Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Last Goddess

The class The Goddess and the Poet is coming to a close at the end of the month and I am SO glad that I had the opportunity to take the class. It was my first online class and I have to say that Suzi Blu is an amazing teacher - professional, friendly, and unique with just the right amount of silly. Which I love. I really learned a lot for her. I took from the class exactly what I needed/wanted. The last assignment was painting a goddess on wood. I ripped one of the first sketches I drew out of my sketchbook and started with that. I had so much fun creating texture on the canvas, layers upon layers of paper and paint and molding paste. She's a shabby chic (hehehe) with a slightly "dirty" face. At the time I painted it I saw on someone's blog how they used crackle paint in the face so of course I had to try it. (If anyone knows who I'm talking about, shoot me an email? GOT IT. Her name is Zorana and her blog is HERE.) Her hair is made of torn strips of paper, painted over with shimmery paint. Music paper is a recurring theme, you can see it through her hair and face. I like the way she turned out.

Suzi's next class is a similar class but you learn to make faces in profile and 3/4 view. I soo want to take that... along with about 5 other classes I keep hearing about. So much to learn, so little time (and cash!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

International Quilt Festival-Chicago

I had SO much fun at International Quilt Festival Chicago last weekend, I'm still recovering. And I'm going to be honest here, I only made my way through the actual quilt displays once, very quickly on my way out the door. No, I went for Make It University. MIU is a large area in the middle of the convention space that is set up for Mixed Media Artists and workshops. Drool city. I was fortunate enough to get into FOUR workshops between two days worth of festivities. My first workshop on Friday morning was with Kelli Nina Perkins and we made whimsical cartoon pins. Kelli was so cool and funny and down to earth. Fabulous teacher. Here is the cartoon pin I made, a thread spool of course!
It actually has three layers - a muslin top with text glued on, an inner of stiff interfacing, like Timtex, and a backing fabric. Plenty of glitter. We love glitter. I outlined it with ink dipped Fantastix. (More about that later.)

The next workshop I got into was with THE Pokey Bolton herself.  She is a really pretty woman and TINY. She has such a charismatic personality. Just like on her QuiltingArts TV show. 
We painted fabric in preparation for making postcards. We used Lumiere paints to give the canvas a base color, then used stencils with Smooch Spritz. We used regular Smooch to highlight areas. We made our own stamps with a product called Magic Foam. You heat it up with a heatgun and press an object into it and it makes a stamp. Pokey challenged us by asking us to look in our purses for an object that would make a good impression on the foam. I found a brass measuring tape that made a cool design. For the other stamps I used some blocks she had brought, they are used in making batik fabric and had really cool designs on them.
We got to keep the Lumiere paints and the magic foam stamps. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the fabric yet. I think it needs some contrast or graffiti type lettering on it. 

At that point I could either take another workshop and sprint from the building when it was over to make it home in time to meet my daughter off the bus, or walk around the vendor booths and see some quilts. I opted for the latter... 

The next day I took my daughter with me. We missed Belinda Spiwak's workshop on game tile charm bracelets by about 3 minutes. We put our names in the pots for the next three workshops and walked around some more and went to the Trading Wall. I found this lady and her son putting up these beautifully simple and whimsical ATC's that I immediately fell in love with. I snatched a few up and then discovered that the lady was Leilani Pierson with her son. We chatted a bit and I soon discovered that Celia and I got into her workshop, wooohooo! We made a hand stitched fabric book but we got to pound flowers to make the designs on the fabric. I had never done this before and I swear, it was like magic! Here is my book: 

Yes, those colors on there are all REAL flower juice! We also used stamps and inks and cut out text words to decorate the fabric. Leilani has an amazing way with words. I think that's why I fell in love with her ATC'S: 
I just have to figure out a fabulous way to display them now. 

The next workshop up was Kelli Nina Perkins' Thread Spool Poetry workshop. As you may know, I made several of these already but it was so much fun to have Kelli's live instructions. While we worked, she read really bad poetry to us. It was pretty funny.  Leilani and her son sat in front of us and we got to chat a bit more. She is really a remarkable lady and so easy to talk to. Both my daughter and I made a thread spool. 
Mine is the purple one and reads: "The blue moon shone on the sapphire forest Her anxious voice moved the night". And Celia's is the blue one. She got pretty silly with her words but she had so much fun in this class! Hers says: "The queen's married green telephone hopped beyond the sad candy bar mountains to Captain Freddy". Hey, it's not called free form poetry for nothing!

At this point I had a starving kid and I guess I had to feed her. We skipped on the next workshop and ate some really expensive hot dogs and wandered around the vendors some more. I ended up buying some Tsukineko all purpose inks in a rainbow of colors and some Fantastix to go with them.  I blame it on Kelli. We used them in her cartoon pin class and they were really cool! You just dip the fantastix into the ink to cover the tip and it wicks up a bit and you can draw or write with them. You can use them over and over (with the same color) and they won't dry out. You can't use acrylic ink with them though because the acrylic will gunk them up. I also bought a small package of Misty Fuse and picked some brains on how to use them with the Angelina Fibers I've had stashed here for a few years. The Embellishment Village booth was truly drool-worthy also but I resisted... 

