Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pattern, Textile and Obsession

All this week I've been asking myself why we love what we love. Specifically, why have I always loved pattern, busy repeated pattern, particularly in textile and most particularly in Indian textiles. 

I suspect it has something to do with how it looks so much like woodblock printing which I also have loved from the beginning. I'm particularly drawn to the German Expressionists but not that picky. I also love linoleum prints and rubber stamps. I just wish we'd had the soft rubber to carve when I was in school, abusing my hands cutting large multiple plate prints out of plywood. Advice to young printmakers - cut nothing harder than basswood. Or risk carpal tunnel swelling. 

But I digress. This week I fell down the rabbit hole (again) of multiple block printing. In a smaller way since I take better care of my hands now. So I cut soft rubber, small plates, just enough to satisfy my yearning for prints, printing, playing with rollers and inks.

I printed a couple of scarves on white muslin, 100% cotton.

Used a combination of Versatex airbrush ink, Golden and craft acrylics and GAC 900.

I liked the first one until I put the ochre color on. Not horrible but I knew it could be better.

So I got up this morning determined to keep the border darker than the center.

Tried this color combination.

Yes, I like it better.

Now I have 5 yards of cotton and a lot of silk that I want to play with in the indigo dye pot next. All the while I'm doing this I'm dreaming of a trip a friend is planning early in 2016 in Jaipur, India. Not a teaching trip for me but just for immersion in the art and culture of India. John has even agreed to come along. We'll visit textile factories and take some workshops there from the Indian artisans. I'm terribly excited to go and much later I'll introduce you to the woman who is organizing this. She's a world traveling gypsy who's been to India before and is going to make the trip wonderful.

Funny where our rabbit holes take us, isn't it? 

Follow your bliss.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

I Can See!

I wanted to use one of the new indigo textiles for a cover on my next journal only the design needed to be scaled down so from a photograph I printed it onto cotton fabric and paper to use instead. So now I still have the fabric to use on a sewing project. 

If you dont know how to print on fabric, it's as simple as ironing your cotton muslin onto freezer paper and then running that through your inkjet printer. I love seeing my images on fabric and have covered several journals this way.

At first I thought the journal was a flop (you can't see how wonky the back cover is) but now I like that it is very imperfect. Perfect things lack soul. Imperfect things are a better reflection of who I am.

Our Christmas camellia is blooming away for the first time in 3 years. It definitely cheers me.

And if you're my Facebook friend you know that my friends and I gathered for Tara Ross' puppet workshop at my house right after Thanksgiving. Thank you Tara for your excellent class and thank you too to DecoArt for supplying the paint for us to use. The paint is gorgeous and we had so much fun!

My 2nd cataract surgery has been completed now and I'm in shock at how clear and bright the world is. I'm making all kinds of plans for the coming year; I feel a new lease on life. 

I'm dreaming of travel now and more teaching and another online class. Probably the online class won't be until early summer though as I have lots going on. What shall I teach? I'm ping-ponging around between Sculpy Dolls and Printmaking. Well and Landscape Abstract Painting. Ha ha. I just love making videos and putting lesson plans together. It's so much work but it makes me feel good, knowing that we can share without the barriers of time and space.

Well, I'm moving pretty slowly this month but do plan to do some painting to share with you. Enjoy the season and I'll see you on the internets. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A New Learning Curve

I've returned from Bali on fire with interest in textile art (thank you Sue Stover!) We stayed up late into the night discussing bojagi, indigo, boro and more. All these things link to one of my past lives as a batik artist and silk dye painter. To my study of yuzen dyeing on a trip to Japan I made back in the '70's.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have a dye kit for indigo and look forward to making another one of these.

What is it about Thanksgiving week that finds me so inspired to work in the studio when I need to be cooking and cleaning? It's a phenomenon.

This is my month for 2 separate cataract surgeries. One down and one to go.

I'm a horrible patient. An impatient patient. My hands need to be busy.

Folded paper and sewed up this journal with curved needles and coptic stitch. The stitch looks different than the one made with a single needle, thicker. Now I've done both kinds and loads of long stitch journals and a few with the pamphlet stitch. I'm trying to find the perfect book form for me. I'd be curious to hear about your searches. Do you like one kind better than another and why?

Have spent days in the studio experimenting.

This is what I do when I'm bored or uninspired.

And the journal of course. Always the journal.

Wishing everyone in the USA a cozy and safe Thanksgiving week.Wishing my friends down under a balmy and beautiful spring. Stay creative and keep in touch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Remembering Bali

After a couple of weeks in Australia Trish and I boarded Garuda Airlines and traveled to Bali. 
We and the encausticampers stayed at Rumah Roda in Ubud, shown above.

Both of these views are looking out my circular bathroom windows, taken at different times of day.

This is a view from the 2nd story restaurant at Rumah Roda.

The door and sitting area of my habitation.

One of my pedicures.

A typical curry dish served at Rumah Roda.

My bed where I slept like a queen.

I was able to spend 3 days printing, tjanting and dyeing at Widya Batik Studio to the Northeast of Ubud. 
I made and sold batiks years ago and it was good to return to a process I love. 
In fact since I've been home I've thought of nothing but indigo and wax.

Stamping fabric with the hot metal stamps and wax.

Hand painting after a dip dye.

Ready for the indigo.

One of my indigo creations. 

This is a photograph of the fields of indigo being grown at the farm at Threads of Life, another batik studio we visited before encaustic classes started. 

Here you can see the iridescent surface of the pot of indigo dye and the leaves floating in it.

Another view of Rumah Roda.

 Several of us visited a wood carving studio.

Here the group is at a silver workshop at the Pondok Pekak Library, making keepsake rings.

Some brave and daring souls decided to commemorate their experience with tattoos.

A number of us took classes in wood carving. 

Yes, I was craving familiar food after a couple of weeks!

My friend Kathie who organizes trips asked if I wanted to go back and teach this coming September. At first I said, "too soon". 
But now I've been thinking. 
Twist my arm - lol.