Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gorgeous Views, But....

Both houses have phenomenal views of the river, but unfortunately they are overpriced by a mile. Each house needs a lot of work, and we are not looking for a "fixer-upper". We'd like a place to go relax on the weekends, and both of these houses would be places to go spend our weekends working on them.

The realtor did show us some nice acreage lots farther down the river, and we may be interested in one of those. Right now, they aren't mowed, and I wasn't dressed (capris and sandals) to go wading through the tall grass and mud to see which lot has the best view. She will call us when they are mowed, and we'll go back dressed more appropriately.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Platte River

We spent yesterday at an artist's house/studio on the shore of the Platte River. She and her husband hosted a group of artists from the gallery for a potluck BBQ, and the weather cooperated beautifully --- clear skies with a light breeze blowing all afternoon. Sitting along the bank, I fell in love with the serenity of the area, and her husband graciously golf-carted us around to look at the houses for sale in the area. Bottom line --- we have two riverfront houses to look at this week. We are thinking this would be a "weekend getaway for two / working studio for me during the week" type of purchase. Stay tuned for updates as we tour the houses.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's Official!

Yesterday afternoon I got the call from the jurying committee at the gallery. I'm in! Thanks to everyone who crossed their fingers (and toes) for me, and for all of the good vibes that were sent my way. Next is an orientation meeting to meet the other artists at the end of September.

And from the studio...
these are some fun new postcards that I made this week. I started with a watercolor background, added some tissue paper elements and a piece or two of cloth, then finished with some screen printed text. I started with 12 postcards, and I was happy with 10 of them when I finished. The other 2 designs taught me a lesson or two, which is also a valuable use of supplies.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

From Neutrals to Bold Colors!

Yesterday I received a fabulous package of fabric scraps in the mail from my friend and fellow artist, Virginia Spiegel, as a thank you gift for a favor that I did for her. The sight above is what greeted me when I unwrapped the tissue paper. Aren't these colors amazing?!!?! For now, I have left them in this stack, providing inspiration each time I walk past them. In the future, I will include them in collages and other new work, and each time I use one of these fabrics, I will remember our friendship.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

100% Iceland wool yarn, 100% New Zealand wool roving, 100% silk yarn (pre-mordanted)

Many times, natural dyeing is all about experimentation --- being willing to try new plants and accept the failures along with the successes. The photo above is one of those experiments.

When I was in the papermaking workshop, we cooked iris leaves to make a pulp for paper. The instructor explained that the reason for the cooking was to break down the fibers and remove the tannin from the leaves. As a natural dyer, my training is that tannin is good --- it is a natural mordant --- so if you use a plant that is high in tannin for dyeing, you save a step by not having to pre-mordant your fibers.

As I watched Leandra strain off the liquor from the cooked iris leaves, it looked to me like a fabulous dyepot was about to go down the drain, so I spoke up about the possibility of dyeing with the strained liquor. Leandra graciously volunteered to save it for me to take home and experiment. The unknown variable, at least to me, was that this liquor had washing soda added to it, and I wasn't sure how that would react in the dyeing process. While I did get gorgeous neutrals out of the dyepot, the fibers are nowhere near as intense as the liquor, so the washing soda definitely had an adverse effect on the dyepot. Another lesson learned.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Debbi Baker just let me know that she has nominated me as an Inspirational Blogger. I'm always thrilled to hear from someone that enjoys reading my blog, as I'm never quite sure if I have the right mix of art, gardening, and news to interest anyone, let alone inspire them.

Part of the award process is to pay it forward by nominating 5 blogs that I find inspirational. There are an incredible number of blogs these days, and I read many of them in the evening when I am relaxing with a glass of wine. Here are some of my favorites (and yes, I know I've included an extra one --- I couldn't get my favorites down to only 5):

Miguel Herranz - a blog of his sketches from life in Italy

France Belleville - another blog that features daily sketches

Karen Bettencourt - a collage artist

Inge Mardal & Steen Hougs - a duo of textile artists from France

Rayna Gillman - a textile artist

Virginia Spiegel - a mixed media artist whose blog includes inspirational photos

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Good News

I just got notification that I’ve made it through the first round for inclusion in the local artists’ gallery that I applied to at the beginning of the month. This was a jury elimination based on 5 actual pieces of artwork, 10 photos of additional pieces of artwork, and my cv. The next step is a panel interview on Tuesday with 5 artists from their jurying committee. I was told to be prepared to answer questions and speak about the pieces that I had dropped off for the jury process. I don't know how many artists are still in the running, but I have found out that there is only one opening for a new artist. Keep those fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Papermaking Workshop - Part 2

The Sunday session of the workshop was "Sculpture", and we learned several techniques for forming 3D vessels and sculptures.

This is our fearless leader, Leandra Spangler, in her handmade paper costume of Brunhilde. This outfit is one of the full-size costumes that her paper dolls were patterned after. When an instructor has the guts to model an outfit like this, and allow photos, you know we had fun!

This is the bowl that I created in the first section of the sculpture class. We were casting papers over other objects, and I chose a square shaped bowl as my object for casting. I plan to add stone legs to the bowl later.

This was the final project I made. We had the choice of making a free-form structure with sticks or weaving an armature out of reeds. I used sticks to form the base structure for this luminary, then covered it with a translucent paper and added a votive candle to the center. The sticks are in a random pattern, so that each side of the luminary looks unique when it is lit.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Papermaking Workshop - Part 1

This past weekend I traveled to Columbia, MO to take a papermaking workshop with Leandra Spangler, owner of Bear Creek Paperworks. I had seen Leandra's work in an exhibition and knew immediately that this was the artist that I wanted to teach me papermaking. Saturday was spent learning the process --- from cooking the plantstuffs, to using the beater to make the pulp, to mixing the slurry, and finally to pulling the actual sheets of paper. If you are ever interested in learning the process for making handmade paper, I highly recommend Leandra as an instructor.

Photo of the beater with iris pulp in it.

Daffodil paper

Giant Reed paper (also known as American Bamboo)

Iris paper

Pineapple Tops paper

Surprise Lily paper

Yucca paper

Monday, August 06, 2007

More Harvest

Here's the latest selection from the garden, minus the turnips that are already cut and in the fridge. Today the cabbage will turn into coleslaw, and some of the others will get sliced for salads.

I didn't post last week, because it ended up being a very busy week for me. First I received an email from another local artist interested in starting a new cooperative gallery. I went and looked at the building that she wants to lease, and we started brainstorming on ideas. On Saturday we held a meeting with other interested artists, and it looks like this idea may very well happen. While this was all very exciting, it took a lot of time away from my studio.

And in the midst of researching how other local artists' cooperatives are set up, I discovered that one of the well established cooperatives is finally accepting applications for new members. That sent me into a whirlwind of preparing all of the requirements for submission to their jurying committee. This cooperative is located in the revitalized area of downtown --- a very artsy, trendy, fun area that I love to hang out in. Saturday I dropped off my artwork, photos and paperwork. Now begins the wait for official notification of acceptance or rejection. Wish me luck!