Besides Leilani's beautiful ATC's I came home with some other really cool trades. I traded an ATC with a beautiful spirited woman I sat with in my first workshop. She had a cool English accent but she flew in from New York, where she currently lives. Her ATC is the top one just right of the big red heart, it's an abstract of Central Park. As you can tell I was really enamored with the fabric ATC's this time. Going clockwise from the Central Park one is a patchwork ATC by Marjorie Peterson from NM. The sunburst one is by Julia Ann Hyll, MI; the one on the bottom right is by Ann Mays; center bottom is by Kathy Palmiter; "Perfectly Pink" is a collaboration between Lyn Henderson and Cindy Bettinger, IL; The heart fabric postcard was made by Debbie in IL; and the ATC in the center was made by Cindy Loos.
I also came home with some pendants and pins. A lady named BJ Kennedy had a shirt full of these really cool steampunkish looking pins and I got so excited I ran and got my domino pendants and asked her if she would trade with me. It's the one on the left. The center top one was made by Belinda Spiwak and the center bottom one I stamped with a Fred Mullet stamp at the Open Studio with Belinda. Both are stamped on Mah Jong tiles. The charm on the right was made by a very talented lady by the name of Barbara Triscarl. Believe it or not, the charm was made from a plastic gelato spoon! Her gelato spoon charm was featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine reader challenge. You can see it on her blog, called Artsy Fartsy Triscartsi. How cool is that?
Finally, my last catch of the day turned into another case of "this caught my eye before I knew who made it." These gorgeous prints were up on the wall and I was immediately attracted to them. Upon closer inspection I saw they were signed by Judy Coates Perez! And just a moment earlier I snatched this cute manga like character from the wall made by a woman named Nina Perez. Yep, they are mother and daughter, apparently talent runs strong in the Perez veins!
Wow, did I write enough? I'm just so jazzed by all the beauty and art and talented people I met. It was so inspirational. I'm extremely disappointed that International Quilt Festival will no longer be hosted by Chicago. They are moving to Cincinnati. So this was my first experience taking "in person" workshops from my mixed media idols and I can't look forward to it next year. Very sad.

I leave you with some eye candy from Kelli Perkins' Open Studio space. Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thread Spool Poetry

I finished my two thread spool poetry "things" for my swap. They were inspired by Kelli Perkins and when my sketchbook group saw them on her blog, we fell in love and decided to  make a swap of it.  Kelly is also going to be teaching a workshop on how to make these at International Quilt Festival this weekend in Rosemont, IL. I am just about crazy enough to pay for the workshop, just to take a class with her! 
The green one reads: "An anticipated bite of buttered scone... relish a small moment of magic... I insist" (I keep thinking of that buttered scone...mmm)  

They are so much fun to make, I've got another two almost completed, waiting for words, and another three or four started. And I have giant vintage wooden spool that I bought from Rebecca Ersfeld of Vintage Living, a gorgeous little boutique in downtown Glen Ellyn. (She is also featured in the next Where Women Create magazine!) Of course I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with them all. They're just pretty and fun to make. AND I learned something while making these. Always make sure your muslin is unrolling the right direction and your embellishment ends up on TOP as you unroll it. Learned that lesson the hard way, hehe. 
The pink one unrolls to the found poetry words: "You have a remarkable beauty and kind heart" 

I love this one and I can honestly say that whoever gets this one, it will apply. Because all the women in the group are remarkable women and I am so grateful to have met them and I feel so privileged to be able to share and swap art with them. Mwah!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bits and Blobs

I just can't do Mixed Media Monday today. The theme was "Hello Dolly".  I'm drawing a complete blank and decided I'm skipping it this week. No need to stress about it.

I finished my Thread Spool Poetry project. The words are drying, and tomorrow I will take pictures in the natural daylight. I love the way they turned out. It's weird that I will be swapping them out and won't see them again. Like sending the kids away... but I'll get a couple of new kids I guess which will be just as pretty. So it's all good.

It was a gorgeous weekend and I ended up at the Arboretum on Saturday. Running around for four hours. Ouch. The Magnolia's were blooming. Everything else was budding. There was so much energy in the air, dormant, ready to burst.

It was the opening weekend for a sculptural exhibit called "Steel Roots" by an artist named Steve Tobin. I was in picture taking heaven. (Did I mention I love my camera?) Here are some examples of Tobin's sculptures:
Giant Steel Roots made from large metal tubing, heated and bent. This was probably 12'-15' tall.

Elegant, flowing, fluid dance of steel.

Like a giant doodle in the sky. I laid on the ground and shot straight up for this one.

This one reminded me of fighting.

You can see the patterns the water makes as it is slowly allowed to rust. 

More dancing doodles...

I love the juxtaposition between the cold dark hard steel and the gnarly tree behind it.

This sculpture was made out of steel fireworks launching tubes. It looks like some ancient coral or sea creature to me.

That's all I have for today. I found out my Zendalas made it to Canada (finally!) I hope customs enjoyed looking at them! Next up on my list of things to do are the Round Robin pages for this month, theme "red and orange"; and start my Marie Antoinette RR portfolio. We're doing things a bit different this time...

Have a good week everyone!