Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brainstorming Ideas

Jamie Fingal checking in.  I often do a lot of research before embarking on a new project.  The thought of empty spaces intrigues me.  There are so many ways that I could go with this idea.  But, where I am right now, is in an emotional state of turmoil.  My dad passed away suddenly in late November, and it has forever changed my life and left an 'empty space' in my heart.  I've been drawing hearts, of all things, and this symbol never reaches the radar in my brain when I am attempting to create a new piece of art.  The fact that this heart wrenching emotion has totally taken over my thought process lately, and for obvious reasons.  This is just the beginning of looking at some of the empty spaces in my life.

I sat down and started drawing, everything that I was feeling, with my heart on my sleeve, or on the sketchbook page.


Then I decided that I should create one of those drawings into a painting on canvas to get a larger visual understanding of what I was doing.  I like the colors, but don't really like the heart or the writing.  It seems to trite to me.  I feel that more should be left to the viewer.  This is in your face art, and I am not sure if this is what I want to convey in an art quilt.  And let's be real, it's just a little on the depressing side.  I need to think some more on what I can create with this theme.

So, enter the camera - and we have a button jar that is partially empty  that might have some potential.  Words swirling on the inside perhaps...or a story of the antique buttons.  Thinking out loud here.  Are you enjoying my design process?

and then there is this.  Spaces between the openings.  Might be too literal, or perhaps to easy, but I do love the lime green.

and then I've been making red backgrounds, which could be hearts or something else.  It seems I am really drawn to this right now.  It's easy and I can wrap my mind around it, as opposed to other work that I can't seem to focus on right now.

and then I started thinking about what I do best, my roots so to speak in my art.  The art of the house.  The empty spaces could be negative space.  It would all depend on how it is designed and what kind of fabric I would choose, but it could work, and be something interesting, happy and it could invite the viewer in to see more.  Maybe or maybe not.  Stay tuned.


Monday, January 23, 2012

a beginning

Sue B here...

I thought I'd give you a glimpse into how I approach creating a  piece of work once I've got a theme to work with.  Actually, this process is pretty much how I approach any new piece of work that I create and it all begins on the pages of my sketchbook...

Whenever I have a new theme or idea to work with the first thing I do is to make a list of words that relate to the theme.  For  "empty spaces" theme that we're working with my list ran the gamut from literal and abstract interpretations to techniques and materials.

As you can see from this shot of my sketchbook pages I am not worried about neatness and I definitely don't censor myself at this stage of the process.  By that, I mean I write down any idea that comes to mind whether or not I think it's a good or bad idea or even if I think I have the skill set to bring it to fruition. I'll keep coming back to these pages to review them and add to them over the course of days or even weeks until I find the ideas that I am the most excited about and that I think I want to carry off the pages and start developing.

For the "empty spaces" theme I find that I have the problem of too many ideas.  I know what you're thinking - how can too many ideas be a problem?  Well for me, too many ideas is overwhelming.  I need to narrow down the list so I know what to focus on.  Once I've got some focus I can start the actual art making process.  For this theme I have several ideas that I'm considering: the empty space in a vessel, lace work and the space between two objects.  Which one I will end up using will depend on the results of some sampling that I will be doing over the next few weeks which I've already begun by starting to paint a new piece of textured silk...

hand painted silk in progress

I'll be back with another look at my progress with this theme in a week or two so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Work in Progress

Hi from Kathyanne White as I post the beginning of my Empty Spaces piece.

One of the things that is characteristic of my work is the way I work spontaneously, have an idea first and see what happens next.  I don’t really plan my work I let it flow.  I would rather start creating materials and as I work create supporting elements to bring my thoughts together in the form of artwork.  For my interpretation of the Empty Spaces theme, I have chosen to create a free standing textural piece.  As I work through my idea of the theme, things may change, but I will share my beginning plan here and continue to work on the composition of the pages.

