Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indulge Your Senses ATC

Some artists shun any commercial use of art—but I have always loved beautiful, commercial work. Packaging design is one of my favorites. A display of items to scent the home caught my eye in a local drugstore. I snapped a photo, which sat in my camera photo file for about a year. When the color prompt “Tiger Lily” came up, I flipped through my photo files and vintage images for inspiration, and found the drugstore photo.
I began with a photo of an orange, and, in Photoshop®, mixed some vintage images from Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ with some of my own fabric designs. The words “indulge your senses” came to me as I looked at the design, so I added that in a calligraphy style font.
After I printed the various arrangements on cardstock, I added sheen with Modge Podge® and a gossamer strip of sheer gold ribbon, which I attached using colored mini brads. The finishing touch was a little gold acrylic paint on the edges. It is not exactly like the original photo—mine is darker and has less calligraphy, but the mood is similar. My New Year's resolution might be to practice my calligraphy so I can get exactly the effect I was aiming for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dreaming of Art


A few months ago there was a Cloth Paper Scissor challenge for quilted postcards. I have been making them for years, so it was right up my alley. I combined an old photo [my kindergarten portrait, circa 1960] along with a Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ hat and a pair of clipart scissors. I used a background of newsprint, and made skyscrapers out of more newsprint. A little lace for a pinafore and accents with water-soluble oil pastels, a little stitching, and the postcard was done.

The basic design was done in photoshop, and I output it directly on fabric. Somehow streaks appeared in the face, but I kind of liked it because it reminded me of lined paper that schoolchildren use. In the background is a portion of my favorite quote, from Buddha, which says: “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” If five year old Linda knew that she would make a living one day doing art [fabric design, newspaper & magazine layout design] she probably wouldn’t believe it possible.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marie Antoinette-Inspired Paper Doll

Emeline, the Marie Antoinette-inspired party girl, is made of paper, tyvek, fabric, lace, ribbon, sequins, brads and glue. Her head, shoes and the roses on her skirt and bodice are Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ royalty-free images. The arms and legs are cut from cardstock, with an overlay of “faux lace” that I make using dried, recycled tea bags stamped with white printmaking paint.

The skirt was pieced together with an underlay of recycled tyvek (from a USPS shipping bag). I painted the inside of the bag with Lumiere turquoise acrylic and a touch of gold swirl. Four panels of a vintage French rose were added, and pink ribbon covers the join marks. Some sheer pink and silver lace creates the bottom skirt border.

Emeline’s face and hair were enhanced with markers and chalk. The legs, arms and head are attached with mini brads so that the parts are moveable. The finishing touch was the addition of tiny sequins to resemble jewels, which were glued to her hairdo, and also applied to her wrists, shoes and skirt.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shabby Chic Angel Tag Tutorial

Just in time for the holidays, I made a batch of “Shabby Chic” angel tags. The shabby effect is achieved with several techniques—using recycled tea bags for the background, unevenly applying white printmaking paint to the tea bags, and using an intentionally torn effect on the angel images. The shabbiness is contrasted with the chicness of delicate, sheer laces and gossamer pastel ribbon trim.

Here’s how I made the tags:

1-use a commercial tag as a base (I got mine at Staples), or cut your own from a beige, smooth poster weight paper.

2-take dried tea bags, carefully open them, empty out the tea, and flatten. The uneven tea stains give a nice aged look. Do not use damp tea bags—they will rip. Any kind of tea is fine, but take the bags out before you add sugar, lemon or milk.

3-select a variety of stamps—lacey textures work well but any stamp will do. French fleur de lis or English classic designs also make great 'faux lace.'

4-apply white printmaking paint to the stamps. You can experiment and mix the patterns.

5-drape the tea bag over the stamp and press lightly, then carefully remove the tea bag and repeat until it is all covered. You can get usually get two or more images from each paint application. I call the painted teabags ‘faux lace.’ Depending on the size of the tea bag, you may need several for each tag. Printmaking paint works best, but you can use any white paint, just be sure to clean the stamps carefully when you are done so they don’t get paint stuck in the crevices. Printmaking paint works well because it stays wet longer than regular paint, which prevents it from drying on your stamp.

6-when the painted tea bags have dried, glue them to the commercial tag, covering the base completely. It is okay to layer the tea bags or rip little pieces and fill in where necessary to get complete coverage.

7-select a center image and glue to tag—I used some angels from The Graphics Fairy. http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/

8-add strips of lace—thin, sheer laces work well. Thicker laces work better on the edges since they will obscure the subtle textures and colors of the tea bags and ‘faux lace.’ These laces are from M&J Trim.http://www.mjtrim.com/

9-if desired, add a little chalk pastel to enhance the center image, and also to soften the background color.

10-add a bow of shimmery ribbon at the top, and some extra lace or rick-rack at the bottom.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Well, Hello Dolly…I’m in Just Steampunk, Volume 2!

If I were someone who follows numerology or plays lotto, I’d think there was some meaning to two dates—1/11/12 and 11/1/12. The first date is when I posted to my blog about the art paper dolls I made for the Roses on My Table group’s steampunk paper doll trade. The second date is when I opened my mailbox and found a complimentary copy of Just Steampunk, vol. 2, with my dolls on page 101 of the magazine.

Several months ago I sent an email to the magazine with some jpegs of the dolls that I kept for myself. (I made five, traded two and kept three.) I hadn’t heard one way or another about the dolls other than getting a polite response thanking me for my submission. So, I was jumping up and down, twirling and squealing when I opened to page 101 and found a full page with my three steampunk dolls!

