Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fiber is good for you!!!

Whoever said that fiber is good for you must be right!  Everytime I look around my studio at the various stashes of ribbons, floss, yarns and fibers it makes me feel good!  Sometimes I reach out and touch those beautiful hanging ribbons and fibers just for the fun of it.

Sometimes I stare at a particular strand, looking at the color blends, being inspired to translate those patterns into something of my own. 

Sometimes I dump out all these rolled up balls of yarn and fiber and revel in the fact that they are here -- ready for use -- ready for looking -- ready for dreaming.

I am the "Fiber Queen" - long may my fiber collection reign!! Anyone need a special color of some ribbon or yarn, let me know because I probably have it! *smile*

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort". - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, September 27, 2010

Studio Tour - Third Year!

This past weekend was the Open Studio Tour here in Henderson County, North Carolina.  This was my third year of participation.  Its always a lot of work, but when the visitors come in - look around, ask questions and visit - the preparation stuff is worth it!

I've been very fortunate each year because I've been able to display new-this-year pieces.  My friends and visitors walk with me through this life I call my art journey.  This past year, as with the year before, was filled with beads and beading.  Along the way I discovered the ability to create figures using beads and that has been my main focus throughout the year.

I want to thank each of you who attended the Studio Tour and stopped by to visit with me.  It is so much fun to meet new friends and say hello to old ones.

Each 'art' year for me seems to begin and end with the studio tour, or at least it has for the last three years.  The work shown on the tour is a culmination of work done the previous year -- and I always have something brand new sitting on my worktable to share with visitors.

This year is no different.  My work table is covered with punchneedle practice work and a fabric art doll in progress.  We never know what each year will bring - but for me, I hope that the coming art year brings lots of learning and growing and challenges all brought to life through the needle and thread in my hands.

"I have the wherewithal to challenge myself for my entire life. That's a great gift". - Twyla Tharp

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art Guild Challenge - Part 3

I wish you all could have been there to see the revealed challenge pieces in person.  What a treat.  Above is a picture of Peggy's needlework.  She had a woven piece that had been 'sitting around' and she embellished it with her fine stitchery creating an apple tree complete with golden 'felted' apples. After embellishing the woven piece she finished it all off with a beautiful backing using two pieces of wool.  Her stitches were perfect (as always).

Sandra is our resident photographer.  She took a picture of an apple tree (in one of our local apple orchards) and then she copied it in various forms and brought it all to life by making it a three-dimensional piece.  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to cut all of those intricate pieces out and then to cut the foamcore board (on which she mounted them).  Whew!!!  This is a new form of photography for Sandra and its obvious that she excelled at it.  A special thanks to Sandra for photographing our challenge pieces as we presented them.

Libby also used photography for her project.  She has been wanting to learn more about photoshop, so she spent hours manipulating the actual Gustav Klimt picture.  She was able to make a small book - showing many, many forms and variations of the picture.

Mary Beth brought along a wonderful punchneedle piece which she designed and made.  She used the tree after the leaves had left it.  Her punchneedle was superb and I was very envious that she had used punchneedle in such a creative and beautiful way (since I'm trying the master my skill in this area).  Mary Beth mounted the finished punchneedle work, matted and framed it.

Andrea created several beautiful silk scarves.  She has been working with polka dots lately so the apples in the tree were a perfect venue to use on her scarves. 

We all agreed that this was a LOT of fun!  Although none of us wants to be tied down to having a deadline challenge very often - I know another one will be in our future next year! 

"...Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins". - Jim Rohn

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Pomme Fairy" - Challenge Part 2

Let me tell you a story.  When I received the challenge picture "Golden Apple Tree" I stared at it and stared at it.  I just knew there was something up in those tree branches, but I couldn't see it.  So I spent several summer afternoons sitting at the base of that tree - quietly listening to the leaves rustle above me.  One day, much to my surprise an apple dropped directly on top of my head.  Startled, I looked up and there I saw a fairy looking down at me.  After verifying that I was not there to take any of her apples she introduced herself to me as "Pomme Fairy" (Pomme being French for apple as she quite proudly told me).  Pomme told me that she is the guardian of the golden apple tree.  After much coaxing on my part she agreed to accompany me to the meeting of the Guild -- but she made it very clear that she is not the kind of fairy who grants wishes, so no one in the room should ask!  Guess she hasn't had that training!

"Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!" - William Butler Yeats

P.S. - Watch, later in the week for pictures of all of the wonderful responses to this challenge.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Art Guild Challenge - part 1

This picture by Gustov Klimt, entitled "Golden Apple Tree" is the challenge for our small group of mixed media artists.  We were given this picture in June and asked to interpret it in our own medium and style.  There were no rules or regulations - except for the deadline of Monday, September 20th.