This piece will either be shaped like a book with a spine or it will be finished in the round.  It depends on what happens as I create the textures of each composition.  I have cut 5 pieces of hardware cloth and painted them to use as the base for the dimensional collage.  I will build all my compositions on the face of each side of the hardware cloth as I assemble all my finished artwork.  For now I have digital prints on the following surfaces: recycled printers plates, beverage cans, metal mesh and some other surfaces that have not been photographed.  They are in my maybe pile right now.  Here are 4 of the pieces of 8" x 8" hardware cloth.  Three have nothing attached, the one on the bottom left has a piece of painted aluminum screen attached.

Next is an image of the 5th piece of hardware cloth that has a brass mesh print attached to one side.  First picture is of the front of the print and the second the reverse side attached to the hardware cloth. There are empty spaces in the print that were created when the metal mesh was constructed before printing.  The hardware cloth has also been cut away.

  The next photo is the other side of this page for the assemblage.  It is a print on a recycled printers plate with holes cut and small holes punch in order to use wire and beads to embellish the top of the page.  You can see the brass mesh from the other side as the pieces are stacked together. This mix will evolve as I work on the composition of the page.


A couple other pics show elements that have been printed for other pages to be completed.  As I proceed with the work, more prints and elements will be added to the mix.  Many of the cut shapes in the hardware cloth will have nothing behind them and I plan to arrange them so those openings, or empty spaces will allow the viewer to look through parts of the work to textures on the other pages.  

Printed beverage cans and aluminum mesh

Slivers of printed beverage cans

 In the next couple of weeks all the pages will be in the process of assembling and I will post pictures as this piece grows.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Approaching a Theme

Carol Sloan here.

The group has been talking a little bit about what we're going to post on the blog.

We decided that you, our readers, would love to know the good, the bad and the ugly about how we are preparing our work for each theme.

Most of the time we only share the successes of showing art, the fun details or the glorious outcomes.

Today I will approach it in a more honest way.


Our theme is "Empty Spaces".

The very first thing that I do when I begin a new piece is research.

I look up each word in the dictionary. I also look at similar words to really familiarize myself with the range of meaning for each word.

Sometimes I search for poems or quotes on the word or the intention of each word.

As I am reading, I jot down anything that I like, anything that has a special meaning or significance to me. And usually somewhere along the way, something will really resonate with me.


Let's take this theme "Empty Spaces".

I looked up "empty"  as well as "spaces" in an online dictionary. I've added links to the exact definition that I looked at.

In looking at the list of definitions, several possibilites began to germinate in my head.

One definition in particular resonated with me -"having none of the usual or appropriate contents".


My ideas often stem from what is going on in my life at the moment or in the past.

Since my mother passed away a couple of years ago, my extended family has not been as close. My mom was the glue that held us together. Her death left many empty spaces in my life. I have allowed myself to think about those spaces on a limited basis since her death. The pain is just too heavy, it's buried so deep that it would take a lot of prying to get to that place.

The death of my sister four years ago did the same thing. I struggled (and still do) with many issues after her death that I never considered before. An entire list of "should have's, would have's" that take on a life of their own after you lose a loved one.


I began to think about the theme as that kind of empty space - the space left after the "usual or appropriate contents" were emptied.

With this seed of an idea germinating  in my mind, I began to think of other empty spaces.  Spaces that existed for another purpose.

Like in the garden. You dig a hole (a space that is now empty) to drop a seed into it.

Or maybe in the forest. A tree falls to the ground, rots and eventually leaves an empty space there. Yet, in that space, mushrooms begin to grow. Small plants sprout up. The space is empty yet the death of one thing has provided a fertile space for another.

Life finds a way to fill that empty space.


After thinking about the theme with those things in mind, I returned to the original thought - the empty spaces that loss can leave us with. It doesn't have to be death, it could be the loss of respect, loss of love, loss of trust.

I spent a few days hiking in the forest right around this time. I had many hours of solitude to work through this thought process.

I wrote pages of notes while I was out there. Sitting there, surrounded by nature, hearing the rushing water of the nearby river helped to clarify my thoughts.


