Friday, July 30, 2010

Am I going in circles?

These days I feel as if I am turning, turning, turning in a huge circle (or is it a U-turn).  I'm not sure -- but here I am back working full time on art dolls.  A long time ago (or does it just seem like such, time being so relative) I made primitive dolls.  For five years or so I stitched hundreds and hundreds of little arms and legs.  I tea and coffee stained so much fabric that my fingers were consistently brown.  I worked the craft show circuit in Georgia and Tennessee, packing up all my little people and taking them to urban shows and country shows.  Each year I made up lots and lots of primitive Santa's to add to my inventory.  I told the story of topsy turvy dolls and shared my vision of dolls played with during the early history of our country.  After awhile I felt as if I were on a production line of stitchery (and indeed I was) so it was time to move on.

At that time I discovered lots of new-to-me art forms.  I learned the use of handmade paper and decoupage and playing with collage.  I discovered the magazine "Somerset Studio" which opened all sorts of doors for my creative mind to peek into.  My whole world changed while I created book art.  The world of craft shows was reduced to those few gallery or art shows that I could find that would take 3D work.  The work was amazingly fun and new discoveries were always right around the corner.

As a result of my book art I discovered the world of beading -- especially encrusted beading.  And as you know I have been completely hooked on that -- laborious as it can be it is such a completely mediative art form.  Slip the beads on the needle, put the needle into fabric, lay the beads down and do this quietly, over and over again as the pattern reveals itself.  Wonderous!!!

While working on various encrusted projects I realized that I could make some figure forms using my newly learned skills.  That was a wonderful discovery for me (as you probably know if you've read earlier postings).  And now, with my latest work "Birdsong" I am back into art doll work again.  The circle has been made -- this time I enter it with a 'beading viewpoint'. 

I'm not sure why I always seem to end up with 'people' as my art form.  Perhaps I'm intrigued by them, perhaps I need more friends *smile*, perhaps I just love the idea of bringing the human form to life.  Whatever it is - once again I am trying to bring a little magic into my studio in the form of the figure.

Let's see what I come up with during this turn of the circle.

"Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm". - Earl Nightingale

Monday, July 26, 2010

Art Trek Tryon

This past weekend we drove over to Polk County to visit several studios which were open for the weekend art tour.  I have to share a couple of these with you because they were just my absolute favorites.

Janet Orselli creates the most unusual and wonderful 'found object' pieces.  She uses 'old' items, like shoe lasts and roller skates, kitchen utensils and vacant wasp nests.  Each piece begs you to look at it over and over again.  Her combination of items to create each piece is pure creativity!  She captures the age of the items used and imparts her own bit of whimsy.  A joy to look at!

Martine House is a fabric artist.  Artist is truly the word for her.  Using fabric she creates collage pictures, quilts and books (just to name a few).  Her most recent work is what captured my imagination.  She has made boxes that open and inside are treasures.  The flower I'm showing here has petals that actually open up and nestled inside is a beautiful beaded necklace.  Yes, she not only works with fabric but with beads (what more could you want).  Because of the intricacy of her work she hand stitches most of the outer work.  Teeny, tiny perfect stitches!

I love studio tours - both visiting them and participating in them.  The whole idea of these artists sitting patiently in their homes or studios day after day creating their art fills me with wonder. 

"From wonder into wonder existence opens". - Lao Tzu 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July BJP

My word for July is "Journey".  For almost two years I've been on a journey to learn and create encrusted beading.  This was a journey that followed behind my book arts journey and before that my primitive doll and art doll journeys.  As you can see I'm a real traveler!

For some reason, perhaps the hot summer day doldrums have set in, I had a difficult time getting started on this month's project.  I got part way through and then it sat here on my work table while I spent time on bigger projects (and to tell the truth much more interesting-to-me projects).  But I made it with time to spare, after all my procrastinating.

At times, while trying to finish this past weekend, it almost seemed like some of those life journeys that we all have to take.  You know the ones, where you are locked into something and can't seem to get off the train but have to keep riding until your destination is finally reached.  That has been July for me. 

Wonder where my word jar will take me next month - guess I'll only have to wait a couple of weeks to find out...

"The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps". - Bob Black

Friday, July 16, 2010


"Birdsong" - She keeps the caged bird company in the hope that she will learn how to whistle.

