funky found object canvas villages

I’m going to be a woman of few words today. I finally finished these canvases I started in Leighanna Light’s class a few weeks ago. I love them! It was fun to take whatever scraps and randomness I had on the table in front of me to create these little rows of houses. I loved “frosting” the canvases with gel medium to create texture. Thanks, Leighanna, for a great workshop!
funky found object canvas village 1 funky found object canvas village 2 funky found object canvas village 3

My First Art Quilt…

…Hell, it’s my first foray into fabric art, for that matter. *facepalm* Because I need one more type of craft to get into, right? Right. And you know why? Because Lisa Englebrecht told me so. Well, she didn’t tell me in so many words, but oh my gosh, her work is glorious and she makes it look so easy to make such beautiful letters. I want to make amazing wall hangings, too!
Then it occurred to me that I can use my stamps and doodling to make beautiful lettering. And I can use all of my regular old paper collage techniques and just transfer it to the fabric stuff. Fabric doesn’t need to be scary anymore!

The other revelation of the week is that a sewing machine doesn’t scary me anymore. This is huge, people. I vaguely remember using a tiny sewing machine when I was young. Maybe it was my mom’s old Singer from when she was a kid. I remember sewing tiny pillows and blankets for Barbie and sewing little booklets together. I don’t know just when I started to be completely afraid that I’d sew through my own finger. LOL

Mom wanted a sewing machine for Christmas, so I recommended to my brother to get the Hello Kitty one by Janome since it was highly recommended and inexpensive, but much better quality than that $10 crappy one you can get for paper at the craft store. For some reason, they sent him two, so mom gave me the other one for my birthday.

I received it in February and I looked at the box for months. I took it out of the box after the Lisa Englebrecht classes. I looked at it for a week. Then I took it to the kitchen table and looked at the booklet and learned all of the parts. Then, this weekend, I learned how to fill a bobbin and thread the machine and I played with scrap fabric and stitched what could have been a bean bag, had I had some beans to fill it with.

Upon the advice of Fran, I got a needle to use with metallic thread today and went to town. I started out by using a painted piece I made in Lisa’s class and I stenciled on the swirls with Color Mists. Then I stamped on it with gesso and foam stamps. I wrote the quote with a tough wash pen I bought from Lisa and then sewed on the little dove bead I had lying around for years, waiting for the perfect project.

A chopstick is sewn into the top and I tied cord around the ends. A little handmade bead Andrea sent me is up on the cord, right below where the hanger is. This piece is going to my friend Wendy for her birthday, which is at the end of this month. It isn’t perfect, it’s crooked, and I smudged it a little but I love it and I think she will, too!

reflections on birthday #41

Last weekend, I made this canvas. I was shooting for a turquoise theme, however, I had gotten confused between Somerset Studio’s and Stamper’s Sampler’s challenges. I realized afterwards that, while I did stamp on this canvas, it’s not really Stamper’s Sampler material. So it’s just for me for now. I had intended that in 2008 I would enter more magazine challenges, but the fact of the matter is that I just want to do art for me. Or for a patron. Sending artwork into a magazine that could credit me incorrectly and not pay me for my effort isn’t worth my time anymore. Life is short and I don’t really need the “approval” of Stampington or any other publication in order to value myself and my art.

Thursday is my self-appointed blog update day, but since yesterday was my birthday (I turned 41), and the day got so crazy with FUN, it never happened. First things first, I want to reflect on what a great day it was. Generally, I find that my birthday can get busy with phone calls and messages, especially since I work from home. Not that I’m complaining, of course. Everyone in my family feels the need to sing “Happy Birthday” to everyone on every birthday, too, so it’s hilarious. I spent a lot of the day laughing. I know, it’s shocking, isn’t it? I know my friends who know me and my state of late will find that very shocking!

Those who know me know that my life has been hard lately: Great disappointments, sad events, big health scares and broken friendships. In other words: LIFE. I do know things could be worse and I do know that God would never give me more than I can handle, but there have been times in the past 18 months where I didn’t think I could handle any of it.

But yesterday…yesterday was such a great day that I remembered the young, happy, optimistic Tracey and I even FELT like her, which was unusual and rare. All of the calls and cards and IMs and texts and emails and gifts reminded me that in spite of the bad stuff, I am so loved. And I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. Even if a lot of them live inside my computer!

So, I’m working really hard on keeping that in my head and my heart. Today was a good day, especially because the cards are still pouring in. Crazy!! It’s also encouraged me to do more RAKs and other random notes/cards/art/communication for my friends and family, and not just my arty friends. How awesome does it feel when you know that so-and-so spent a few minutes picking out the perfect card to let you know you’re loved? My friend Shanna in Georgia sent me this amazing fruit bouquet yesterday and it really made me feel amazingly happy and loved. There was fruit and chocolate! WOW…Life can’t get any better right now.

Art Unraveled 2007 recap

phew! I’ve been home from Art Unraveled for a few days now, but I still haven’t quite caught up nor have I gotten back into the swing of things. But my box of supplies, purchases and artwork all arrived today, so I’m busy taking photos and scanning so I can write this epic blog post about my week.