I decided to approach the theme armed with the painful knowledge of that empty space that is left when we experience a loss. My loss would be one that was within my family structure. I could best illustrate that loss in an abstract way.

The next step for me was to consider what I would need to begin.

I decided that letters, pieces of clothing from each person, photographs, handwritten journal entries, symbols of grief/anger/traumatic events/death and other reminders of that time in my life would be a good beginning.


[caption id="attachment_188" align="aligncenter" width="120" caption="I may use this line drawing to symbolize that growth does come from the Empty Spaces"][/caption]

I'll be scanning these items in order to print them out on various substrates, making thermofax screens out of some of them while printing others out on a suitable paper.



My hope is to document the journey while creating this piece of artwork as well as to inspire someone out there.

Please comment on what you'd like to see, anything you'd like to have explained more clearly or any questions/comments.


Thank you!

posted by Carol Sloan



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Introductions: Jane Davila

Hi, I'm Jane Davila and I live in southwestern Connecticut in a suburb of New York City. I started out as a printmaker long ago and still feel a strong connection to paper.

[caption id="attachment_166" align="aligncenter" width="228" caption="Carmina Figurata"][/caption]

I work small and very small in scale and enjoy working within the constraints of the self-imposed "limitations" of size. Working small enables me to explore more ideas and themes and the work I produce doesn't take up a huge amount of space. My husband is an oil painter and sculptor and he works in a much larger scale (6-8 feet on a side often) and let me tell you, they take up some serious room in his studio!
La Luna


Much of my work revolves around the themes of insects, leaves, birds, fish and other natural subjects. I am enamored of a Japanese printmaking technique called Gyotaku, which translates literally to fish rubbing. Although the technique is traditionally done with real, freshly caught fish, I use rubber replica fish (I have quite a collection!)


[caption id="attachment_169" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Theory"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_172" align="aligncenter" width="235" caption="Peixe 379"][/caption]

 Often, the images in my work are visual metaphors for topics I am thinking about. For example, an ongoing series featuring beetles as subjects is all about exploring my dismay and concern about global warming and the harm we are causing the planet and all of its inhabitants.

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Just One Thing"][/caption]


I am also fascinated by text and use letter forms of many languages to add texture and interest to much of my work.

I perceive letters as having colors (a condition known as grapheme-color synesthesia) and this perception adds another layer of discovery for me as an artist as I build a compostion incorporating letters, letter forms and text into my work, as well as the challenge of choosing titles for finished pieces that "go" with the work.


[caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Stitch"][/caption]


I have written three books for C&T Publishing, two with Elin Waterston - Art Quilt Workbook and Art Quilts at Play - and one alone, Jane Davila's Surface Design Essentials. Elin and I also made a dvd for C&T called Elin and Jane Teach You Art Quilt Basics. I teach art quilting, surface design and mixed media workshops all over the world and have been fortunate to meet many interesting people in my travels. I am also the editor of two digital magazines, Quilting Arts In Stitches and Quilting Arts Surface Explorations. This emag format is so dynamic and exciting and exploring the possibilities of the ever-changing and growing technology is invigorating!


As a printmaker and former full-time studio artist, I gained a lot of experience with navigating the business side of the fine art world. I have prints in many collections around the world, I've worked with commercial galleries and print publishers for years and I've taken this insider knowledge and write a regular column in the Quilting Arts print magazine called Minding Your Business. I'm a bit of a kook in that the business, marketing and promotional side of being an artist is actually really exciting to me.


[caption id="attachment_170" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="detail of Muiopotmos"][/caption]



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An Introduction: Gloria Hansen

Hello, I'm Gloria, and I live in East Windsor, New Jersey.  My art centers around geometric pattern, visual ambiguities, and photographic imagery, and I get tremendous satisfaction from merging my love of digital tools and technologies with traditional media to express a particular vision.

