Monday, April 27, 2015

Stitch & Post 2

This past weekend I taught my Stitch & Post workshop again.  This time it was through the Livestrong program at the Y.  Once again, I had a full class with eight people signed up.  But one person wasn't able to make it, so there were only seven.

The coordinator thought it would be better if we had the class for only two hours.  I said o.k. and tried to adjust what I did from the first workshop to hopefully speed things up.  I didn't show the participants the slides I had of other artists that use hand stitching in their artworks.  I did show them a few of the postcards that I had made with hand stitching so they would have some ideas.

During the first workshop, I demonstrated a stitch and then had the students practice it and also use it in several different ways.  Then I demonstrated another stitch and had everyone do that.  This time I demonstrated all the stitches at one time, had everyone start practicing their stitches and then I went to each table to demonstrate any stitch they wanted to see again and help anyone that needed it.  I didn't ask them to come up with different ways to use the stitching.

Then, I had them start composing their pieces (everyone decided to make a postcard size piece).  And the rest was the same as before.  They fused their compositions together, added accent stitching and then fused it to the stiff interfacing.

I told them that even though the class was scheduled for two hours, they were welcome to stay longer to keep working.  A few people did have to leave after the two hours and they took their pieces home to finish.  The rest stayed for another hour and one person was able to get completely finished and the others were close.

I like people to have a completed project when they leave because I know it might not get finished if they take it home.  I know this because I have done that myself.

Despite not finishing the project, I think most of them had a good time.  One person said she had never been able to do a french knot and now she did.

Here are Stephanie, Bea and Carol working on their compositions.

In the previous picture and the next, you will see some cut mats.  This was something I learned from my last workshop, that it would be helpful for people to see the finished size so they would know where to end their stitching.  So I cut a few mats they could lay on top to help visualize.

Work in progress.

This one, by Ginny, is really fun with the cat scuba diving.  This is still a work in progress and she took it home to do some more stitching.
I had a bunch of cats already cut out from a long time ago and a couple of people used them.  This is Carol's piece and the only one that got completed. She was the one that said she couldn't do the french knot previously and look at all the ones she put in the sky!

Overall, it went well.  I am thinking that, ideally, if I were to teach this again, that two classes of two hours would work best.  We could take our time in the first class looking at examples and practicing the stitching.  Then, the next class could be spent composing and accent stitching the actual piece.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thought of the Day

"Conservation is sometimes perceived as stopping everything cold, as holding whooping cranes in higher esteem than people.  It is up to science to spread the understanding that the choice is not between wild places or people, it is between a rich or an impoverished existence for Man."
                                                                                                               - Thomas E. Lovejoy

Monday, April 20, 2015

Art on a Budget

The days slip by me quickly and then I realize it's been five days since I posted.  How does that happen?

This past weekend my artist friend, Rachel Teannalach, hosted an art sale at her studio.  It was called Art on a Budget and she invited local artists to come set up a table to sell artwork.  Her studio is in her back yard and that is where everyone set up.

The sale was for three days, for only a couple hours each day, and had a price range for each day. The first day was artwork for sale that was under $100.  The second day price range was under $200 and the third day was under $500.

I participated on Thursday only and brought some of my smaller artworks that I already have packaged up and in buckets in my studio.  This made it so that I really didn't need to get much ready to participate.

Here is my set up at home.  I was seeing if the table was going to hold everything.

Some of the other artists getting set up.  We were lucky to have nice weather. That's Rachel walking on the left.

Artist Lauren Kistner talks with some visitors.

And here is Rachel's table.  She also had a "Deal of the Day" which was one or two pieces with a special price.

I sold one piece of art and some notecards.  But then turned around and bought a couple of Rachel's tiny Expanse paintings (those small ones you see leaned against the fence).  I had a feeling I would be spending money.

I didn't participate on Friday and Saturday, as I didn't want to bring larger pieces that would be exposed to sun and other elements.  I also didn't have a good portable hanging display.

I enjoyed talking with the other artists and thought it was a good idea for a casual, informal sale of artwork.  What creative ideas do you or artists you know come up with for art sales or exposure?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

TVAA Meeting

Monday night was another Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance bimonthly meeting.  This time we met at the Boise State University Hemingway Center.  Gallery director and professor, Kirsten Furlong, talked to our group about the different galleries scattered on campus, how galleries work and how to install an exhibition.  Most of the information I already knew, but I wanted to see the exhibition by the BFA seniors.

Kirsten didn't specifically speak about artworks in the exhibition, but did use it as an example and talked about a few of the pieces in passing.

Kirsten in front of student work in the Liberal Arts building gallery with several TVAA members.

Another student's life-sized paper cuts.  I'm sorry I did not get the artists' names as we weren't really spending much time looking at the artworks.