One of the dolls (top photo, doll on the left) is particularly symbolic. Back in 2007 I wrote an article in Cloth Paper Scissors called “Painting Out the Panic.” One of the pieces used to illustrate the article is a figure I call “Broken Chakra Girl.” BCG symbolized my struggle with panic disorder, particularly the fifth (throat) chakra. My anxiety would cause my throat to constrict and I wouldn’t be able to speak. I also got frequent sore throats at the time.

 I used BCG’s face for one of these dolls, cut her hair, gave her a top hat, changed the color of the turquoise throat design to match her steampunk style, and made her neck a normal length. Somehow the steampunk version represents healing, with her strong, mechanical, shiny body and bold stance. Her green broken heart is no longer exposed, and is protected by her steampunk armor.

All of the dolls are made with original faces that I drew or painted. The bodies are made of painted, recycled coffee filters, painted and stamped recycled tea bags adhered to fabric, or paper. The metal textured legs and arms are cut paper from Just Steampunk, volume 1. The body with the corset and the clockworks are also cut paper from the first issue. The body parts are attached with tiny brads so they can be posed and played with.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Karen at The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ for the use of her vintage images of butterfly wings and top hats; to Zinnia at Roses on My Table for creating such a wonderful online art community; and to JoAnn at Roses on My Table for running such a great group. http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fuscia Zetti Self Portrait

Back in 2000, I was an emotional mess. I had very bad panic disorder, and was trying many methods to rid myself of it—from traditional medical treatments to all kinds of alternative therapies. I decided to spend a lot of time doing art in order to heal. One of the first things I did was an oil self portrait. True, it doesn’t look exactly like me, but I painted the way I felt, which wasn’t pretty. Needless to say, no one but me liked the portrait.

However, it was a starting point. I decided to scan it, alter it a little in photoshop, then digitally embellish it. I called the first variation my Picasso Self Portrait. I later used a variation of it to do one of my first art quilts, and it was used to illustrate an article I wrote for Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine called Painting Out the Panic.

I decided to add my favorite yellow fabric design behind the Picasso Self Portrait, and use that image for my business card and also for some of my mini quilt Art-O-Mat blocks.

Recently, I had an ATC trade with my Arts in the Cards group. This month, the color prompt was fuscia. I drew a blank on the color fuscia, so I started looking through my stacks of fabrics and papers and unfinished artwork for inspiration. Nothing really struck me, so I decided to revisit an old theme: self portraits. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I keep coming back to my first self portrait. I have painted other self portraits over the past 12 years, but this one speaks to me the most.

I took out the yellow background and added several other fuschia designs—a scan of a page from a journal that I painted with beet juice, a fuscia mandala that I drew during my lunch hour, and a photo of a wet leaf on a sidewalk that I manipulated in photoshop into shades of fuscia. I also changed some color on the face.

Since I have been enamored of the Zetti trend, I added, in photoshop, the black and white harlequin band at the top. After printing the design, it seemed to need something extra, so I added inspirational words printed on Extravorganza, along with some ribbon and seed beads.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Semi-Steampunk Paper Doll With Beet Juice Clothing

This weekend, I tossed all my "should do" lists of projects aside and just did something to make ME feel good. Somehow making paper dolls frees my mind and relaxes me...especially when it is not for a trade, but just for me, just for fun.

I started by sizing some Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ images that looked interesting onto anbegan with a basic paper doll template that I found through my trade group, Roses on My Table http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/. Next, I reduced or enlarged the pieces that interested me so they would fit the doll template. I have been collecting Graphics Fairy images, especially shoes, hats and faces. I printed a bunch of the vintage clipart out, cut them, then started playing with them to see which ones my doll would wear.

I had no plan, which was part of the fun. I started with the bottom of the body, and chose some boots with vintage advertising on them, which I attached to my paper legs with tiny brads. I used a template torso, and cut a leftover ATC to fit it and make the top, which I glued over the template piece. Another ATC made the skirt--it was from a journal page that I made a while back when I was experimenting with painting with beet juice. I scanned the beet juice painting and printed it in a small scale for an ATC.

I glued half a Graphics Fairy butterfly to each arm to create wings. The face was a vintage child's photo. I topped her off with a man's hat trimmed with a band of the beet juice ATC design. The arms, head legs, boots and hat are all attached with mini-brads so they are moveable, and can be changed if I am ever in the mood. In total, there are four Graphics Fairy images: the butterfly wings, the hat, the face and the boots. I have not named her yet...any ideas?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dare to Be an Artist—Art Quilt and Tutorial

After making my first Zetti-inspired ATCs a few weeks ago, I felt the need to go bigger. The little ATCs (2.5” x 3.5”) seemed too small to show all the detail. I also felt, for the first time in a very long time, inspired to do a series from my Zetti ATCs. Fortunately, I had designed them in Photoshop at 5” x 7” with a pretty high dpi, so enlarging them was not a problem.   I wanted to translate them into fabric and combine them with my own fabric designs, which I printed at Spoonflower a couple years ago. This is the first piece I did. Another Zetti art quilt is finished, and two more are cut and pinned.  I haven’t decided if I will keep them as separate pieces or put them together into one big piece. Here is a little tutorial if anyone is wondering “Hmmmm…how the heck did she make that?”

