Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Art is in the Ironing

Iron from the inside out.  If the inside is beautiful, that all you have to worry about.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Sometimes all you need is art to wear with movement to brighten your day.  You can try on this shibori dyed, pieced Ruby Riding coat at the Kentucky Craft Market, Mar 2-3 in Lexington, KY.

Be Dramatic in Something Gauzey

Several yards of silk gauze, shibori dyed, sheer and delicate in purples, reds and oranges.  Delicious!
Only one week until the Kentucky Craft Market in Lexington.  Booth 317.  I will have specially priced scarves for exhibiting artists that want to add a little drama to their "look!"

With candles burning and orange juice, fresh squeezed, beside me, I licked the juice from my fingers. She brought oranges with her the first time. That’s when I started looking for them. The harder I looked, the fuller I became, and the juicier they were.
I have begun to read voraciously to know just what to say at the right time. When I sleep at night, I think about what I read, and when I make love, I think about what I will tell her. I think about ideas. They’ll run over my lips and I’ll flick them out with my tongue. I think about stories that I’ll whisper, and when my breathing gets heavier, I’ll think about poems I’ll yell, and when he kisses me on the back, I’ll remember things I forgot, and the excitement will roll me over, and I’ll forget where I was. It never gets crowded in our bedroom. There is always room for all of us, and when things start getting confusing, I disappear for a while, float up to the ceiling, take a slow ride on the fan and re-enter when I’m fresh again, and we all think it is for the first time.
The poems that get digested get sent out in the mail, and when the rejections come, she listens, and he wipes away the tears, and I weave them into pillow cases, the kind that crinkle to the rhythm of love, and there are more poems popping from the toaster. Someone forgot to butter the bread. I can’t remember if her hair is long or short, dark or blond. Sometimes, it’s one or the other, but those aren’t the things that matter. It’s her voice that matters­­—the one I try to mimic, till I learn it by heart—the one I dream and it becomes hybrid.  The Garden Girls Letters and Memoir

Friday, February 22, 2013

Elements and Principles

These are the Elements of Art

Everything you create has these elements is some way.  Art happens when you arrange these elements following the principles of design.  You will decide where to put your emphasis.  That emphasis is what creates a collection. A body of work. A cohesive collection.  One that has unity.

Principles of Design and Organization used to create Unity

For me, my emphasis is often on color.  When I shibori dye fabric, I use a variety of color. And follow color theory to create harmony.  I like the fabric to be lightweight so that it has movement. When I make wall hangings or rugs I count on the placement of color to create movement.  In the fall the tones will dominate.  In the summer the bright colors will dominate.  Etc.  I like to be economical with my palette.  Not too many.  Since everything is in the palette I’m currently working on, however, it is all part of a collection, rugs, clothing, wall hangings.

My daughter, Danielle,  makes purses.  Her emphasis is on shape, line, texture.  Her colors may vary.

Some designers/artists like pattern.  Colors and lines could vary, but there is always pattern.

I’m not sure you always know in the beginning.  That is why you keep asking what if.  And follow your intuition.  One time I was ironing a piece and all of a sudden I wondered what if I use a particular group of colors.  Since I was being inspired by something I had just created, I made a  point to write my thought down and immediately dye something using that formula.  That’s how pieces feed off of each other.

The main thing is to print off the elements of art and principles of art and organization and post them somewhere.  I think they apply to everything we do in life.  

PS  Don't forget to ask for you "Friend's Discount" at the Kentucky Craft Market in Lexington.  I'll be in booth 317

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wrap, throw or yardage

While voices are often found in conversations with friends, my new stories are found in fiber.  The softness of alpaca and merino, the shimmer of silk.  Each palette a new story.  My son had a friend who was dyeing.  He asked me to create something soft for her to wrap around and keep her warm.  Something earthy he said.  I never knew her.  I think of her however, every time I use these colors.  I think of him and his sensitivity.

Available at the Kentucky Craft Market, $275

.25 Alpaca and merino felted on silk dyed shibori dye, pole wrapped. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Save Everything

 No Waste


My art is in the color, texture and depth.  It's where I ask what if.  Thus everywhere there is color there is art. Everywhere there is texture there is depth.  No waste means using everything I create.  These Shibori dyed pieces were the edges cut off a larger piece of hand felted merino, alpaca and silk.  They are the perfect length for wearable art.  I serged one edge and added my label.  Great to wear several at a time, or hang from a bamboo pole as a mobile. 

Since I always place at least three colors, or shades of one color of dye on the cloth.  This there is movement and depth.  The real pleasure attained using the Shibori technique is when you open each steamed package and discover the results!  The rules for making art are the same rules I apply to writing.

  1. Make rules
  2. Choose a palette/voice and stick with it
  3. Ask “What if?”
  4. Don't second guess

The secret to beautiful texture and blend of color is to not use too much dye by learning to read the flow of the dye in the same way a kayaker reads the river before descending over a 40 foot water fall.  The only way to repeat what you discover is to measure and make notes. (Sorta.  You can never really repeat with shibori. )

--> “My dear,” she said, “perhaps it is time for you to gather your authority and begin your journey living the layered life of an artist.  --from The Garden Girls Letters and Journal

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow On The Way

Anticipating Spring

While these purple flowers are from the end of last summer, 
their spring like color is fuel for inspiration.

Should I be surprised colors are such a large part of my process?  As I look back at another body of work, my memoir, The Garden Girls Letters and Journal, I rediscover that even my writing was laced with color.

Lavender in purple braids is empty handed, of course; she’s the philosopher.

 I carry him downstairs, his head resting on my shoulder, and fall into my old purple velvet overstuffed chair. With the towel cradling him I reach behind the chair for a book from the bookshelf and pull out "The Great Me and The Little Me." 

The porch is blue, the pansies are blue purple and the fuchsia is red purple. I had visions that we would sit on this porch and converse. They would be slow casual conversations somewhat meaningless, perhaps, because we would be relaxing. 
We would not be driven towards some kind of completion

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Body of Work

What is a body of work?

A collection that has a beginning and an end.  You never really know it is beginning when it is beginning  You only know by looking back and saying, "Ah yes, this is when this body of work began."  And you never know it has ended until it ends.  You only know by looking back and saying, "Ah, yes, that collection ended."  The important thing is that you collect it as a body of work. Define it.  Date it.  I am approaching an ending.  It began in late October when my formulas changed to tones and shades.  This shibori dyed, copper vest of alpaca, merino and silk was hand felted on the FeltLOOM.   Thank you  My current body of work will probably end after the Kentucky Craft Market on Mar 2-3 and I begin to ponder colors and designs for summer and the next Lexington Fashion Collaborative Future of Fashion event.  It's always a pleasure working with +Soreyda Benedit Begley and +Sarah Estes to produce this event.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Charmeuse and Velvet

Caftan and Coat

More experiments.  Will I ever get there?  The pole wrapped shibori dyed charmeuse in shades of purple and yellow (which became green when I added the black) started out as a 60" square which I then cut on the bias to create this caftan.  I read somewhere that working on the bias is like working with live fabric.  No kidding.  Every time I moved it the shape changed.  The velvet coat was made from three yards of shibori dyed yardage dyed in shades of yellow (which became copper, rust and olive when I added black.)  I love color theory!  The experiment here was whether or not to dye one long piece or three smaller pieces precut to fit the back and sides.  Just like writing.   Constant rewrites says mentor +Connie May Fowler  Can't wait for the Kentucky Craft Market, Mar 2-3 in Lexington at the Convention Center.

Thursday, February 7, 2013