Another student work with broken shards of mirror on the floor, with a running video projected onto the shards which then reflected the video onto the wall.

Kirsten did tell us a little about this piece.  The student is also married with children and has a job, as well.  The video contains scenes of her everyday life of all the different roles she is juggling.

This is a small screen print from an installation piece (which I didn't get a photo of the entire thing). Around a square post that was a structural support in the gallery, there were four shelves placed, one on each side of the post.  On each shelf were groups of these screen prints of fire and a sparking match.  Screen printed on the floor around the post were more images of the matches. Kirsten said the artist invited viewers to take one of the small screen prints (This one is about 3-1/2" x 2-3/4").  You had to walk on top of the prints on the floor to get one.

I heard from another TVAA member that the artist was hoping the prints on the floor would get more worn as people walked on them, but they seemed to be holding up pretty well.  Maybe most people did the same thing I did and tried to "tippy-toe" my way so as to not step on the prints on the floor.

So, this is my most current art acquisition.

There was one thing that Kirsten said that stood out in my mind and I was happy to hear her say it. She said that the universities are a little bit behind the time in having art majors have a focus, i.e. a concentration on ceramics or painting.

She said that contemporary artists used varying media.  You may have a printmaker who also does installation work.  Or a painter who is also a photographer.

This was good for me to hear because over the years, I have heard the advice from the professional "art world" that you should stick with one medium (and I understand that it comes from learning to become proficient in that medium and creating a cohesive body of work).  But seeming as how I like to learn lots of different things, I never really agreed with that, especially now that I have been exploring printmaking for several years and might even start doing some painting as well.

An artist that is a good example for working across different media is Alexander Calder.  He is probably best known for his mobiles and metal sculptures, but he also made jewelry, worked in wood, made screen prints, did drawings, paintings, did set design for theatre, worked in bronze, etc. And I doubt anyone ever told him he should just concentrate on one medium.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

BOSCO Small Works Flash Show

Over Easter weekend, the Boise Open Studio Collective Organization had a flash show at Surel's Place, a work/live artist-in-residence location.  It was an exhibition of small works with the pieces being 8" x 8" or less (not including any frames).

I believe there were about 23 artists that participated and two artworks from each artist were displayed.  I had two pieces from my plant-a-day series from a few years back.  I was happy to have one sold.  A portion of the sale was donated to Surel's Place.

The exhibition was up for only three days.  Here are a few pictures.

 These are my two works, displayed next to Lynn Fraley's bronze piece.  The one on the right sold.

These little cuties were painted by Betsie Richardson.

These are two sets of Rachel Teannalach's tiny paintings.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Collagraph Prints

These are just a couple of the prints I made in the collagraph workshop; the only ones I liked. The image sizes are about 8-1/2" x 8-1/2".

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Collographs with Vinita Voogd Day Two

On the second day of our collograph workshop at Wingtip Press, we started printing our plates.

This is one of Vinita's plates that she brought with her that had already been used.

Vignette rolling the ink on a plate.

The plates could be used for a relief print by rolling the ink onto the surface.  Or as an intaglio print by swiping ink onto the plate then rubbing it off so the ink is only in the "grooves." For the intaglio method, the paper needs to be damp.

This is an example that Vinita brought with her of the intaglio method.

Vinita with a relief print that has been run through the press. 

Terry reveals one of her prints. We love to crowd around the press when someone is printing to see what the result is.

Mary with her print on top (with Amy hiding behind) and the plate on the bottom.

I only tried the relief method and have just a couple of prints that I like, which I will show you in the next post.  The other ones I can work on by adding stuff, overprinting or using for collage papers.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Collagraphs with Vinita Voogd

Last week I was back at Wingtip Press (in their new location) taking a collagraph workshop from artist, Vinita Voogd.  Vinita lives in California and came to Idaho to teach her collagraph technique in a two-day workshop.

Vinita showing us examples of her prints.

On the first day, we made our plates for printing and got some of our papers ready.  Here, Vinita is showing us how to make a plate.

Amy, Theresa and Cassandra help Vinita remove extra rubber cement from the plate.

This is a print Vinita made and labelled to show how different items might look after printing.

There were six of us participants taking the workshop.  Mary, Deb and Sherry work on their plates.

Here is an example of one of Vinita's beautiful collagraphs.  Do go to her website for much better pictures than this one.

I'll show you some of what we did on the second day in the next post.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rockhounding Find?

The thing I was most excited about when we went rockhounding was finding these patterns of bark on some trees.  I am definitely more of an art geek than a geologist or scientist!

Aren't they cool?!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Despite Anna declaring this past week as the worst Springbreak ever, due to tendinitis in her leg and not feeling well at the beginning of the week, we did manage to do some rock hounding outside of Emmett on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the first place we went required walking up a very steep hill which aggravated Anna's leg and we didn't find anything.  We did better at the second location of Squaw Butte where it is more flat (at the top, not in this first picture).  We found a few interesting rocks, but nothing spectacular.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, though.