My passion for digital design began in the late 1980s. At that time, there was not much information available for using the computer as an quilt/textile design tool.  Even so, I was immediately drawn to the Macintosh and experimented with early vector and pixel-based programs  to adapt them to my artwork.  As those early programs matured and inkjet printing technologies evolved, so did my ability to use them.  Prior to the digital days, I  was involved in a wide variety of crafts, photography, art and design, and was in the Embroiderer's Guild of America's master craftsman program.  It is from this eclectic background of skills that my style developed.

Today my work continues to evolve and dance among pixels and fibers, paintbrushes and inkjet printers, and different types of media  I invite you to my website to learn more about me and the art I create.

[caption id="attachment_152" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption=""Artifications" - 41" x 42" - 2011"][/caption]

After this piece returned from an exhibit, I removed the finishing and am now in the process of adding curved lines of hand stitchery for additional texture and movement.

[caption id="attachment_156" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption=""Lost In Illusion" 2010 - 47.5" x 40.5""][/caption]

Lost In Illusionis a piece that evolved from a series of work that focuses on progressively diminishing squares and an interplay of geometric shapes.  It's a subject matter that I continue to explore.

[caption id="attachment_141" align="aligncenter" width="233" caption=""The Journey" - 2010 - 40.5" x 54""][/caption]

The Journey is a piece that combines imagery of various types of transit and flight.



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Introductions: Jamie Fingal

I live in Orange, California and mainly focus my work on making mixed media art quilts, but I do dabble in paper as well, because it is rather fun not to limit myself to one medium.   I think outside the box...a sort of rebel, and follow my own path by using unconventional materials in my work.

[caption id="attachment_124" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Metal Measures - 2010 - 16x16"][/caption]

A labor intensive piece of artwork made with measuring tape fabric, Mistyfused onto a wool blended felt foundation, hand-sewn, and then free-motion zig zagged to create my version of a log cabin quilt with zippers and a metal washer.  Before adding the backing, sections could be zipped apart from one another.

[caption id="attachment_125" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Urban Footscape - 2010 - 10x10"][/caption]

I have an entire series of art quilts around the subject of my Doc Marten boots, standing on a variety of surfaces in several different cities.  Collaged with a variety of fabrics, including images from a trip to San Francisco, and ransom lettering, have been photo transferred onto fabric.  Metal washers, snaps, safety pins, buttons, fuses are some of my uncommon embellishments.

[caption id="attachment_126" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Soul Sisters - 2011 - 16x16"][/caption]

Portraits are just one of my favorite subjects in my work, but in a whimsical way, in bright colors and a touch of surface design with paint and stencils.  Cups and saucers are a common motif in my work and are here on their heads, but commonly put on the roofs of my whimsical houses!

[caption id="attachment_127" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Zippy House - 2011 - 15x15"][/caption]

And houses, another time honored tradition in many of the quilts that I make, with the cup and saucer on the roof.  Zippered flowers, landscaping, house, roof and all around the edges of the art quilt, including a zipper for the front door.  Looking forward to 2012 and making art for 8 that create!  Let the fun begin!





Introductions: Carol Sloan

Hi, I'm Carol Sloan. I am a mixed media artist living and working in South Carolina.



I find inspiration in many places. I am fascinated by the textures found in nature and use several different mediums trying to replicate them. In viewing my work, you will see layers that include paper, paint, fabric/fiber and natural items. I love using natures bounty in my artwork. I use collage, drawing, painting and fiber manipulation to build these layers in my work.


I work in an intuitive manner, allowing the work itself to dictate the direction that it travels.




I build each piece to tell a story or to chronicle an experience in my life or another's life. I spend a lot of time in the forests and rivers near my home, hiking, kayaking or soaking in the beauty. I gather and collect interesting objects, natural items and everyday discards that I take to my studio and later use in these narratives. My hope is that the story will resonate with the viewer.


I also teach mixed media/mixed media fiber art workshops and classes nationally.


I love to share my belief that there is an artist inside of  everyone.

I plan on beginning online classes this year, teaching abroad as well as submitting a book proposal.

Check out more of my art, classes and my schedule on my blog.