InspiredArts is a group of mixed media artists who meet once a month to share, and chat and discuss creativity.  We inspire each other and are a built in 'cheering section' as each of us creates our own work.  Our members' talents include: jewelry, rug hooking, photography, beading, embroidery, silk painting, basketry, felting apparel and weaving.  Quite a variety huh?!

This is the first challenge we've done and I can hardly wait until next Monday when all is revealed.

I've had a lot of fun creating my interpretation - but I'm sorry I can't show it to you until after Monday.  Stay tuned...

"Challenge yourself, its fine not to be a totally finished person". - Leigh Steinberg

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


These days my art journey seems to be taking me hither and yon... 

Up trails that sometimes seem very difficult...

...and into unknown territory.
With no road map, I'm hoping a bridge will appear soon.

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail". - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September BJP - "Betwixt"

The word that appeared for my September BJP is 'betwixt'.  The definition (which in my dictionary is aligned with 'betwixt and between') is: Betwixt -neither one nor the other in a middle position.  Balanced - centered.

I'm not so sure about how balanced and centered I am (although I do try) - but I find myself in the middle position these days.  I teeter back and forth between encrusted beading and regular embroidery.  And so, this month's bookmark has a little of each form.  I used one of my favorite encrusted beaded embroidery stitches - half-pekinese to block off sections of embroidered French knots.  I used satin stitches top and bottom and interspersed them with tiny squares of delicas. 

When I saw this background fabric I fell in love with it - and here it is ushering us into Autumn with its glorious warm colors.

This month's bookmark seemed to go together effortlessly which made it a pleasure to create.

"Learning never exhausts the mind". - Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Punching In

The pictures I'm showing you today are not an example of punchneedle the way it is supposed to be!  That's my disclaimer for sharing with you my 'fooling around' with the craft of punchneedle.

I'm a 'doer' - I have little patience with learning something, I always think that I can just charge right in and 'do' it - come out at the end of the session with a finished product and go from there.  So, everytime I learn a new technique I have this 'learning curve' that I have to deal with.

Here are some examples of my punchneedle learning curve (which by the way is still curving in spite of my practice stitches).  My whole thought is to make faces for art dolls using punchneedle.  I have lots of pictures in my mind of finished faces - unfortunately getting them translated through my fingers is taking more time than I had thought it would.  Hmmm, could be I'm a little arrogant to think that I can just pick up a new piece of equipment and automatically have a finished piece before me in a short time!

I've made samples so that I can become familiar with the way the thread and needle work together. Using two threads with a small needle - using three threads with a small needle - using two threads with a medium needle - using three threads with the medium needle and so on.

I'm making progress -- slowly -- and am still excited about the prospects for this craft.  I'm even thinking that I might not stop with doll faces but might eventually make some of the patterns that I've seen in books and on the internet.  But all that will have to wait for me to get proficient enough that I can actually create an art doll face that I'm happy with. 

Patience and perseverance are the two words that I'm following as I wander down this new art journey path.

"He that can have patience can have what he will".  - Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's in a word?

I recently opened the newspaper to see this headline!  It turns out that Oxford University Press is uncertain whether the 126-year old dictionary's next edition will be printed on paper at all.  Apparently so many people are using the on-line version that it doesn't seem cost effective.  Do you know how my heart skipped a beat when I read this?

Now I am not opposed to the Internet and all of its uses, after all I'm here talking to you through the wonders of this device.  But some things should not be tampered with!  There is something magical for me in looking at a dictionary.

I have two old dictionaries that I use and love and I do mean old.  The youngest of the two has a copyright of 1955 and the oldest doesn't have a copyright - I believe that page was long gone when I found this in an antique store. 

Both of them have illustrations throughout - especially the older one.  You can see by this page showing the evolution of the 'locomotive' that this book is from another time!  The pages are falling out but they are each a beautiful old tan color, having aged as if someone dipped them in tea. 

My 'newer' dictionary, being a little bit less fragile, is the one I use the most.  It is heavy having 1432 pages between the covers.  Some of the most wonderful pages are at the very back where there are lists of boys and girls names and their meanings, signs and symbols, weights and measures and even foreign alphabets.  Who needs a computer when one can page through this book and discover all these wonders.

Call me old-fashioned but I hope that the printed dictionary never, ever fades away into a totally technological world.  Now how do you spell 'enchantment'?

"Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary". - Kahlil Gibran


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