Memory Book Sunday, Aug 8 2010 

This week’s Mixed Media Monday challenge is memories.  I have just finished making memory books for my sisters, and thought it was perfect for this theme.  In June this year, I went to QSDS and took a class with book artist Pam Sussman. We learned to make fabric books.

My sister had given me some articles of clothing that belonged to my mother and asked that I create art with it. I had not been able to decide how to make such a piece for her, but the concept of a fabric book seemed a perfect use for the material. My sister loved the idea, and I was able to make one for each of my sisters and one for my nephew using the clothes.

It was a good way to use the clothes and the memories.

Click to enlarge photos.

Child’s play Saturday, May 15 2010 

This upcoming week’s Mixed Media Monday challenge was by yours truly. I invited everyone to make art like a child–techniques used by children, tap into your inner child, or something along those lines.

Oddly enough, I found this difficult. (I know I suggested it and all, but, gosh!)

There were so many options, I wasn’t sure where to start. Then, on Mother’s Day, I was with two neices, who were drawing with crayons. (Ah-ha!) I asked them to make some very abstract drawings–and there was my start.

My first piece uses a page colored by my neice, Ella, as the background. (Note the signature at the bottom right.) I added a vintage image of a child, and decided it was perfect:

Child's play by Ella.

Next, I used a drawing by Lily. I cut out a leaf shape from Lily’s art, added that to a page of music (“Jesus loves the little children”) along with another vintage child image. I put all this on a background that I finger-painted (Note to self: Do not finger paint with acrylics.) And here it is:

Lily's art

I enjoyed working with my neices, so I thought I would thank them (and their mother) with one final set of pieces from the girls’ artwork:

In the sky with diamonds Sunday, Sep 27 2009 

The Mixed Media Monday challenge for this week was provided by Yvonne, who asked that we select a piece of music that has meaning to us and create a piece around that. There are a great many songs that mean something to me. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, the era of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones. Recently, I went out of town to meet my new second cousin, Drew. I have always been very close to my cousins, and his mother, Sarah, was one of my first babysitting charges years ago. As I held Drew, Sarah and I talked about caring for babies and how, at least in our family, we seem to always sing to the little ones. I remembered how I used to hold her when she was fussy, and sway back and forth as I sang Beetle songs. My favorite song to sing to a baby or child has always been “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Of course, I always replaced “Lucy” with the name of the baby I held: Sarah, Erin, Leah, Damon, Shelby. (This always worked well, since our family leans toward two-syllable names. Drew will probably be modified to Drew-bug or Drewbie for my Beetles rendition.)

Because of this nostalgic talk with my cousin, and in honor of the next child I will serenade, I chose to base my art on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” The wall hanging includes an image transfer of a figure from a classic poster imprinted over a Nancy Crow fabric I purchased in the 1990s. I added felted flowers of yellow and green (OK, OK. They aren’t cellophane, but the felting just seemed right). The flowers and image are on a machine-quilted muslin that I hand-dyed this year.

Thank you for the challenge, Yvonne. It brought to me fond memories.

In the sky with diamonds

In the sky with diamonds

Light and Dark Sunday, Sep 13 2009 

This week’s Mixed Media Monday challenge is “round.” It was an interesting challenge and led me to create two different pieces: one light and one dark.

My light piece uses cogs from Maya Road designs to create three flowers. Each flower acts as a round frame for the photo of my sister’s family. The faces were one of the many experiments in image transfer that I have been trying. This used a gel medium to attach a photo to a piece of cloth (printed side down). Once the medium is dry, I used water to rub the paper away from the ink, leaving me with the image.

A Floral Family

A Floral Family

My dark piece represents the ways in which my thoughts spin around, moving from love to hate, from despair to hope. Each small collage represents different feelings that spiral from a center that asks “What happened?”

My thoughts spin round and round.

My thoughts spin round and round.

Family Quilt Friday, Sep 11 2009 

I love to try out new quilt/art techniques using my family as … well … guinea pigs. I’ve tried this applique process before, but saw a simplified version of it on Quilting Arts TV on September 5. I had good photos of my nephew and his moms, so I thought I would give it a shot. I am pleased with the results.  The photo is modified in Photoshop to create the applique layers, which I created in blues and purples. I also included a small photo of the family on a purple bar. All this was blanket-stitched onto a machine-quilted orange fabric. A few additional splashes of purple at the bottom, add some silver for a bit of flash, and there we have it.

Child in Blue

Child in Blue

Portrait of a little boy Wednesday, Jul 22 2009 

My nephew will be turning two in a little over a week.  He is a lovely little boy, and I don’t get to see him often enough. I used a Fourth of July him mothers sent me to create a portrait quilt based on a concept presented in the book Mixed Mania, by Debbie Crane and Cheryl Prater. It’s a fun and inspiring book, and I plan to use its “recipes” to spice up my skills and creativity.

