Thursday, January 11, 2018

Snow Day Snow Dye

This time I have a good excuse for missing Tuesday's post here.  Over the past weekend, we had enough snow here to snow dye, and my workplace was closed Monday, so I was busy filling buckets with fabric, snow and dye power.  On Tuesday, I was washing out that fabric:

The colors are brighter in real life.  I had a few pieces that didn't take any dye, I have found that is it not a good idea to put too much into one bucket.  I've snow dyed a variety of fabrics, and the best by far for the techniques is silk and linen.  There is still a lot of winter left, I think I'm going to have to splurge on some silk noil and dupioni, I am low on fabric to dye right now!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

More Alphabet Soup

I've been having fun with my stamp sets!  I started with light gray paint on my two vintage letter sets, as shown in my last post.  Then I added smaller letters from my stash of new rubber stamp letters in a sandstone paint, and a few letters in mauve:
Copyright RPS
Next, I added more letters in dark gray:
Copyright RPS
Finally, more tiny letters in black:
Copyright RPS

This is a great illustration of the design element of variety.  I have used variety of size and font in the letters and variety of value as well.  The variety here keeps the viewer's interest, it makes you look more at what is going on.  After a while, I fond myself trying to find words in the jumble of letters, even though I did not intentionally stamp any words.  Now to incorporate this piece of fabric into a collage...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Alphabet Soup

On December 21, I posted about vintage alphabet stamp sets, particularly one set that I was waiting to arrive that would hopefully replace an incomplete set.  Well, the set is not a match, it is nearly the same font, only larger!  Both sets are all capital letters, I wonder if there are lower case sets out there to go with them.  The new set will be great for larger art quilt projects, and I already like the idea of mixing fonts, even in a single word.  Maybe I will find a complete set of the smaller letters someday...

Anyway, I have been playing with the stamps, sponge brushing cheap acrylic paint on them.  Here you can see the two sizes of letters from the vintage sets:

I am going to keep going with my rubber stamp sets on this piece of muslin.  This will be another experiment with overlapping layers.  Check back on Thursday to see how the second layer went.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Creative Seasons?

With the official arrival of winter last week and the realization that I have not accomplished much on my pile of art quilt projects this year, I have been thinking about my work habits.  I definitely notice that I do not sit and sew as much in the spring and summer, as I enjoy being outside and love to tend my vegetable garden.  I have made adjustments though; I've discovered that sitting on the porch and sewing is delightful, and there is the bonus of letting fabric and thread scraps fall where they may, to be carried off by the wind. 

Now that it is bitter cold and daylight hours are short, I am more inclined to stay in one corner of the house and work on something creative.  In the summer, I look for more things to do that get me outside, or at least out of the house: fabric dyeing, auctions and flea markets (looking for sewing machines and anything I can re-purpose it to art), and gathering ideas from my adventures.  For me, the ideas never cease.  How does your creative energy ebb and flow throughout the year?  Do you have certain times of year for specific techniques or stages of a project? 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

One Dollar, Unlimited Inspiration

Not having learned traditional quilting means that I have no qualms about doing somewhat unorthodox things to fabric.  I have recently amassed a collection of new rubber stamps for my art journaling class supply base.  Why use them just on paper?  I have already used them on my "What's Your Story" challenge entry in the Mutton Hill Quilt Show:

Since I was stamping on the quilt after putting all three layers together, I had a lot of ink "over-slop."  The stamps sunk into the soft surface and left the excess ink that was picked up.  I probably over inked the stamps too, but everything remained legible.  I'm fine with that.

I am still adding to my collection of alphabet stamps, I just bought a vintage set of them at the local junk auction for $1. 

I should have sorted through them before the auction started, as a few letters are missing.  No problem, I could just mix fonts in a sort of ransom note style.  Then, there is always Ebay; I found a probably identical set of stamps, complete.  This second set is already on its way to me.  I will keep and use both sets, of course.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What Is Art Worth? Part Three

A few more quick thoughts on this weighty topic, then I will move on, I promise.  I'm sure I will revisit this cost of art quandary in the future.  Much needs to be done by those of us who make things in educating the masses about why a piece of art costs what it does.  The cost is not just materials, but the time it took to put it all together, and something I call "intellectual or skill cost."  This is the time spent learning the technique and perfecting it, often years.

It still surprises and saddens me to encounter many who think that skill in art is sudden and spontaneous.  The skill in art is no different than learning to write, play a musical instrument, etc.  One has to start slowly, with very basic things and build upon those skills.
Samples of techniques from my early days of art quilting
Image copyright RPS

Some questions to consider:
Why does art matter to you? 
What makes artwork “good”?
What makes an artist “good”?
Who is supposed to be satisfied by art – the buyer, the viewer, the artist, or all three?
Is one form of art better than another?
What makes art valuable?

I'm most interested in responses to the first question.  It is something that I struggle to answer for myself, even as one who is trying to make at least part of a living off of art.  It is especially difficult to come up with a plausible answer to justify art to the rural community where I live.

Moving onward, I'm not sure what I'll have on Thursday, I really am trying to get back to two posts a week!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What is Art Worth, Part Two

One short answer to the questions I posed at the end of my last post is marketing.  This is a multi-faceted subject, with no easy solutions.  Frankly, the arts world, whether "high" art in museums and galleries or craft or functional art, has not done well in marketing itself to the general populace.  Huge corporations producing factory made items simply have it in terms of distribution, name recognition through advertising and ability to supply the masses.

Much needs to be done in our education system to encourage the creative arts, instead of cutting funding for the arts programs.  I do understand that a painting, drama performance or orchestra concert does not fulfill basic needs such as food and shelter, but the arts fulfill deeper things within us.

How to address the lack of arts appreciation is not easy, but there are many small things we can start doing.  Creating your craft where others can observe is one good way.  I just secured a copy of the book The Art Abandonment Project: Create and Share Random Acts of Art by Micheal deMeng and Andrea Matus deMeng (North Light Books, 2014), and I'm intrigued by the concept of occasionally giving away small pieces to encourage interest.  If you are really ambitious, see about offering interactive talks or demonstrations to your local schools and youth organizations.  I am planning on doing all of these ideas in the near future.  I will certainly share my adventures here in the months to come.

The "Ribbon Lady" at Cambridge, Ohio's annual Dickens Village public art installation.