Ever since childhood I have wanted to be able to whistle - sadly that gene was left out of my DNA!  And so I hum, but certainly wish I could 'whistle a happy tune' once in awhile. 

Birdsong brought several 'firsts' for me.  The embroidered face and using non-encrusted beaded embroidery were new to me.  Both of them presented their very own challenges and I have to say I learned a lot. 

My current goal for art doll figures is to make each one with a 'stage' in mind.  This cage, seemed from first sight to be the perfect place for an art doll. 

The actual placement hanging wasn't quite as seamless as I would have hoped but again, that's part of the learning process.  Without a few challenges I'd soon get bored.

Because I didn't utilize encrusted beading I was able to make this art doll a bit larger than past figures.  I'm also experimenting with limbs, which I didn't utilize in my encrusted beading. 

I wouldn't be surprised to walk into my studio any day now, and hear the sound of a soft whistle coming from the cage in the corner of my studio.

"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance". - e.e. cummings

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Living with Lavender

I often feel so very thankful for those 'little' things in my life, those joys and pleasures that are but a microscopic portion of a day but which I treasure.  One of these pleasures is my long love affair with lavender.  This pitcher of dried lavender resides in the bedroom and I have raided it (which probably accounts for its not so tidy arrangement) to place sprigs of this lovely plant in other spots around the house -- the old bottle that sits on the window sill above the sink, the blown glass vase on the dining table, the crushed dried flowers that I often place in my used thread bowl.  We won't even mention the bars of lavender scented soap that are placed in amongst clothes in my dresser.  I'm not a perfume wearer - but I cannot resist the scent of lavender.

The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means "to wash." Lavender may have earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. It has also been used when doing laundry and it has become somewhat of a tradition to include this scent in amongst bed linens.  Lavender is also used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled.  That is certainly the case with me, just one whiff of lavender pleasantly relaxes me - tells me its time to slow down and smell the herb (if you will).

My dear husband has planted a small plot of lavender for me -- right now it is starting to bloom.  Perhaps one day I'll have enough of my very own lavender to place here and there about the house. 

"I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery". - Luis Barragan 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Face to Face

As part of my 'exploration' time this summer -- I am working on embroidered faces. Learning and trying a new technique is so much fun and so rewarding.  I began by copying faces from renaissance portraits.  I printed them on silk, after changing some of the tints and reducing them to the size that I needed.

Once printed, I cut out the interfacing template for the head, fused the image to the interfacing and carefully hemmed around the face.  Then it was time to stitch.  I used regular sewing thread sometimes doubling it and sometimes using single thread.  Working in such a small area - an inch and a half long and an inch and a quarter at the widest section - was my biggest challenge.  Little teeny, tiny stitches!

I have at least two figures (one in my head and one actually started) that I'll want to use this type of face for -- so I made up a total of three.  I know these won't be the last ones -- this is just too much fun!

"Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it"? - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Sights

  Walking through summer I find some of the most beautiful sights:

Berries and Queen Anne's Lace all mingled together.

Deep red Summac berries - anyone for a cup of tea?

A hidden pool in the forest.

And let's not forget the 'coolest' sight of all -- a banana split!

"Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest". - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Joyful Mess

As summer settles in around us - I am sequestered in my studio playing, playing, playing.  I'm making messes and am enjoying it so very much.  With time floating around me and very little that I have to attend to I'm letting my imagination take me where it wants to go.

I love not having deadlines or feeling that I have to be working.  I have inventory on hand for an upcoming show so I don't feel compelled to be churning out work.  My new thrust is to create some new-to-me beaded figures using beaded faces and/or embroidered faces.  I've practiced with both and am about to the point where I think I can dive in and actually create something I can live with.

Another goal that I have is to create some new-to-me body patterns and shapes and designs.  The process for this is very time consuming -- everything has to be just right --I have to decide how the all important head is going to be placed before I design the body-- I have to know whether the figure is going to hang or stand or sit or walk (just kidding about the walking)!

And so, I have these long summer afternoons ahead of me -- surrounded by fabric and scissors, thread, needle and beads and I'll be whiling each day away - making a joyful mess.

"To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now". - Samuel Beckett 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...