 1-Find images you like, either of your own, or some royalty free clip art. I used two Graphics Fairy images http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/, the teacup and the bird, and combined them with some of my original artwork that I scanned—a small painting called Mystery Woman of the Flowers and a pink monoprint. I also used a b/w harlequin on the left, which is a pattern from adobe illustrator, and the b/w positive/negative “expanded square” on the right, also known as a notan, is my own design.

 2-Combine the designs in photoshop or similar program. I used a soft brush eraser to take out the background from the teacup and bird, arranged the bird on the edge of the cup, and arranged the cup on the head of the mystery woman. I put the pink monoprint in the background and the notan and harlequin on the sides.

 3-Add any words you choose in fonts that please your eye. I added the words in photoshop.

 4-I was working in photoshop and saving it as I went along as a TIFF, which allowed me to have different layers for each image that I could adjust as needed. When I was done, I saved the image as a jpeg.

 5-The artwork I made for the ATCs was 5” x 7”, and I wanted to make the art quilt larger, so I increased the size in photoshop so that it would fit on an 8.5” x 11” paper in my inkjet printer. My printer cuts off about ¼” on all sides, and about ½” on the bottom, so I sized to 8” x about 10.25” so that nothing would be wasted. [NOTE: You can also do a drawing or painting that is about 8.5” x 11”, scan it, and print it out of an inkjet printer.]

6-I flipped the enlarged jpeg image in photoshop, then printed the flipped design out on Avery t-shirt heat transfer sheets.

7-I trimmed the white edge, and ironed the design to 100% kona cotton—heat only, no steam.

8-After it cooled, I peeled away the backing. You can also use printable cotton or silk sheets, but you do not need to flip the image. With the t-shirt transfer sheets, the finished design feels thick and rubbery, but the colors are brighter than with printable cotton or silk. NOTE: Please do NOT iron the design once you have transferred it to cotton. It will melt and be ruined!

9-Next, I chose strips to edge the piece. I used 1.5” pieces of various cotton fabrics and puttered with them until I found an arrangement I liked, then pinned them together.

10-I used some felt-like batting behind the design and a piece of cotton to back the quilt and create the “quilt sandwich”. Next, I carefully pinned all the layers together.

11-I used a zigzag stitch to connect the middle to the fabric strips, a straight stitch to quilt the middle, and a random curvy stitch to add a little visual interest and give it loft.

12-I trimmed the piece and used a machine blanket stitch on the outside edges.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making Zetti-Style ATCs Using Photoshop

At the end of 2011, when the list of ATC themes for my Roses On My Table ATC group were posted, the November theme was Zetti. Zetti? What? Never heard of it. Well, I Googled information and images and fell in love. I couldn't wait to give it a try. The Zetti style came from artist Teesha Moore. http://www.teeshamoore.com/ She has a unique style that combines black and white graphic elements like stripes and harlequin diamonds with punchy color and writing. The style really appealed to me...but it turned out to not be as easy as I thought. My first attempts were pretty clumsy--I didn't have the supplies I wanted handy, and couldn't find the right colors, my markers ran, my paper was lumpy. I was seriously disappointed after waiting months to give it a try. Then I hit on the idea of working in Photoshop, and mixing scanned jpegs of my own artwork with vintage clipart from The Graphics Fairy. http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ I added a photo of me as a 5-year old and a favorite photo of my dog Coco--also known as the "pink pup" http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2008/10/pink-pup.html from the day he "helped" me dye some soy batiks. It was a good chance to revisit some of my own favorite old images: Broken Chakra Girl http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2008/07/broken-chakra-girl-for-saqa.html and Panic Portrait, which I wrote about in my Cloth Paper Scissors http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/ article "Painting Out the Panic" a few year ago, as well as Mystery Woman of the Flowers, which I made a big quilt of and also make small quilted pieces for Art O Mat. http://www.artomat.org/ I found some good black and white patterns in Adobe Illustrator and puttered with combining all the elements into a Zetti piece. I have been in a bit of a funk artistically, but now feel inspired to try some larger pieces and incorporate fabrics and stitch...maybe not huge pieces, but certainly bigger than 2.5" x 3.5" ATCs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Birthday Birds

September's theme for my Arts in the Cards ATC exchange group was pear. We have been working with only color prompts in 2012, and some of them, like rain and dew, have been rather abstract. Even pear can be many shades--red, golden, yellow, or green. It was tempting to do some pieces with little paintings of pears, but I stopped myself from being too literal and just went with pear as a color. These ATCs started with a discarded painting. About a year ago I made some “Balancing My Chakras in a Hurricane” ATCs. http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2011/08/balancing-my-chakras-in-hurricane.html On hurricane day, I also made another painting—of sort of undulating rainbow colors—but I didn’t really like it, and stuck it in a pile in my studio. One recent Sunday afternoon, I pulled it out thinking I could paint on the other side of the paper. With the pear color theme in mind, I decided to try out some new stamps using yellow printmaking ink. I tested a fleur de lis pattern on top of the rainbow watercolor: somewhat of an improvement, but not really special, but I went ahead and printed the yellow fleur de lis all over it since I had already squeezed out the paint and it wouldn’t go back in the tube. After the yellow stamp dried, I tried out (with black ink) another new stamp on top of it—a little bird with a party crown, the words Post Card, a 1909 postal cancellation and some antique looking penmanship. Somehow the crazy black stamp popped the watercolor and gave a very nice effect, enhancing the warm yellow/orange ripe pear colors. I also tried a few with a butterfly stamp, but since I recently made two different butterfly ATCs, I vetoed that idea. I have a September birthday, so a bird in a party crown seemed appropriate for this month, and made my inner child happy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hand Needlefelted Native American Inspired Cuff Bracelet

