Monday, January 30, 2017

Craft Napa - Whoopee!!

Wow! I made it to Craft Napa, with a maximum of stress, worry and thinking I may not be able to make it. The weather in Oregon was SNOW, even tho Roseburg rarely gets an inch or two of snow each year. Medford/Ashland south of us got 7-8" that week before I left. When I singed up, my sister said "January?" and I said if the weather was bad, I'd just drive down the coast. So that is what I planned, until California got a HUGE rain storm coming in, gale force winds on the coast and flooding and landslides predicted. Everyone talked me out of the coast route, if there is a landslide, you have to go all the way BACK to get around it. So... with much trepidation, I drove over the Siskiyou pass into Northern Cal. I picked the perfect window of opportunity, Eugene was getting 6 more inches of snow that day, but it was all going north, so I headed south. The rain coming to Calif. was warm, they call it a "Pineapple express" as opposed to the "Arctic Blast" we were getting. So the pass was rainy, warm, but not icy, and it rained and rained and I thought I might need an ark. The news reported Folsom Lake, near Sacramento got 13" of rain in 24 hour! I spent a few days with the in-laws before heading to Napa, but we were still concerned with flooding. I made it fine, to the Wednesday evening registration. I was a little early, so just sat and visited with a nice lady, who was in some of the same classes I was in. Pokey Bolton, the sponsor of the show, presented everyone with gift bags of goodies, name tags and class schedules. We had fun with a drawing, to get your classes free, everyone drew a Ghirardelli Chocolate from the bag and whoever got the gold Caramel wrapper, won. Little did they know I had bought a package of Ghirardelli chocolates, and only had the gold ones left in my pocket, cause they are not my favorites. Ha Ha. I played fair, and a very excited lady won. I then drove to my nephews in St. Helena, about 25 minutes north, and stayed there, for the 3 days. My first day of class, was with Mellanie Testa.
The class was deconstructed/constructed foregrounds and backgrounds. We worked on a 12" x 12" framed board, I could not find one at several art supplies in Seattle, but got one at home in the wood burning section of Michaels for about half price of the art store ones. I started softly with lavender and pink acrylics, and painted thick so we could impress rubber stamps in the paint to create texture. The next layer I used burgundy and we added a thick gel medium to the paint and used stencils to leave a raised design. She liked the high contrast of my board, but it became a problem later. So now the scary part, paint over it with another color, what? Hide all the good stuff I had done? This is why I took this class, I am afraid to add layers, because I already like what I have. But my motto for this trip was "Loosen Up" that is why I was there! So how about the opposite on the color wheel, burgundy and green, so of course I went with LIME green!! I'm not such a chicken as I thought.
I only limed half the board, keeping two small sections of pink to save. After getting it dry with a heat gun, we sanded off the top layer to expose the texture underneath. The lime became not so "in your face" and the raised flowers in the burgundy came through. This is my favorite part of the whole painting, and I saved most of it as we progressed. We covered everything in a layer of clear gel medium, before we broke for lunch, to let it all dry very well. I went down the street to the local grocery store and got a premade salad, as the restaurant prices in Napa were quiet high by my standards of rural Oregon. Before lunch I snapped a bunch of other artists' work in progress. I also ran to the Art Supply Store in town and got some new stencils. I am a stencil addict!! I admit it. A pink flamingo and palm fronds, 2 palm trees, a coral reef with tropical fish, and I can't remember what else.
After lunch we decided what design we wanted on our boards, Melanie had some photo copies you could choose from, or draw your own. I used one of my bird stencils, with a long branch and added some tropical leaves from another stencil. She asked us to add some stencils for texture patterns and to paint in a darker color around your drawing. The idea is for the drawn design to peak through the paint like a window. This is where I got into trouble with the high contrast, I already had dark colors on the page, and I should have painted the dark background BEFORE stenciling any more. As it was I had to paint around some of the stenciling, arggh. The lighter pink areas of bird, did not show up well enough, so I added some paint, and eventually I got out a black Sharpie to outline. I added more lime teardrop stenciling to the darker blue areas, that helped a lot. So, I learned a lot about layers, mixing color combo's, and design, but I would have done it different, if I knew in advance what she wanted.
The photo is not quiet where I stopped at, but it gives you a good idea of where I'm going. I will have to work on it at home, adding more dark and more stenciled texture. The top right bird needs help too. Here are some more of the students work as they layered. Many of them used the poppy flowers and pods designs, one used a butterfly. There is lots of wonderful work here, I can see I need to blend my colors more, and less contrast to start with. Complimentary colors are fine for the end work but I think you need to use analogues colors at first.Many of these techniques I can apply to fabric painting, but not the sanding layers. I also see why drying between some layers helps, not to just keep working wet. More student work. Another thing I tried was to use new Golden Open Fluid acrylics, as opposed to my cheap bottles of craft paint. I painted with each, the craft paints were more opaque and chalky, the open acrylics, were more transparent and heavily pigmented. I'm just not sure I want to pay the price for the better paints. $1.99 vs. $8 and up per bottle. when we broke for lunch the class next door had laid all their screen prints in the atrium on blue tarps to dry. What fun!! I can't wait to try it tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

