Mellow Yellow Sunday, Sep 5 2010 

This week’s Mixed Media Monday challenge is “warm it up.” We were asked to go with warm colors and let our imaginations run wild. My warm yellow paper played so nicely with the green that I think it’s a very mellow combination.

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Cool blues Monday, Aug 30 2010 

Mixed Media Monday‘s theme this week is “cool it down.” I used a hand-dyed blue fabric, machine quilted it with a variegated blue thread, added hand embroidery of forget-me-nots (really, that’s what I was going for), and added lace and brown felted patches.

I think this definitely is cool. 

Seeing Red Saturday, Aug 21 2010 

This week, I hosted Mixed Media Monday’s challenge. The theme is “seeing red.” Now, I don’t use a lot of red in my work. I tend toward cooler colors. I started by sewing together a number of red fabrics. I was going to use that as my background, when I suddenly realized that a piece of green cloth I had been embellishing might be the perfect backdrop for my red.

I think the rectangles of red drive the piece and show off the red in a way that an all-red collage would not. The background is a hand-dyed green fabric, stamped with Lumiere paint and highlighted with some of my new Derwent Inktensive pencils.  The entire piece was free-motion quilted, and then purple and gold fabric beads were added to  the red strip-pieced rectangles.

A little birdie told me Sunday, Aug 15 2010 

Mixed Media Monday’s challenge this week was “embellish it.” I had just gotten Jane Davila’s “Surface Design Essentials,” and I decided to use the book in meeting the challenge.

The piece below starts with fabric that was originally “embellished” by being used to clean brushes and wipe down a table after I created another piece of cloth. Once that was bordered with brown, I stenciled on a bird and some dragonflies and then used Derwent Inktense pencils (which are really great to use!) to enhance the blue. I free-motion quilted the piece and then added gold buttons and some brass brads to play off the gold in the fabric and bronze tone of the dragonflies.

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.

Adding finishing touches Thursday, Aug 5 2010 

I’m not the best person for finishing projects. I get excited, do the fun part and then do a little happy dance. However, my husband asked me to attach one of my quilted wall hangings to a canvas, and it made me realize how much nicer a piece can look if you add just a little more to the process.

As an example, here is a piece I created for a Mixed Media Monday challenge that I really liked:

I think it is lovely as is, but what if I place it on a painted canvas?

All I need is a canvas, some paint and practice mixing my colors. (My, I love burnt sienna!

Perched in a gilded cage

Now, I think that is beautiful and has a lot more presence. It’s worth going on my Etsy Site.

Personal symbols Wednesday, May 26 2010 

This week, for Mixed Media Monday,  I invited artists to think about the myths and symbols they often use in their work. They were asked to create a piece using some of those symbols/myths and explain why the symbols speak to them.

My piece, Take Flight, uses the image of a bird and text. After thinking about my own imagery, I realized that birds and text both speak to me.

Birds/flight suggest freedom, spiritual paths, and creativity to me. They symbolize my desire to rise above my doubts, to create things that are beautiful, for my spirit to soar with joy, to escape the bonds of my self-imposed limitations.

Text, both readable and as a visual element, remind me of my efforts to make sense and give meaning to my life and to my art. While I sometimes use actual words (see “Joy” in this piece), I also like to use text with no intention of understanding the words. This helps remind me that sometimes, the words are not as important as the image.

The background of “Take Flight” is free-motion quilted. The bird is transferred over the top of words–written and printed–that I had printed onto fabric for another piece.  I added faux typewriter keys that spell “joy” on the right, and a line of moons fall below the bird.

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:

Happily ever after? Sunday, May 9 2010 

This week’s Mixed Media Monday challenge is “wedded bliss.”

I used a canvas board background that I have been fussing with for months (adding, blotting out, adding again). I added to it An image from a 1950s Screen magazine showing a couple in a traditional 50s home.

I’ve always wondered about the marriages of the 50s. With a wife at home with the kids. One income enough. And (according to all the TV shows) everyone always looking glamorous.

It’s such a fairy tale, and one that many of us were taught to believe. And I’ve always wondered. Did all these TV couples really live happily ever after?

Taking flight Sunday, May 2 2010 

Mixed Media Monday’s theme this week is “Mother.” This theme is pretty easy for me, since I’m always using my mom’s image in my work.

This wall hanging started with fabric I dyed, painted, stamped and wrote on. I added more texture to the fabric with some free motion quilting.

I had a quote from “Hamlet” in which he chastises his mother. (Not something I would ever do, but I wanted some text that included the word “mother.”) I gave the text piece a rust shadow to which I added some brads that looked like tarnished bronze.

Last year, I purchased an “inspiration kit” by Stef Francis that was so cool and beautiful that I hadn’t been able to use it.  (Sad, isn’t it?) Well, the colors in the kit (rusts, coppers, reds) worked so beautifully with my fabric that I knew it was time to open it up. I used the mottled felt as a frame for a photo of my mother, printed on organza. I mirrored that with a piece of rusty brown crinkled silk that framed two skeleton leaves (all of which were also from the kit). I added some hand-dyed green fabric, and found that the kit also had a lovely rayon variegated embroidery floss that ranged from browns to greens. I used that to stitch around mom’s photo and to add French knots at each corner of the crinkled silk.

And so, my mother takes flight in this fabric collage.

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