A month or two ago, Cloth Paper Scissors magazine had a reader challenge for needlefelting. I had an unfinished piece of needlefelting that I had started two years ago, then tucked in a drawer. I didn't quite know what to do with it--I liked the colors and texture, but couldn't find the right embellishment. I pulled it out and reexamined it. The turquoise beading on the edge was already done, but it needed more. Then I remembered some silverish adornments that I purchased at the annual Pow Wow on the Shinnecock Reservation (in Southampton, NY) and tucked in my bead & button bin. I think they were designed to be studs in a leather belt...but they worked pretty well in the needlefelting. I used three, which distributed the weight better than just one. The buffalo head design worked visually with the turquoise and earth tones of the fiber. I added a few silver floral shaped findings from my jewelry-making stash, some turquoise seed beads and a velcro closure. The needlefelting was done with a little knob, like a drawer knob, that has felting needles sticking out of it. (purchased from Joggles.com) I added machine stitching in a variety of colors and designs to strengthen the needlefelting and adde visual interest. The bracelet didn't make the pages of Cloth Paper Scissors, but I still really like the bracelet...which will be just the thing to wear to the upcoming Pow Wow, coming up labor day weekend. I can model it for Mary Big Horse, who is a noted medicine woman and the person who sold me the buffalo embellishment.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Art Tag Using Vintage Advertising Images

There is a wonderful site called The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ where all kinds of vintage images are available for free. New images are posted daily, and you can also search the site by category to find almost anything, from apples to zebras. I have discovered that I have a penchant for vintage advertising images. I love the antique graphics and fonts and colors. I recently made a 12" x 12" collage in photoshop with some of my favorites. After I printed it out on cardstock (I reduced it to 8x8 to print and flipped the image so that there was a little extra 3x8 piece at the bottom of the page) I decided to cut it up and make art tags. I overprinted the vintage ads with white paint on some of my own handcarved stamps, and also added some recycled teabag 'lace' that I made by printing white on used, dry, empty teabags. Last, I added some extra color in spots with Derwent inktense pencils and blocks to enhance the color and give more of an aged look. I am posting the "before" piece, the uncut collage as I arranged it in photoshop, for comparison. Although I love the vintage images just as they are, I knew I needed to do something to make them uniquely mine. I really love stamping and printmaking, so overprinting the vintage images seemed to be a way to keep the antique look, yet soften it. The use of the teabags over the collage softened the look and the faux lace teabags added a bit of romance. After I cut the tags to the size I wanted, I glued them to commercial tags for strength. There were some little pieces left, so I was able to make a few more tags than I expected by collaging the leftover pieces into some new tags.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What Color is Cucumber? Embossed ATCs

The color prompt for the August Arts in the Cards http://artsinthecards.blogspot.com/ ATC group trade was cucumber, so I thought of the soft green, almost white inside of a cucumber, but also of the dark green exterior. As I rummaged around in my stash of paper and fabric looking for pieces in the green family, I found some artistically paint-splattered coffee filters from Sonja Hagemann. http://sonjahagemanndesigns.blogspot.com/ Sonja recycles her daily coffee filters by using them to blot up paint spills, or puts them behind fabric that she is hand-painting to absorb the excess. She often uses them as packing material when mailing her ATCs. I found two that had a green cast—one was in soft greens and beiges, and one with darker, earthy green tones. The question was: How do I split two round filters up for 10-12 ATCs? I decided to divide the circles into 12 pieces each, and then used a glue stick to adhere a light triangle and a dark triangle to an ATC blank. It wasn’t a perfect fit, so I added a strip of my “faux lace” (made from stamping white designs onto recycled teabags) to the right side. I decided the ATCs needed more interest, so I printed a vintage butterfly from The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ on silk fabric, painstakingly cut them out, and then glued the butterfly onto the card. But…it looked too much like my “Fly Free” ATC from the “Dew” trade a few months ago. So, I decided to use white embossing powder to further enhance the card. I selected three stamps: half of a wrought iron gate inspired stamp, and two Tibetan wood blocks—a paisley and a small OM symbol. Each card was embossed slightly differently. I tried not to obscure the butterfly too much so it would still be partially visible. There was a bit of a color shift—the heat gun that I used to emboss the designs cooked the paper a little, and the green cucumber colors became slightly more olive, and the butterfly colors a tiny bit duller, but overall I was very happy with the end result. The final touch was a little dot of dimensional fabric paint on each corner.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dreaming of Fashion

