Thank you for visiting artful embellishments. This is the third year for this blog and I am so happy to keep publishing. I started in 2011 and began with a quilt of the week, this lead to the leaf of the week for my newly designed paper tree that is located on the wall of my garage in 2012.......2013 is going to bring a lot of excitement and positive change. As a personal challenge for 2013, I plan on designing a artist trading card each week to be featured on the blog.
With so many interests, there will be quilting, art quilting, leaves (and more leaves), as well as experiments in thermofax screen printing, fabric dying, and tons of DIY recycle projects. I may even enter that altered fashion scene. To a happy and healthy 2013, may we all find happiness in those things we create....thank you for stoping by artful embellishments.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Real Snow Dying

Well we finally got some snow! I was able to shovel the snow into a bin so that I could use that instead of ice. The patterns came out completely different than ice due to the difference in consistency!!! My neighbors were definitely looking at me like I was crazy, but it was so much fun to finally try it the way it was designed to be done.

Still Life

Sighting is the process of checking position and proportion of your subject. Usually a straight stick is used. For our project we used a bamboo stick. Unit of measure if a smaller compositional element where height and width are clearly defined and can be used for measuring the relative proportions of the rest of the composition.  This was the first still life. It was fun to do, but for me technically challenging. I enjoyed using the plum lines to center objects and the properly place them in relation to the other objects. We still have not added values to our work. That is coming soon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The written Sketch book-Journaling

The written sketch book is a class offered by Lynn Krawczyk. It is a writing class designed to improve your creative and artistic abilities. I joined for a number of reasons. Number one, I love to write. Number 2, despite everyone telling me I need a sketchbook, I have never kept one. Yes, perhaps that is why I can be such a scatter brain, all these ideas floating around in my head, and nothing written down. So I decided to join the class. The first writing prompt inspired me to actually draw some flowers that I had in my house. (I used these for one of my drawing assignments.) I decided to sketch them with water colors and gellato's. I am hoping this is the impetus for me to actually keep a journaling sketch book, so that I  may log ideas, thoughts, and inspirations for future projects.

The depths of Michigan

Quilting Arts Magazine has a challenge titled "Map it Out". I have done two quilts for this challenge. This quilt was a tribute to a topographical/nautical map. It is a whimsical interpretation and not a literal depiction of the depths of the lakes, and elevation of the land. The quilt was sketched from a map, and then traced using a light box onto doubled sided stabilizer. The quilt was machine quilted. A small compass was added for 3 dimensional effect.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Treasure Island-X marks the spot

Quilting Arts Magazine has a quilt challenge six times a year. I try my best to enter all of them. The latest challenge was called "Map It".  While working on a quilt for this challenge, I decided to do a second quilt. I have always loved treasure maps, treasure hunts, and legends. This quilt was done by using my printer to print out some over layed maps. Using photoshop I altered the maps to make them an old yellow/brown color. I then hand stitched the path to the treasure with black embroidery floss. The X was made from a red metallic paper. The treasure chest was the most fun. The actual chest was made from a plastic pin box. I used rub and buff in gold, silver, and blue to alter the clear plastic into a rustic piece. The "jewels" were left over beads, baubles, and other gems. The palm trees were small scrap booking pieces that were altered using the rub and buff. They were adhered with E6000. The small skulls were actually buttons that I was able to sew on. The compass was stamped with tea dye Tim Holtz distress ink.

Ice Dyed Fabric 2013

Ice dying has been a favorite of mine. You never know what you are going to get. I did three pieces of fabric in this dye lot. The colors I used were pink, orange, yellow, and green.  There were two types of fabric. Cotton and a velveteen (top photo). This process renders results that are so unique and they just can't be duplicated. The pattern is a function of how the ice melts, how the fabric is scrunched or folded, and the fabric contents. Natural fibers are a must, but texture to the fabric really enhances the results. The fabric is first washed in soda ash. This allows the dye to bind to the fabric. The fabric is then placed on a screen, I use cookie drying racks. The racks should be suspended so the ice can melt and the water falls through the fabric and rack into a reservoir. The ice is applied and then approximately 1/2 teaspoon of dye is sprinkled over the ice. Wait 24 hours for the ice to melt and voila you have unique fabric. The complete instructions can be found in quilting arts magazine volume 52.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Contour Drawing

A contour is defined as more than just the outline of a figure or object. It is a linear exploration of outer and inner edges.

