Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

A Year of Mark Making

My friend, Deb Prewitt, over at Blue Twig Studio threw down a challenge for 365 days of art for 2014. I have to admit that I am really terrible at consistency and the idea of publicly committing to a daily practice and posting it daily is just too overwhelming. On the other hand I have been trying to improve my consistency score. So, I decided in true mixed media fashion to twist the rules to suit my needs. I will tweek the challenge a bit and post my efforts as often as possible and not feel shame if I can't do it every day.

The spirit of the challenge is to take time to play, create and have fun every day while improving your skills. I have drawing had on my 'improve skills list' for at least 6 years. I have taken a few classes and have improved a bit so I thought I should revisit this drawing improvement idea for this challenge. In keeping with my guiding word of intention I asked myself to what end do I want to improve my drawing skills? I love illustration and detailed drawings and I can manage basic sketching. What exactly do I want to improve because let's face it...if I really loved drawing I would do more if it already.

I realized that my work is much more about mark making; recording marks in the world both man-made and nature made. I am fascinated by texture and line. While I would love to magically be able to sit down and sketch out a detailed street scene I don't care about it enough to put in the practice time. My work is becoming much more abstract; moving away from representational and that magical ability really wouldn't help move my art forward though it might impress people and increase my genius standing!

Sometimes my mark making will be on paper and sometimes with stitch. Here are two of my journal pages from this last week. I am dealing with a hand injury so all of my mark making has been with my left hand! I am enjoying this switch because I have less control and think that left handed drawing will have to become a frequent player in my mark making journey.

mark-making-journal-pages-1-of-2mark-making-journal-pages-2-of-2

 

Anyone else want to play along?

 

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A Bit of Holiday Textile Cheer Tutorial

 

 

christmas-cards-liz-and-cass-web-1-of-2

 

Happy Holidays to all our Textile Evolution Community.

 

My studio mate Cass Mullane and I decided to whip up some fun textile cards for the staff at Cottonwood Center for the Arts where our studio is located. They were so fun and easy I thought you might like a quick tutorial.  I know it is a bit late for Christmas cards but this technique works with any theme. Cupcakes for birthdays, hearts for Valentines or shamrocks for St. Paddy's day...you get the idea.

 

christmas-cards-liz-and-cass-web-2-of-2

 

Steps:

1. Rip strips of fabric 1/2" to 3/4" wide. This is a great stash buster for all those little bits you have left over from other projects.

2. Find a stabilizer for your base and cut to the desired size. Ours are 4"x6". Just about any stabilizer will work. You can use muslin, tear away stabilizer, craft fuse or Form-Flex All Purpose which is what we used.

3. Apply Misty Fuse fusible web to your stabilizer base unless it already has a fusible base.

4. Lay your strips on top of the fused stabilizer and follow manufacturer's directions to fuse the strips in place.

5. Now for the fun part! Embellish it!

6. You can stamp a design with paint on the surface like our tree cards.  Be sure to choose a strong design. I love wooden printing blocks for this part. After stamping the design we stitched with metallic thread and added some shimmer paint for extra shine.

7. Our sassy snowgirls are created using various sizes of faux ultra suede stitched with metallic thread. The black coal eyes and buttons are small circles of black fabric fused on the snowgirl bodies and their noses a simple open lazy daisy stitch. For a final jaunty touch we stitched on ripped strips of a plaid for a scarf. These girls are going out on the town!

8. Trim up your cards if needed and apply Misty Fuse to the back of the fabric/stabilizer. Fuse to a purchased card base. Stitch around the outside with a zigzag stitch and you are ready to receive the oohs and ahhhs from everyone who gets one.

This would be a great project to do with kids too.

 

You can find wooden printing blocks at Artistic Artifacts, and if you are in Colorado Springs Blue Twig Studio and I have blocks available.

 

Don't forget to take time to just be and breathe during this crazy busy time of year. Celebrate the seconds of extra sunlight we have each day and each precious moment with your loved ones.

 

Stitching is perfect for slowing us down...

 

 

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Getting Ready for School



Kathy King's Delectable cloth



No, I am not literally getting myself ready for school and my one remaining student gets himself ready for school and doesn't even need help with his homework...they do grow up! Anyway, for me, the summer is always crazy busy and this year we had the amazing Textile Evolution Retreat smack in the middle of August. I looked at the calendar on August 1, took a deep breath, started working and Bamm! the next thing I knew it was September already! How did that happen?


First let me tell you about the retreat. Once again it was anĀ  incredible experience for both teachers and students...a lot of laughter, a few tears, fabulous art and a birthday party! Here are a few photos to make you jealous!Mono-printed messenger bags for each student.


The mono-printed messenger bags made out of Multi-Purpose Cloth (Love this stuff!) were stuffed with goodies from our awesome sponsors!


Judy Gula and Carol Sloan shopping at Blue Twig Studio on-site store.


Oh, yes we had not one but TWO on-site stores full of art deliciousness! Feast on these yummy offerings from Artistic Artifacts.





Evening tutorial



After dinner we had great demos and tutorials...here Laura Cater-Woods, Judy Gula and Carol Sloan share their many different approaches to rust dyeing fabric. There was a rust dyeing frenzy that followed this lecture.

We didn't know we could DRAW!



Students from Carol Sloan's Whimsical Mark Making class...as they shared their class work each one said 'WOW, I didn't know I could draw'.

Fabrics from Delectable Cloth



Just a small sample of the luscious fabrics created in Delectable Cloth with me.

Kerry Cain's Indigo Shibori cloth



Cat Mikkelson's Indigo Shibori show and tell



When the students from the Indigo Shibori class started showing their work it sounded like we were at a fireworks show...ohhhh...ahhhhh.....ohhhhh.....ahhhhhh!

Deb Prewitt's books from Carol Sloan's class



Kathy King's tree book made in my class



I am sad to announce that the Textile Evolution Retreat is going on hiatus. As wonderful as the experience is for the students and teachers (oh my gosh...the surveys made me cry because everyone loved it so much!) and as much as I love putting on this great event I have had to decide on where to spend my time. The retreat takes the majority of my time and I want to focus more on teaching and creating an on-line community of people who love to stitch. So, stay tuned for changes here on the web site.

The first change is that my friend and co-author Ruth Chandler has joined me in this quest to bring the full dance of joy in making stuff with fabric and thread to all of you! Our book studies are going strong and if you are thinking of a back to school educational event for yourself come and join us! It is FREE! You have to have our books but there isn't any other cost. Everything is in the forum section of this web site. We have lots of great info and some video tutorials...best of all you can start where ever you are and go through the workshop at your own pace! You are never 'behind'! Don't you love that? Who needs guilt added to having fun? OTOH if you need an excuse for the family to get into your studio, you simply tell them you have a class you are taking and must get your homework done! Great modeling for the kids and you get to play!

Kyle Gula's photo from the top of Pikes Peak



Judy Gula's family arrived right after the retreat and so I was 'forced' to show them around our fabulous state. We included a quick trip to Breckenridge where Judy and I scrounged the Sally Barber mine site for bits of rusted metal laying around...of course this resulted in another frenzy of rust dying. They headed up Pikes Peak on their own and were treated to an amazing display of Colorado weather...sun on the peak and storms surrounding them in every direction.

No wonder I lost all of August...it was full of fun, friends, art and laughter! Life is good!
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