Monday, December 29, 2014

Marvelous Mugs

Never underestimate what an entry to an art show challenge may bring out in yourself.  The guild I recently joined has a small annual show every November, in conjunction with Cambridge, Ohio’s Dickens Village.  They had a theme for the show – “Mug Madness.”  The explanation, direct from the call for entries was; “A mug is many things, a large drinking cup or the face of a person or pet.  Get creative with faces and think outside the mug.” 

I’m not into doing portraits, but I felt compelled to put something in the show to support the guild, especially since I am a new member.  So, I tried my hand at making a 3-D, non-functional fabric mug.  I dug around in my box of scraps and found two rectangular pieces of wool onto which I had felted roving, thread, yarns and fabric bits while I was learning to use my needle felting machine.  The two pieces were just about right for the bodies of two mugs, one large and one smaller.  I matched the pieces up with some of my hand dyed damasks, and started cutting and stitching.  Within the evening, I had two cylinders of fabric.  With added handles, they looked somewhat like mugs.  Off they went to the show.   

This was an all media show.  Drawings, and paintings dominated.  The piece that I thought was the best in the show was a dramatic oil or acrylic portrait of a man (I do believe he was portrayed drinking from a mug, thereby capturing both aspects of the theme), done in white and grays on a black background.  There were a couple of nice ceramic mugs.  I was surprised that there were not more ceramic entries, considering the clay history of this region and the number of active potters in the area.   

To my great surprise, my goofy little green fabric mug, made out of scraps and my imagination, was selected the first prize winner in the adult division!  My little mugs were the only textile art in the show.  I’d like to think that I opened some eyes to what is possible with fabric, and encouraged others to stretch themselves creatively. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Call me Scrooge, but I am just not into the Christmas holiday hoopla.  I haven’t been for a long time; it has been years since I set up a tree, and I’d rather not do the gift exchange.  I realize I am pretty much in my own little world on shunning the end of the year festivities.  Naturally, when I was asked a couple of weeks ago to make a few Christmas ornaments for Art Market 649, I was reluctant, but I recognized an opportunity to maybe sell a few and make a few dollars.  The first set was a disaster. 

It shows that I was not interested in them – I tried to save time by gluing the trim, and managed to leave glue fingerprints on the fabric and I sewed them on a machine that still needed some fine tuning and had a too small needle in it for the thread I used.  I started out making inchies that were double sided.  I wanted both sides to be presentable, as ornaments often twist and spin while hanging on a tree.  This was not my first attempt with inchies, so it was not like I was unfamiliar with handling small bits of sewing.  Most of my problem with this set of ornaments was my attempts to save time.  I have been thinking a lot of how much time I spend on a project in order to be able to ask a fair price, yet still be able to sell it.  However, I still have to be satisfied enough with the result to be able to put my name on it.

                I walked away from the ornaments for a few days, then decided I had to make something.  The second attempt was better. 

I cut rectangles out of Pellon 808 and base fabric, fusing the fabric to the Pellon.  I then tacked down scraps of paper and trim with a glue stick (just enough to keep the bits where I wanted them).  Next, I free motion quilted each rectangle.  On half of the pieces, I stitched a charm or button, then I paired up the rectangles, wrong sides together, tacking then with a spot of glue.  I tucked the ends of a loop of rick rack in one short end of the resulting sandwich and then zig zag stitched the edges.  They were very quick to make, and I am pleased with the result.  They really are a complete realization of my business name – scraps of repurposed vintage fabric, bits of paper, stitched together.  If they sell at Art Market 649, I might make more of them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Art for Cambridge, Ohio

I am very pleased to announce that I have my textile art in a small art gallery in Cambridge, Ohio.  Art Market 649 is located at 649 Wheeling Ave. in the historic downtown area of Cambridge.  It is a bit of a new venture, though the location was the home of the Eastern Ohio Art Guild (EOAG), an all-media art group.  To make a long story short, the EOAG has turned over the running of the art gallery to another Cambridge business owner as a for profit gallery.  If you are ever in the East Central Ohio area, please stop in and browse, better yet, buy something!  The gallery is full of work from local creative minds: painting, ceramics, photography, etc. and of course my fabric creations.  Currently, they are open 11-6, Wednesdays through Sundays.  I plan on spending a couple days a month there, demonstrating fiber art techniques.

Here's a view of my work in the gallery:
I will be changing out the selection every month.  Of course, the Halloween and autumn leaves are on their way out in the next few days.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Getting Started

Welcome to my world!  This blog is one facet of a crazy idea I have to hopefully start my own business in the textile arts.  I will be making available my hand-dyed fabrics, art quilts and other textile art creations, and other findings.  I plan to use this platform to announce were and what I'll be selling, and discussion about things I am making. 

I have been sewing only since 2009, after watching the exploding art quilt movement, and wanting to learn some of the exciting techniques being developed.  I took a five-project learn to sew class series at a local fabric shop, joined a local art quilters' group, and since then I have been off and running.   Now, I feel that textile art/art quilting is my intended creative outlet.  I have so many ideas... I can't seem to sew fast enough to realize my ideas.  I am still mastering basics, trying to do something with fabric and thread each day, as one must continue to make things to improve.  For my creations, I am using mostly my own hand dyed fabric now.  I have a growing collection of vintage sewing machines, all of which I use for my textile art.  All of this I will expound upon in greater detail in the coming weeks and months.  Right now, I want to get back to some hand embroidery.