County Fair Tote

I got the work done on the second Round Robin Tote Bag for Fyber Café. Tracy's bag has a County Fair theme. Her front side has 4 diagonal strips, separated with a coarse rope. I wanted to quilt it, so I could add buttons, so I had to stitch down the rope pieces first. I had quiet a few buttons already and just had to purchase the chicken buttons.
I hit a few quilt shops, oh, such a chore, to find fabric with a pig and sheep, that I could fussy cut. I got some cute llama fabric too. The pile of animals, is like the folk tale "The Musicians of Bremen." The cow barely fit on the 6" width, that I had to work with. I stitched the edges with a small zigzag stich in clear nylon thread.
For the backside I wanted to make a pocket with Tracy's daughter Annaka and her prize winning chicken pet. Gramma had sent me the photo she had taken, that I was going to use on a different project, but this was too perfect a use. I made a batting, photo and backing sandwich, that I thread painted with rayon thread. Then I collaged chicken cut outs around the pocket. The chickens are quilted and thread painted also.
So now, I am passing it to the next person, to do the last side. To see what other wonderful textile artists have been doing this week. click her for Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Round Robin Totes

Yea, a new computer to play with! It takes some getting used to, a new keyboard, touch screen, and updated software. I was definitely getting withdrawal symptoms, 6 weeks without it. The new challenge for Fyber Café is to do a round robin with a tote bag pattern. We will pass it around with 4 people, each doing the front, back, or each side. Because Clare has volunteered to weave straps/handles for us, I am doing her bag sections, twice the work for me. I began with a 14" front panel, and used curved strips, in her color palette to make a sunset. Each strip has an ironed 1/4" seam, them is stitched with monofilament in a blind hem stitch. I embellished with some satin ribbon and couched rattail cords to add extra curves to the layers.
I embellished the panel with a twisted fabric tree, and 3-D flowers. I made 5 flowers, and 1 large one, in a pretty mauve print.
Needing buttons for the centers, I made a quick trip to Joann's. "Holy moly!" buttons are expensive! The first pack I picked up was $7.50, then I found a $5 pack but I needed two of them, to get the right sizes in the quantity I needed. After a long search I found a nice big pack for $3.50. Jeez, it's for a round robin, I did not want to spend too much on just the buttons.
This tote is for Clare, who is a weaver, so I thought a celtic knot on the side panel was appropriate. I looked through several books to find a pattern I liked, but they only had a small picture, no pattern, so I had to draft it myself. I ended up simplifying it a bit, but I got it to work. I made quiet a few 1/4" wide bias strips, with fusible web on the back, and pinned, then ironed them in place. I love my little pointy Clover iron. It was all stitched on each side of the strip, with clear nylon thread in blind hem stitch.
The finished front and one side. I think she will be happy with it! I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday"click here to see what other textile artists are doing with their work this week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I am so excited, after 6 weeks without a computer, I am BACK!! I had to get a new phone too, in that time frame, and everything was not set up on that yet either, a double handicap. I have braved snow, ice, gale force winds, torrential rains and flooding, to drive from Oregon to California for Pokey Bolton's Craft Napa. I picked the perfect window of opportunity between the big snow storm at home, and the Pineapple Express heading into Calif. I was very worried and upset that I would even be able to go because of the weather, I was going to drive down the coast to avoid the snow, and then they said 12" of rain with flooding on the coast. Anyway I made it, with some nerve wracking driving, and LOTS of wind and rain. I came a few days early and am staying with my in-laws, so Tom took me computer shopping after saying my notebook was not salvageable. We did some internet shopping to find what I needed, then went to the office stores to narrow it down and find the sales. Costco had the best price on the HP laptop, and we found a great HP printer at Office Max. The printer will scan and print the 11" x 17" large format. That will be nice when I want to scan the large maple leaves, and printing on fabric, I won't have to try to hide the seam when I am thread painting. I had also gotten a Brother ScanNCut for myself for Christmas, and I got the larger model that will scan and cut 12" x 24" so a larger printer size will help with some of those projects too. After some nice visiting time with the in-laws, and several nice lunches out, I am now ready to head for Napa tomorrow, God willing and the creeks don't rise. There has been some flooding in the Sacramento valley, and all the rivers are really high. The news said Folsom dam had 13" of rain in 24 hours. I will be taking 4 classes, mostly painting, surface design type classes, screen printing, rubber stamping, foil, etc. The teachers are Melanie Testa, Sue Bleiweiss, and Judy Coats Perez. I will be staying with my nephews in Saint Helena, so I saved the expense of the hotel. I am SO excited, I have never had a class with a national teacher, I am mainly self taught, with books and the internet, and trial and error. I will have lots to share on my next blog post.