Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Fiber Arts Studio Tour

Last Saturday I went to a local Fiber Arts Studio in Big Rock, IL. It's called Esther's Place (I learned Esther is the name of a sheep!) and I think I'm still drooling a little bit. My friend's daughter is taking a spinning class there so Celia and I tagged along. Oh. My. Goodness. What a neat little shop filled with colorful soft wooly goodness. They say to fiber artists it's like a kid in a candy store, but I say it's more like crack to drug addict! (Not that I would know...) But seriously, what is it about little colorful balls of wool that make you feel so comfortable and cozy? Or maybe it was the owner's mother, Donna. Sweet lady, so easy to talk to, instant friend. She threw a bunch of wool roving on the table and let us sit and felt to our hearts content. 
I made a flower pin, my daughter's hands are working on a penguin and her friend Diana is busy with her creation. Diana and her sister and their mom are are pros at this. The whole family can do amazing things with yarn!

Every nook and cranny held some visual and textural delight, including this felted vessel. 
And how cute are these little curly haired felted sheep? Who knew you could felt natural curly sheep hair on a felted base like that? I didn't! And then there were the bins full of dyed curly hair! 
Oh, and who knew there was a MACHINE that could card your wool for you? I didn't either! 
I am in love with this wall hanging the owner, Natasha Lehrer, made. It just came back from an exhibit in Verona, Italy. It's made with hand dyed silk, wool, wire, cloth, oil pastels, beads and threads. It is absolutely gorgeous, pictures don't do it justice. 
Now I want to make one. I have a box of wool in various stages of "readiness" that my friend Anna sent me, and okay, like a crack addict, I HAD to have some of those colorful balls of goodness from here. (No, that's not my shopping cart, just a display!) I didn't know sheep come in so many different colors! (hehe)
Donna threw in for free, a felting foam pad and a couple of felting needles... and I have everything else I need to make something wonderful. I want to start out with a little mini project, abstract-like, maybe use some of the silk fibers and beads from my store, a little sparkle, a little bling...

Does anyone know where to start? What kind of base I would use? Any good fiber artists I should look up or you tube videos I should check out for inspiration? Any help would be appreciated!

Have a wild and wooly weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Breathe. Repeat.

If you are feeling stressed out, or need some cooling down from the heatwaves hitting our nation, this is a little gift for you.

Sit with me on the rocks on Otter Point, in Acadia National Park, Maine. Listen to the waves crashing over the rocks. The sea gurgles as the waves run across the rocks and back into the ocean. Sea gulls glide above. The cool salt spray mists your face while the sun warms it. Soft warm breeze in your hair... Take a deep breath. Relax.  Repeat. 

That's all. I needed that. How about you?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled program...

That's an order! 

It's been very difficult getting back to "real life" after a visit to one of the most beautiful places in the country. My little family just took a 1200 mile road trip from Chicago to Bar Harbor Maine, with a 2 day stop in Burlington, Vermont. I've never been east of Indiana so it was all very exciting. I did keep a travel journal, but I'm ashamed to admit it's not "finished". I took notes along the way but I can't write or draw in the car without a bit of barfing to go along with it. Plus, I needed some of the 400+ pictures I took. I'll elaborate on the trip once I get my journal together. Just trust me when I say... [Loooooong Sigh]

I bought the picture above from a Vermont artist, Dug Nap. It resonated with me and I hung it up in my studio. Check out his web site, he comes up with some truly crazy stuff! Instead of tacky tourist souvenirs, we ended up supporting some local artists and bought some prints and artwork for our home. 

I had the most wonderful time gallery hopping in Bar Harbor, Maine. I met so many beautiful, friendly people and talented artists. Oh, so much to tell... but not all right now. One of my favorite galleries was D'Alessio Gallery, run by artist Russell D'Alessio and his wife Linda. I walked into his gallery, into his newest show, and there were Mermaids/Sirens of the sea hanging on the wall! How perfect is that? (I LOVE Mermies!) Linda told me about a class they were having in a few days with polymer clay artist Suzanne Anderson... and I thought I'd challenge myself. I've never seriously worked with clay before so Celia and I signed up. She was a great teacher and we came away from the class with several completed objects - a cool pendant and matching earrings. 

Not bad for a beginner, eh? Celia made a bunch of little beads and a replica of a nesting doll, but those I still have to bake and harden. It was such a fun day, creating with my hands, chatting with other artists, Russell even played his ukulele for us and Linda served us beautiful cupcakes :-) I was so sad to leave. All my artist friends are online so it was nice to talk to artists in "real" life. 

I think I'm in love. I don't like where I live right now, the endless stinky suburbia of a large city. I want to live here... by the ocean, by like minded people, where the air is clean and the water tastes good right out of the tap, and there's space around you and mountains to climb and stars to see at night. 

[Looooooong sigh]

Friday, July 8, 2011

The time is near!

Just a quick post to remind everyone that Artful Gathering 2011 is about to commence! Classes start July 16th. Have you seen the teacher lineup? It's fabulous! Drawing, painting, collaging, bookmaking, journaling, jewelry, dollmaking, tool-using. Well, the one BAD thing about this event is choosing which classes to take! Today I'm leaning toward Jodi Ohl's class "Mixed Faux Encaustic Discovery." It's the type of art I want to focus on... but tomorrow I may change my mind. Good thing it's online and seats won't "sell out." I wish I could take all the classes... but alas, I'm not independently wealthy (yet) and I'm currently taking "21 secrets" and want to take a class at the upcoming CREATE event when it comes near my hometown in August.

In addition to this 'what class to take' conundrum, I'm very excited that ARTISTCELLAR is a sponsor of Artful Gathering! We have a very nice sponsor page over there, and if you leave a comment for me at the bottom of the page, you'll be eligible for a drawing for FREE goodies! I've put together an "appetizer platter" that includes a bottle of colorwash spray, a distress stain, a stencil, a jar of Stewart Gill Byzantia paint, and a pack of fibers. And I'm talking full size stuff... not mini-samples. So be sure the stop by, check out Artistcellar's sponsor page and leave a comment over there. The drawing will be very soon, Zinnia is working on the video right now. Here's a picture of the prize:
And this is only the FIRST giveaway prize. There are more giveaways to come. Other sponsors are also giving away prizes so be sure to visit them too! 

See you there!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wild Hearts

Happy July!
When someone on my SketchbookProject group suggested making some Wild Heart Art this is what came to mind. Of course it was the complete opposite of what was intended... she was talking about giant art, giant canvas, painted freely with wild abandon. Umm. Not really me. Besides, I have NO wall space available to hang large canvases or paper. That I can drip paint all over at least. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.

This is tiny art. It's a 5' x 7" canvas board that was collaged with bits of paper - maps, foreign text, music paper, etc. The a wild heart painted and layered and painted and layered, same with the background. Last, I painted the bold black outline and the words. I dedicated this one to Effy Wild over at Wild Precious Art Group at ning. It just seemed to fit.

Anway, I've got a whole series of hearts started on a bigger canvas size, with different words on them. What word describes YOUR heart? Hmm. Maybe I should make custom ones.  *~* DING *~*