I am really thrilled that my mixed media art quilt, “Dreaming of Fashion”, was included in the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. http://www.quiltingdaily.com/blogs/quiltingarts/default.aspx It is from their “What If?” challenge, where they asked readers to think of a moment that changed their life, or what they might have done differently, or how a chance meeting might have changed their life, and translate the idea into a 12” x 12” art quilt. At first I thought about making a piece about moving from the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains (where I grew up) to New York City when I was 21 and doing a piece illustrating a car with luggage piled high on top and a cityscape in the distance. Then I thought about that moment in time a little more, and felt kind of angry that I didn’t go after my art dream until I was 21. My parents constantly gave me the message about not going into art as a career, saying I’d never find a job, I’d starve and that I should go into a practical field, like teaching or nursing. And my guidance counselor, when I suggested a state college that had an art program, said “oh, you don’t want to go there! They have a big drug problem!” So, I compromised—majoring in elementary education and minoring in art at another state school. By the time I finished student teaching, I knew elementary education was not for me. A college housemate mentioned FIT to me, and I discovered that they had a special one-year program for people who already had college degrees. It was affordable, AND it had a 97% job placement rate at the time. So, I eventually followed my heart and found an art career in textile design. My "What If?" artists statement said: What if…my parents had encouraged me to be an artist, instead of saying, “No! What kind of job can you get with an art degree?” What if they had known that there were schools where you could study for a career in creative design fields they had never heard of? What if my guidance counselor had told me about schools like RISD, Parsons or Pratt? Would I have become a fashion designer? Architect? Interior designer? Toy designer? Doll designer? Would my life have been different? Dreaming of Fashion shows me as a kid standing in the ocean. I loved to swim and spent every summer day at the local pool—not the ocean, but the ocean image seemed more magical than a chlorinated pool. The oversized, peculiar hat is a reference to kids playing dress-up; My sister taught me how to use the sewing machine when I was 11, and I made my own clothes through high school and college, so the floating dress form and scissors show my dream of fashion design. The attachment of the hands with brads is a tribute to my love of making art-paperdolls. I stamped the OM symbol on the hat and in the water because I am often anxious and panicky, and try to calm myself with breathing and visualization. I started the piece in Photoshop, and printed it out on cotton, then over-painted it. Originally I used my face from a photo at 10 years old—back when my fashion love started—but it was too murky, so I printed my college graduation photo on cotton, cut it out, and hand-stitched it over the messy 10 year old face. For the dress, I used fabrics that I designed myself as part of Studio Art Quilters Association’s Visioning Project, http://www.saqa.com/ led by Lisa Chipentine, which I printed at Spoonflower. http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome The dress is a homage to late 1960s-early 1970s fashions that I might have made back when I learned to sew. The vintage images of a crazy hat and dress form were used with permission from The Graphics Fairy, a wonderful online resource for all kinds of unique images.http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ I used 100% cotton, hand and machine quilting, along with acrylic paint, watersoluble oil pastels, chalk, felt, paper and decorative brads.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feeling Blue

When Marie Johansen suggested that we revisit the typography theme for our next Arts in the Cards ReVisioned http://artsinthecardsrevisioned.blogspot.com/ project, I had an idea of what I wanted to do--Character Study, in the style of Lisa Occhipinti. http://www.locchipinti.com/ Lisa wrote an article for ClothPaperScissors back in May/June 2010...it was one of those articles that I just couldn't forget, and I had been meaning to give her technique a try. The idea was to use text not to say something that the viewer would read, but just to appreciate a letter, or a part of a letter as a design element. The concept really appealed to me--I am a writer and magazine/newspaper layout designer and on a daily basis I work with, and love, fonts. I had a 'duh' moment when I realized what a good idea it was to use just letters, or just a swoop of a q or point of an M, as a design element. And it only took me two years to find the time to try out her technique! However, it was harder than I thought. For this challenge, we threw all rules out, so I was free to choose any size, any material, anything at all that had a theme of typography. I chose a favorite size, 12" x 12" and a favorite material, paper. I do love quilting and fabric, but paper behaves so much better--it doesn't wiggle, doesn't bleed when you paint it (unless you want it to) and is easier to cut.
I studied Lisa's guide, and began with choosing some letters and fonts, arranging them in Photoshop, printing them out, cutting them, and coloring them. I chose a horizontal design and a blue color theme, with water and waves in mind. I added painted strips of paper from my husbands newspaper to honor him (he has been a journalist and publisher for many years), a strip of fabric with the name and copyright in the selvedge from the company I used to work for (Leon Rosenblatt), some woven, rustic ribbon from Tinsel Trading, and painted some stripes with energy and om symbols silkscreened and stamped on. I couldn't resist adding my favorite Buddha quote, which I printed on Extravorganza. I used, along with the fabric and paper, a base of coquille watercolor paper, Derwent blocks, and Lumiere paint. It took a lot of puttering, painting and repainting, and many, many trials and errors before I had a piece that I was fairly happy with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sun and Moon Paper Dolls

During boring business meetings, I doodle. Sometimes flowers, sometimes abstract designs, sometimes faces. The other day I was doodling some moon and sun shapes, which I added some facial features to. I decided to turn my doodled faces into paper doll heads. The only problem was that I scanned them on a yellow, lined legal pad, so I had to putter with them in Photoshop to get out the color and lines. (My old scanner had a feature that took out the blue lines and scanned it as a black & white image...but the new scanner, sadly, doesn't.) I named the moon face Luna and the sun face Sunny. Not all that original, but it seemed right. My daughter suggested Soledad for Sunny, but it was too late--she was already Sunny. I printed the faces on white cardstock, then added chalk, markers and watercolor. For Sunny's body, I used a template that I got from my Roses on My Table paper doll exchange group. http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/ I printed the template on white cardstock, carefully cut it out, then randomly added an abstract, handcarved stamp stamp with orange ink. Next, added extra color with chalk. Luna's body is made from a piece of the New York Times that I stole from the recycling bin. Just a random page, with no intent for the text. I tried to glue the cardstock template on so the text would be interesting, but I accidentally glued it to the wrong side of the newspaper, so it came out very random, with chunks of black ink here and there. I stamped a carved heart on top of the newsprint. Luna's face is light blue which doesn't show up in the photo very well...maybe I was thinking of the song "Blue Moon", but probably not since I'm a rocker kind of person. The little shoes are a vintage image from The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/; I added color with markers and chalk, and the tutu is net that I gathered and handstitched on. The belt/bow is a piece of hot pink net and the beret is a little snippet of my own fabric, available on Spoonflower. http://www.spoonflower.com/spelunks?type=designers&q=Edzellinni [you need to create a user name and password for spoonflower if you want to see all my fabric, including the one on the hat.] The limbs are joined with mini-brads so that they can be posed, which works out much better than the old fashioned paper dolls that weren't moveable and had those annoying little tabs on the clothing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If I Joined the Circus ATCs