Saturday, I flew into Phoenix and Andrea (of SunSpirit Studio fame!) picked me up. We headed over to a restaurant to meet Fran and Angie for a late dinner. Andrea and I then went to Fran’s house to stay overnight. The four of us shared artwork and chatted and hung out until we were all too tired to stand anymore. Andrea and I went to bed, but talked until we fell asleep. This proved to be a pattern for the rest of the week!

Sunday, Fran, Andrea and I went to lunch at Pick Up Stix where I had the best chicken bowl ever. We didn’t hang out a ton because Andrea and needed to head to the hotel to check in and get Andrea’s vehicle unloaded. Boy, she had a lot of stuff for her fabulous booth and make and takes.

Sunday evening was the Meet The Artists event, as well as the opening talk. I had a table and that went pretty well. I was happy to meet all of those people. I almost had a few extra signups as a result, but it never happened. It was ok, though, because I already had 13 signups!

My first class was with Marney, who runs Artella. It was called Blissness Plan Journal and it was a day of taking a more creative approach to a business plan. It was pretty cool and had me thinking about what steps I want to take next in my art and in my web design business.

Monday night, I taught my Websites 101 for Artists class. Boy, was I nervous! But, as my dear friends pointed out repeatedly as I was having small panic attacks, I really know the material and it was all going to be fine. A few students didn’t show up, but the class went great otherwise. The students were awesome, interested and attentive. I am toying with offering the class again next year.

Tuesday was a free day. We went shopping at Apache Reclamation for junk, then met Fran for sushi, then went to Creative Quest in Glendale. What a great store! You should definitely visit it when you’re in the area. We did a tiny bit of grocery shopping, too, and then headed back to the hotel. I had a class that evening with Kathy Cano Murillo, who was awesome. There is no photo here because I’m finishing up the project this weekend and giving it to my husband as his “souvenir”. I will post a photo later.

Wednesday, I took Let’s Face it, Be Fearless with Katie Kendrick. WOW! What a great instructor. I didn’t know what to expect, but basically it was intuitive collage and painting where we did these whimsical face paintings with Katie’s guidance. I was having such a hard time with it for a while there, but Katie really was encouraging and helpful. I feel great about my paintings now. Here they are (click image to see larger version in Flickr):

Happy McHapster Babushka I’ll Pout if I Want To

Thursday, I took Profound Secrets of the Burnt and Bound with Bernie Berlin. I learned a few techniques and got to play with Luna Lights paints, which was pretty neat. It was fun to play around with stamps and learn to get more use out of them. Her class featured Michael deMeng stamps. Here’s what I did:

Friday, I took an Architectural Structures class with Jane Wynn, who is the most enthusiastic happy lady I have met in a long time. She was lovely and helped me with the power tools and we built a box for our shrines and she gave us lots of great feedback and ideas for our shrines. I also learned to cut glass! It was really cool. She has a book coming out in the fall, which I will definitely be getting my hands on. I’d also take another class from her in the future. She was swell. Here is my shrine from that class. This was another project where I was miserable for a period of time until it started coming together. I call it “Birdhouse in Your Soul.” The focal point is a non-functioning night light I got years ago when I was really really into They Might Be Giants. I can’t remember exactly who gave it to me…one of the record company reps I worked with at the time. Anyway, I love that nightlight and now that it’s a bit flighty, it was time to retire it and this was the perfect way to do it. I may add a bit more at some point, like a little blue bird in the “attic.” Yay!

Friday night, I took a class called Resist This, which was based on a technique in Bernie’ book. It was a quickie and we left class early because we were so tired. I don’t have photos now, but will update later with them when I finish the pages we started.

Saturday was the Shopping Extravaganza! It was even better than last year, and last year was pretty good! I had fun all day, shopping, and checking in on Andrea at her booth.

I’m pretty sure I’ll go again next year, if I can afford it. I think it’s a good way to rejuvenate one’s creativity. I look forward to the day when I can focus more on art than anything else and Art Unraveled is a taste of what that would be like (minus the 400 other women milling around, of course!)

art from this weekend.

I didn’t do as much stuff this weekend, art-wise, as I would have liked, but isn’t that the story of my life!

Saturday, I met up with the Mile High Book Arts people, and we all worked on our pages for a really cool book we’re doing called “Melange Book.” It’s based off a bunch of inspirations, including a class some of us took last year with Bev Brazelton. We are gutting an old Encyclopedia to use as a cover and we’re making crazy cool pages out of chipboard, fabric, copper mesh, whatever. I only got one page finished, but I painted a lot of pages. I decided to go with a blue theme, because my decision making skills have been lacking as of late. The book will eventually be a book of inspiration for myself…when I have those low points, the book will be there to remind me of how far I’ve come, rather than how far I still have to go.

Then yesterday, we had Art Party at Christine’s store and she showed us how to use Precious Metal Clay. PMC is a clay that’s made of fine silver, with binders that give it the clay form. You mold your charm, pendant, whatever, and then fire the clay. The binders burn off, leaving you with the silver. I made three tiny charms. I’m going to make a necklace with them.

I have a number of other projects rattling around in my brain: Body of Art Challenge for the Artists’ Nook, my trades for Art Unraveled, new work to place in the Artists’ Nook and at SunSpirit Studio in AZ. I think those are the biggies that I have to do before I head to Phoenix. It feels good to write them down. It makes me a little less anxious. I think tonight I’ll be doing some journaling. It may be all I have energy for!