  36 pieces in the exhibit.  I’m proud to say that 3 other NE Feltmaker Guild members also will have pieces in that show: Diane Christian, Carol Ingram and Linda Van Allstyne.  All wonderful feltmakers.  Way to go!!

I finished and framed the brown “Hole in a Tree” (see post of Sept. 6th for construction). Here you get treated to a very lousy picture.  Thank goodness for Roman, my professional photographer extraordinaire.  Unlike me, he does justice to my work when he photographs it. If you enlarge this image you will see the stitching and the few beads I added.

I also have completed stitching on the second “The Path Up.” (See Sept. 26 entry)  This weekend it will be framed. Again, be sure to enlarge the image so you can actually see the stitching.

I still have not decided if I like it better hung vertically or horizontally so I may frame it with the option to do either. Which do you like better?

I continue to stare at the pink “Hole in a Tree”.  I keep wondering where to go with it?  It is already rather busy.  Should I elaborate on that aspect and stitch it, making it even more busy?  Or should I just do some beading?  Or?  Again, I’m curious what you think.

Rainy days here in the northeast.  A good time to get into the studio and make some brightly colored felt.  I’ve ideas for 2 autumn pieces……

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