This drawing was not a still life, but rather a combination of still life objects. We had to use "leafy" objects. The ones in my drawing are lettuce, pine cone, lily, and cat tails. The point of this drawing was not to introduce value by shading, but rather develop depth with the thickness of the line.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lessons from Brad Deroche-Via Ira Glass

Dr. Deroche is a classical guitar teacher at Interlochen, CMU, and Delta College.  He is an amazing instructor and a deep thinker. He has all these amazing quotations on his door and often will discuss interesting perspectives during class. I can tell you I am a better person having known him. I walked by his door this year during a drawing break to find this quote. Wow, does this sum up how I feel most days of creating.  I had to smile at the fact that my work disappoints me due to my good taste. What a concept. So here is to a lot of work that may fall into the category of disappointing.......I am working on closing the gap.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 
 Ira Glass

Gesture Drawing

Gesture Drawing is a quickly made drawing that considers the function, the action or expression by reporting in as quick and fluid of a manner conveying as much general information as possible.

The top two gesture drawings were done by me in my first drawing class. The bottom gesture drawing was done by my drawing professor Bonnie Lally. I was the actual subject which was fun to see a gestured drawing of myself.  I enjoyed how she could get excellent linear perspective in under 3 minutes.

Draw Some Shoes......

Taking a drawing class was so daunting for me, but I cannot get my art degree without it. I can't even take most art classes without it. Sooooooo......I started January 8, and it has been so much fun. This is our first project which is a gesture drawing followed by a contour line, no shading, tonal variation, values etc.
It was a lot of fun to figure out how to make things seem three dimensional by the thickness of your pencil marks.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Leaves 78-82 Recycled Calendar pages

With the intent to recycle more in 2013, I have taken pages from my new calendar and recycled them into leaves. They really make quirky leaves and I am enjoying the change of pace and the fact that this paper is being kept out of the trash!

Leaves 71-78

I have some color fabric books for upholstery fabric. I absolutely love these patterns and think they will make great leaves for the tree.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Delightful Decoupage......

Decoupage is like going back to childhood.  I love to glue paper to just about anything that stands still long enough. I decided to make myself some french accessories. I used old yellowed french books to decoupage a mouchoir (tissue) box and a waste pail. An old piece of jewelry was placed on burgundy velvet ribbon around the top of the pail. A oval belt buckle was decoupaged with the french word Mouchoir.  I love the addition to my apartment!  Another new years resolution is to fill my apartment with my own art...to a year of happy creating.

Marvelous Mittens

Winter is upon us! With many new year's resolutions I am starting this year with optimism and happiness.  I had wanted to do more art, more sewing, and more recycling. A weird combination for sure! I decided I wanted to do more with wool felting. I have a felting machine that I have used a few times. I went to a resale shop and bought some 100% wool sweaters and washed them in hot water, and dried them until they were a thick wool felt. I then cut them to the shape of my palm. I embellished the mitten (top half) with a flower and ribbon for the stem. I used my Sizzix cutting system to make the flower pieces, and I used brightly colored felt pieces. The flowers were machine quilted to the wool mitten. Buttons were added for dimension at the center of the flower. The ribbon was machine quilted in a random pattern.  The cuffs of the mittens were recycled t-shirts in bright colors. I was also able to use my serger to make the cuffs. They are fun to wear and look really neat on. I just couldn't take the picture while my hands were in the mittens!  Let it SNOW!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What a hoot.......

Happy New Year! Hard to believe this will be the start of my third year blogging my artistic progress, or something like that.....I am so looking forward to many new creative endeavors this year. This first one is a representation of my latest creative passion which is thermofax screen printing. This is a ton of fun and really relaxing. I am working in my old note book, so it is a sketch book of short, minus the sketches, plus the trial and error of screens and paint. This one is a combination of three separate thermofax screens. The first layer is acrylic full body paint smeared with a credit card. That process is so imprecise, it is just a serendipitous event waiting to happen. I then  screened the floral motif in a chartreuse, it almost looks like vintage wall paper. A white random line design was then imaged. The final image was a owl done in three color paints, pink, gold, and black. This is not fine art, nor is it sellable, it is pure magic in playing with color and design. So off to a fun year of creative endeavors...May your new year bring you color, line, and space........