These atcs are for my Roses on My Table exchange group. When the theme was posted, I drew a total blank. Fortunately I remembered some adorable circus vintage graphics on The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/. I photoshopped in my face at five years old (from my kindergarden school photo), added some swirly trim and a circus tent, a blue sky with puffy white clouds, then blinged it up with modgepodge, Pearlex powder and gold dimensional paint. Silly and fun! I think my favorite is the one with the little dogs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fly Free ATC

What color is dew? Like rain, it is really clear, but when it sits on the grass in the early morning, it often seems to be a pale yellow-green. With that color in mind for the June Arts in the Cards ATC exchange, I started gathering yellow-green paints, fabric and papers. I’m still enthralled with tea bags, so I gathered used, empty, dry bags from my husband’s daily green tea. I adhered them to my ATC base with PPA (perfect paper adhesive). I have been collecting pretty Ricola wrappers for a while, so I thought the flowery part of the wrapper would hint at a garden. On top of the Ricola wrapper, I cut strips of teabags that I had embossed a white scroll design, thinking it would suggest a garden fence. Below the flowers, I glued strips of green soy batik that I made from an old shirt of my husband’s. It looked naked at the top, so I added more green with Derwent blocks, and then stamped, with green acrylic, some OM symbols. They were too pale, so I covered them with a small vintage image of a butterfly that I found on the Graphics Fairy blog. http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ In Photoshop, I added the words fly free at the top and papillon at the bottom. For more texture I stitched the butterfly to the card, and finished the edges with Ranger Distress Ink in a color called Vintage Photo.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fabric Design With Markers and Alcohol

My heart, art-wise, is in fabric design. But getting original designs on fabric without stiffness, stickiness or high cost is always a problem. My friend Janice Paine-Dawes http://thedistoriatedquilter.blogspot.com/ introduced me to the idea of drawing on plain white cotton with permanent markers, then using alcohol to move the color around and create a watercolor effect. It worked like magic! The fabric remained soft and the color bright. The effect was a little hard to control, but it was fun to expect the unexpected, just as I do with watercolor on paper. I scanned a section of the design, then gave it a paint daub filter in Photoshop to make it a little more interesting. The colors were super bright, so I fiddled with it some more, adding a watercolor filter and adjusting the contrast, which made it look very different. With the darkened design, I created some ATCs. The original design was about 9" high x 18" wide, but I reduced it to fit in a 2.5" x 3.5" atc. I added a pale white rectangle across the center with the words "do what you love. love what you do" which is a variation on my favorite Buddha quote: "your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." In my heart I feel that with fabric design, art quilting and mixed media, along with my paying career of layout design/writing I have found the work that I am supposed to be doing. The ATC looked a little boring still, so I experimented some more, adding embossing powder with a variety of stamps, heating the powder until I got a shiny, enamel overlay. I finished the ATCs with some gold acrylic on the edges. These atcs are very "me" and reflect many things I love, with the original fabric design, some words that are very close to my heart and the two embossed stamps--one lacy and romantic, the other the symbol for the meditation word "om"...not that I meditate often enough, but the ATCs are a gentle reminder of the tranquility that you can achieve through meditation...which is something I need to do more often.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Experiments with Embossing and Derwent Blocks

Lately I've been puttering with new materials: one is embossing powder, and the other, Derwent Inktense Blocks. They are both a lot of fun. the embossing powder is kind of messy, and I have tried it on both paper and fabric, and used both ordinary ink and slow drying ink to adhere it. I have more luck with the ordinary stamp pad ink even though it dries fast, mainly because I can see the image. The slow drying ink is not really ink...it is a clear liquid that is kind of oily, so it is hard to tell if the image is where you want it, and if it is fully covered.
The little energy symbol on the bottom left was screen printed, the beige were stamps on recycled teabags, and the top right has a stamp on a batik. The best image was the one done by screen printing an image on fabric using a thermofax screen, then sprinkling on the powder and zapping it with a heat gun. Over the weekend I didn't have my heat gun handy and substituted with a hair dryer--which did not work well at all.
I bought a few inktense pencils recently, and used them on my "Around the World" atcs. They were great--strong color that stayed strong after the pieces dried. So, I splurged and bought some blocks this weekend. They worked pretty well on fabric, and even better on paper. I tried them out on a recycled coffee filter and was pretty happy with the color.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Full Bloom: Painted Peltex SAQA Donation