Anna and Frank on the search.

 I found this tiny little bird nest.  Anna thinks it is a hummingbird nest.

I really like the colors in this rock.

At one place, we all went our separate ways to explore.  Frank climbed up another steep hill.  Anna stayed near the bottom to explore as to not aggravate her leg any further and I went sideways.  I found this rock with bubble agate that was a good size but was deep in the ground.  Frank had the rock hammer so I settled on taking a picture.

A couple of the views from Squaw Butte.

In my next post, I'll show you the find I was most excited about.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shipping Artwork

This is a picture of packages in my car yesterday. All, but one, have artwork in them.  Shipping my artwork should be something exciting as it means the piece is going off into the world, either to a new home, or to an exhibition.

But getting artwork packed up and shipped is one of my least favorite of the art business activities. Even when I think I have everything on hand, it seems like there is something to scramble for.  I save boxes and I purchased special tubes (like the large one on the floor in the picture).  And it still happens that I won't have the right size and I have to retrofit a box.  Sometimes, I am also searching for the artwork among the pieces I have stored.

As an artist that works with fabric, I have the nice advantage of being able to roll up my artwork and not have to worry about a frame getting broken during transit.  To package an artwork, I start by rolling it on a foam or cardboard roller.  I buy swim noodles during the summer to have on hand on which to roll the artwork.  I also store my larger artworks rolled.  Sometimes I have to "borrow" a roller from a piece being stored or cut one to size, or tape two together to get a longer one (foam pipe insulation is sometime used as it comes in a little bit longer lengths, but is not as stiff).

Once rolled, I will tie around the piece with fabric ties so it doesn't come unrolled.  I have made a bunch of these ties, but I am often searching to find one, or have to "borrow" again because they have all been used.

I like to have the roll in a plastic bag and a cloth bag that has my information on it, as well as the title and picture of the piece.  I've started making bags with nylon fabric so I can skip the plastic, but I only have one or two.  This time when I was packing the larger piece for that tube, I did not have any bags long enough.  So, I had to sit down and make a bag.  It took about a half an hour.

Repacking instructions also get printed and included for artwork going to an exhibition.  Most venues hosting an exhibition now require the artist to pay for the return shipping and they want a pre-paid label or check for the amount.  Therefore, before sealing up the box, it has to be weighed and measured and shipping calculated and pre-paid label printed to include in box.  Then everything can be taped up and either dropped off at the FedEx, UPS, or postal office or scheduled for a pick-up (for an extra fee).

My goal, someday, is to have each large artwork rolled and stored in it's own bag so I can just put it in a box.  I have a few like that.  But it takes more room for each piece to be stored on it's own roll. Usually, I have several or more artworks on one roll.  I'm not sure there is much I can do to stream-line the process, besides making a ton of bags and fabric ties to have on hand.

Or I could make all my artwork the same size so that all the packing materials can be the same size. I don't think I'll do that.

Friday, March 20, 2015


While in Portland, I took some time for my first trip ever to the Ikea store.  I walked out with a handful of stuff, literally.  All I bought I could carry in one hand, just some hooks and a piece of fabric.  But I enjoyed looking at everything and took a few pictures of some fun designs.

This was a piece of their fabric they put on the doors of this cabinet.  This was not the fabric I bought but I think it is pretty cool.

This serving tray reminded me of a kid's watercolor palette.

This would make a great rug for a sewing room.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Work in Weiser

This past weekend, I went to an event in Weiser featuring artwork by my friend, Linda McLaughlin. Her artwork was displayed at the little theater in town and lots of people showed up to listen to her talk about her art.

Even though I had seen her working on parts of the pieces and even saw some of them finished, it was nice to be able to see them up on the walls with some space to step back and look at them.  As well as to take more time to step close and look at all of Linda's wonderful hand stitching.

Linda has daily, weekly and monthly projects going all the time.  If you go to her blog, you can follow along with what she is doing and see all the hand stitches.

Here is a picture of the space with Linda's work up on the walls.

Linda with some of her artwork behind her.

A photo of The Daily Paper, a weekly project where Linda had fused pieces of paper towel, that had been used to wipe up dye, onto fabric and then added hand stitching.

The Daily Paper up close.

Another daily project where she had cut up some monoprinted fabrics and added hand stitching.

Detail of hand stitching.

Here's a piece with monoprinted circles that were cut up and put back together.  I couldn't stand back far enough to get the whole artwork in the picture.  This is one of my many favorites.

Linda will be having a exhibition of some of her artwork at The Arts Center in Corvalis, Oregon this autumn.