I’ll keep you guys posted.

But first, here is Silas, Portrait of a Little Boy.

Silas, Portrait of a Little Boy

Silas, Portrait of a Little Boy

Mermom Sunday, Apr 19 2009 

Mom in 1960

Mom in 1960

The Mixed Media Monday challenge this week is mermaids. I often panic or go blank when presented with the week’s challenge, but the gods were in my favor this week. A friend of mine had asked me if I might create a “mami wata” piece for her. Since one of mami wata’s incarnations is a mermaid, I had already been thinking about the image.

I had also been going through family photos, and found one of my mom in a bathing suit.  I loved the photo and thought that perhaps I could use her photo in the composition. After all, as do many children, I considered my mom rather magical and fantastic when I was a child.

So I made a copy, pasted mom’s top on a canvas, painted in a tail and sea scene, added some “pearls” and aquatic life, and there you have it:

Mermom

Mermom

When? Sunday, Mar 1 2009 

This week’s Mixed Media  Monday Challenge is “Time.” Heather provided us with this enjoyable challenge.  Time provides many thematic avenues and images. As is often the case, much of the week was devoted to coming up with a concept that to me was “just right.”

I’ve been thinking about my father lately and something he said to me. Dad loved the outdoors. He loved to travel. He loved to hunt, to fish, to farm. He always had big plans about spending his time out on property he owned, far away from the madding crowd.

But life got in the way. He would travel when the kids grew up. He would be out on the land or on the water daily when he retired. He’d own that property when he had saved enough money. But mom died before they could travel. His rheumatoid arthritis forced him into early retirement, without the physical ability to do all the things he wanted.

He still hoped, though. His when’s changed from when he had the money or retired to when he went into remission, or when the next surgery let him walk again, or use his fingers.

Near the end, he still hadn’t give up the hope of when, but he didn’t want his children to live in its thrall.  And he told me never to wait for “when” to enjoy life. I only had the promise of now.

I made this wall hanging to honor my father’s hope that there would come a time for him to be happy and to remind myself not to wait for such a moment.

I won’t wait for when.

Make when now.

Make when now.

MMM-Mola Sunday, Jan 18 2009 

This week, I hosted Mixed Media Monday. I chose the theme primary and secondary colors because I wanted to embrace the strength and the joy that stong, vibrant colors convey. (Plus, I had this lovely Mola-inspired fabric I wanted to use.) The quilt is around 32″ x 40″ and will be given as a gift to baby coming to our family soon.

I prefer strong colors for baby quilts. Baby’s lives are filled with growth, learning, bold new ideas. Why should their bodies be swaddled in pastels? I hope my cousin, her husband and new baby find it happy and joyful, just as I hope the changes to their family with this child are happy and joyful.

Bright colors for a bright baby.

Bright colors for a bright baby.

Dia De Los Muertos Sunday, Oct 26 2008 

I’m still on a Day of the Dead kick. In light of this, my husband and I took a class on day of the dead altars from Suzanne Martino at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. It was amazingly insightful and delightful. Suzanne is a great mixed media artist, and it was a pleasure to learn from her. I was also able to add a lock and key to the piece, making it worthwhile for a Mixed Media Monday submission.

When considering a theme, I decided to honor my mother with an altar. It was a difficult choice. I considered one for my father as well, but I thought he would consider it “damned foolishness.”

So I went into the class with numerous photos of my mother and hopes to create something worthy of her. Suzanne provided a wonderful collection of embellishments and potential altar bases. She shared plans for an altar she wanted to create in honor of her father, and invited us to let the altar take shape as we sought fit.

As I dug through the images and charms, I found many that touched me, and as I began working on the altar, I would return to Suzanne’s box of treasures and find more that spoke to my feelings toward my mother. the altar included a frame with a mesh background, and to that I attached photos of my mother, flowers, a red bulldog (she went to New Albany High School — aka the bulldogs), a cross that I had given to her before she died to represent her faith, and butterflies to represent my hope of her life beyond this one.

But it wasn’t done. It needed more. So I added a wedding photo of my mother and father, and it suddenly became an altar honoring them both. I added keys and lock to represent how my parents still have a hold on my heart. I added animals to remember my father’s hunting and the varied pets he would bring to us from the woods. I added yellow ribbons to show that I will not forget them. I added yet another cross because I want to believe my parents are in a new life without pain. Without suffering. With joy.

So here is my altar to my parents.

Remembering Mom and Dad

Remembering Mom and Dad

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