Every year, SAQA [Studio Art Quilt Associates] http://www.saqa.com/gallery-mini-detail.php?ID=2053 has a fundraising auction. I have contributed for the past few years, but this year the deadline snuck up on me. Fortunately, I had an almost finished piece that I felt I could part with. I called it Full Bloom. When I began the piece, I looked at the roses in my garden that were in full bloom. They were so big, colorful and exquisitely scented that I wanted to try and capture their essence. Roses are a common theme in art, in crafts and in advertising. They are a magical flower--they come back year after year even though I do very little to encourage them. The smell of fresh roses is heavenly and enchanting. I am more a painter than a quilter, and began my art career as a fabric designer, so I am always trying to find ways to get my original work onto cloth, rather than using commercial fabric. Many times the paint on fabric comes out too stiff or too rubbery, or it runs and blurs when I don't want it to, and looks wishy-washy when dry. One method that works for me is painting on Peltex with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels. The Peltex, which is like a very heavy, stiff felt, absorbs a lot of the paint, and the piece gets pretty soggy, but when it dries the colors remain bright and the watercolor, painterly effects endure. Varying shades of pink and red thread were used to free motion quilt over the painted Peltex. However, it needed a little more interest, so I used some very delicate commercial silk leaves that were in my supply drawer, and scattered them around the piece. The finishing touches were tiny beads and sequin accents.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lean on Me

One of the members of the art group Roses on My Table http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/is sick, so group members are making her an art book of encouragement. The theme is "Lean on Me." I had no idea how to illustrate it, and wasn't feeling very poetic. I decided to represent the theme by using vintage images from http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/. In photoshop, I collaged some royalty free images of two women sharing a cup of tea and added vintage roses and, to symbolize the healing power of art, paintbrushes. The background is a scanned image of my faux lace, made from printing on recycled teabags. After I printed it and mounted it on heavy cardboard, I spritzed some gold on the piece, added modge podge for shine, and finished it with a little snippet of my favorite sheer lace from M&J Trim.

Discovering Heat Embossing Using Stamps

My "Around the World" ATCs, made by collaging vintage images from The Graphics Fairy http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/of maps and methods of travel in Photoshop, looked a little boring. I needed to do something to make them a little different. I remembered that I had purchased some white embossing powder about five years ago, and tried it once--unsuccessfully. I decided to give it another go, and tested it with a few different stamps on various scraps of paper.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the small white grains rise, melt, and turn into a shiny white image. I tested all kinds of stamps, and finally settled on some Chinese characters; I used the symbols for Joy and for Fortunate. Anyone who can travel around the world is certainly fortunate, and would probably be filled with joy, so it seemed appropriate. The directions [which I never bothered to read when I bought the embossing powder] said to use slow drying ink. I don't know what that is, so I used a commercial stamp in yellow and quickly covered it with powder before it could dry. I then zapped it with my heat gun. I got a nice shiny white raised surface, which completely covered the yellow stamp.
I added some watercolor pencils and splattered gold paint to age the ATCs, then finished them with a little modge podge for shine. The embossing powder is a great discovery--when I try overprinting with white on bright colors, it looks wishy-washy. Even using white screen printing ink over a dark color looks a little blah. My next step is to try the embossing powder on fabric, on painted tyvek, and to find the slow drying ink...plus shop around for some more colors of the magical embossing powder.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turquoise Jewelry-Inspired ATCs

The color theme for May’s Arts in the Cards ATC exchange is turquoise—one of my favorite colors. As I got dressed the other day, I put on a favorite Native American turquoise and silver necklace & earrings set, and the inspiration hit me. I realized that the reason I love that particular set of jewelry is that it is the greenish shade of turquoise, not the more popular bluish turquoise, and I love the nuances of other color within the stones.
I had some green and turq batik fabric, and printed a white flower with an original mini thermofax screen that was made from a print of one of my hand-carved block prints. I was off to a good start, but just mounting the printed fabric on a 2.5” x 3.5” piece of cardboard seemed really boring, so I began to slice and dice and add other fabrics, colors and textures. I settled on using ½ to ¾ of the flower print, alongside some olive green 100% wool felt, adding some thin, soft white batting, and stitched with turq thread. Some of the ATCs have the felt down the middle, which somehow reminded me of a butterfly; some have the flower on the felt on opposite sides...each one is just a little different. It still needed a little more ‘oomph’, so I added some tiny, irregular pieces of turquoise beads for accent.
Sadly, when I stitched the fabric ATC to the cardstock backing, the fabric shifted, leaving ugly white batting and cardboard exposed. I thought about cutting it, but the ATCs would have been lopsided and small. I thought about painting the exposed white to match the card, but that would have made a wet, soggy mess. So, here’s how I fixed it: I started by covering the white with a turquoise Crayola Twistables slick stix, but that was too bright. I went over it with a spring green Prismacolor marker…that did the trick. The two colors blended together just right, and matched the batik fabric as well as the olive felt.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prayer Flag: Just for Today...

The idea of doing a prayer flag sounds easy. For me, it was not. There were a lot of questions I asked myself: should it be bold and colorful…or soft, airy and ethereal? Should it be strong and weather-resistant or delicate so it will disintegrate quickly? Paper or fabric? We’re selling our house—do I dare hang a raggedy flag in the yard? What will prospective buyers think? Can I take it down when I move or will that ruin the karma? Should I use an image or fabric that is really special and ‘sacrifice’ it to the universe? After many trials and failures, I decided the best thing to do was to be really ‘me’—bold, rainbow colors, sturdy fabrics. I took one of my ‘balancing my chakras in a hurricane’ atcs, step and repeated the design, and turned it into a tie-dye looking fabric. I overlaid a few words in white script—peace, honesty, communication, compassion & kindness. They are kind of one word mini prayers. I also included, in a smaller size and different font, the reiki prayer that I start and end each day with. It says: Just for today, I will let go of anger. Just for today, I will let go of worry. Just for today, I will count my many blessings. Just for today, I will do my work honestly. Just for today, I will be kind to every living creature. Simple words...but very, very hard to adhere to. I flipped the image and printed it on a t-shirt transfer sheet, ironed it to cotton, and mounted the artwork on two strong batiks that matched the design, and added some thin batting. I hand-quilted the piece and purposely left the edges unfinished and frayed. After I was done, I discovered that I left out a word in the reiki prayer, but didn’t fix it—somehow it seemed right to be imperfect.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reiki-Inspired Art-O-Mat Blocks: Energy-Growth-Bloom

Here is my newest batch of Art-o-Mat blocks, packed and ready to ship out.
I used small silkscreens, well, really thermofax screens, which fiber artist Lynn Krawczyk makes.

The silkscreens come out soooo much better than trying to block print onto fabric, and it is really fast, easy and inexpensive. Lynn's esty site is http://www.etsy.com/shop/FibraArtysta. You can send her your own designs or purchase some of her pre-made screens. I also purchase screen printing paint from her, which stays moist and doesn't clog the screens like acrylics sometimes can. The gold paint, however, is an acrylic that I get at my local five and ten.

These blocks are made from my own designs. The one that looks like a musical note is the reiki energy symbol; I printed in gold on purple batik since purple is the healing color in reiki.

The floral is from a hand carved stamp I made, which I then had made into a small screen. I printed it on a rose colored cotton batik. The spiral-leaf is a doodle I make constantly, so I had that made into a silkscreen also, and printed it on both colors of batik.

This is my process in making the blocks:
1-iron the fabric so there are no wrinkles
2-print the small silkscreens on the fabric
3-cut peltex rectangles the size to fit an artomat block (you can also size them for quilted postcards or ATCs)
4-put the silkscreened piece on top of the peltex, stitch the edges of the piece with a zig-zag, and add quilting with a plain stitch
5-glue the artwork to the artomat block (I use sobo)
6-decorate the edges with dots of dimensional fabric paint
7-put a back label on with the name of the artwork and other info
8-wrap them with little pieces of cellophane so they will vend properly from the artomat machines
9-pack and ship, and pray that they sell.

If you want to find out more about art-o-mat, also known as Artists in Cellophane, go to: http://artomat.com/

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Geisha-Inspired Paper Dolls from Recycled Teabags

I am still enamored of the technique I have been puttering with for a few weeks--printing hand carved and commercial stamps on recycled tea bags and coffee filters to create a faux lace effect. Here is the latest thing I have made with them: geisha-inspired paper dolls.

I belong to an art trade group called Roses on my Table where we trade all kinds of mixed media artwork and share ideas and techniques. I was drawing a blank on this month's theme--geisha-inspired dolls--which had to contain some kind of piece relating to tea, probably to honor the tea ceremony. So, it was a double challenge for me. I like weird faces and 60s inspired clothing, so this was a bit out of my realm.

I used a face from a self-portrait an artist friend did and combined it with a geisha image in photoshop. I researched geisha clothing, and made my own template for the body and arms. The pieces are put together with tiny brads so that the head, arms, shoes and hands are moveable.

This time for my faux lace, I tried a pink screen printing paint on the teabags. I didn't think I liked it as much as the white on beige, but it worked out pretty well for the doll clothing. I added a touch of a white paisley for accent to soften the pink, and used a gluestick to adhere the printed teabags to cardstock. The trim/accent is my own fabric, available on spoonflower under edzellinni. The floral sash and shoes is the same design as my blog header at the top of the page. The hands are made from teabags glued to fabric and carefully cut out, and the purple shoes are from a kava tea wrapper.http://rosesonmytable.ning.com/

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Roosevelt Island Cherry Trees

What a beautiful surprise I had at 5 PM today when I left my office on Roosevelt Island. The cherry trees along the East River were blooming, the sky was bright turquoise and the sun glimmering on the water.

The cherry trees, planted at the river's edge in front of Goldwater Hospital, were donated many years ago by some swanky residents of Sutton Place who didn't want a big, blocky public hospital maring their scenic view of the East River. The trees really aren't tall enough to accomplish their intended task, but they sure are gorgeous, and both patients and staff enjoy them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What Color is Rain?

For our Arts In The Cards April ATC theme, the color prompt was rain. Rain? Rain is clear isn't it? So how could I interpret rain as a color? I thought of rainwater collecting in a jar on the back porch when I was a child; my mother ran out with a big pot every time it rained so she would have water for her steam iron. Our well-water was so full of minerals that it clogged the iron. Usually the rainwater she collected was clear, but sometimes rain looks light blue or gray or or even yellowish brown.

I went back and forth trying to decide between pale aqua and ecru for rain, and finally gave up and did half and half. I used recycled tea bags, and randomly printed two blocks--one a paisley Tibetan woodblock and one my own hand-carved tulip--with white screenprinting ink. I mounted some of the printed teabags on white board, and for some I put an underlay of a pale aqua silky fabric, then the printed teabag. The finishing touches were a strip of very sheer lace and pale aqua chalk accent.

The paisley shape, quite accidentally, reminded me of a large raindrop, and the tulip print reminded me of the plants that grow from the rain. I tried to convey the clearness of summer rain by the subtlety of the colors and sheerness of the teabags and lace, and the brownish stains on the teabags reminded me of the minerals that are in rainwater.

If you want to see more interpretations of "rain" go to: http://artsinthecards.blogspot.com/