Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Greenbelt Series

I did it.  I made my deadline with two days to spare.  It's nice to have that done and be able to move onto something else.  This deadline has been utmost on my mind for about a month.  I made three new pieces to submit.

The three are the first in my Greenbelt series.  I do have ideas to create more, but for now I have a large piece that was in the works and needs to be finished.

Here is the first piece in the series.

N 0.0
hand dyed and commercial fabric, machine pieced and appliquéd, 
hand embroidery, machine stitching
24" x 20"
©2013 Lisa Flowers Ross

The title comes from the Distance & Orientation Trail System (DOTS) on the greenbelt within Boise.  It is designed to help locate points of interest and aid in the event of an emergency.  Along the path on both sides of the river are painted white circles with a location.  Here is an example.

What this indicates is that you are on the south side of the river 2.4 miles east of the 8th Street pedestrian bridge.  Here is a link to a map of the Greenbelt and some of the DOTS system.

The artwork portrays some area near/at the location indicated by the title.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Free Motion Stitching

I am still finishing up the third piece in the Greenbelt series.  It is a bit different than the previous two as I have done more free motion machine stitching on it.

Free motion machine stitching takes a lot of practice.  For years I have worked on achieving smooth even stitch-length lines.  For this current artwork,  I did not want smooth lines.  I wanted what I call herky-jerky lines.  This meant going against all that smooth line practice.  I think it was much harder to do.

It's often amazing how much different the stitching can make in some artworks.  Below is a section of green before I started the stitching.

In this next picture, you can see the completed stitching.  It adds so much texture and interest.

This last picture is a detail of my herky-jerky lines, so not smooth and perfect - just the way I wanted it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Boise 150

For those of you who live here, you know that this year is Boise's Sesquicentennial.  Boise is 150 years old.  There are celebration events planned throughout the year.  One of those events is a Local Color juried exhibition that is being hosted by the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance and will display artworks having some connection to Boise.

For several years, I have been thinking about creating a series of artworks that relate to the Boise Greenbelt.  I think the bicycle/pedestrian path along the river is part of what makes Boise so special.  Over the years on my cycling excursions on the Greenbelt, I have taken pictures in the hopes of using them to help me create a series.

This Local Color exhibition was the perfect inspiration to finally get started on my Greenbelt series.  I am creating the first three artworks in the series to be submitted for consideration.  The deadline is next week and I think I'm going to make it.  I'm working on the third piece right now.

Before starting, I decided on a size that I wanted all the artworks to be.  The process I've been using to create these is a bit more precise than how I usually work.  Since they are all to be the same size, I have drawn out my design on a piece of paper measured to be slightly larger than the finished size.  Then I can trace the shapes from the paper if I need a template.  It is more involved but seems to be working out o.k.

Here's an in process picture of workings of the third piece.

I will be sharing pictures of the final artworks after I get them photographed and probably after I meet the deadline.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Solarplate Printing

Last night I went to a Solarplate Printing workshop at Wingtip Press.  In this process, you use a photopolymer plate that is exposed to UV light (sun or UV light box) to create the image.  You can do a relief process or an intaglio process with these plates.

Here Nadine and Amy get ready to expose a plate (with a UV light box since it was obviously night time).

Amy showing us how to ink the plate.

My friend, Mary, getting ready to print.

Amy had some examples of solar plate prints up on the wall for us to look at.  Here is one that she made.

This one is a solar plate with screen printing, as well.  This one was made by April Hoff.

We are back at it again tomorrow night.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Here is a piece that I completed before, and showed in Textiles x Two.  The title, Renew, comes from the fact that this piece started out by cutting up an older artwork and using some of those pieces.

fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, hand embroidery, machine pieced,
free motion machine stitching
19" x 14-1/4"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

Have you ever cut up/painted over/remade an older piece?  I have looked back at some earlier works, which at the time I thought were fine, but as I have progressed in my own artwork over the years, I now think "blah."

Several times some of these pieces have been cut up in the hopes to make something better or different.  Sometimes just taking a smaller section of the artwork helps.  Sometimes it doesn't and it just ends up in pieces.

The piece Renew came from an artwork that was called Spring Green and, ironically, I showed it in the same gallery as Textiles x Two, two years previously.  I only used some pieces of it to make Renew, so I could make another new artwork with the leftovers (or not).  I am very happy with Renew, for now (who knows what I will think about it in a couple of years).

I'm almost embarrassed to show you Spring Green, but I guess I will.

The greens look quite a bit different in these two (my photography skills have improved), but that bottom section is what I used.  I added a lot more stitching in those sections for Renew.  The skinny strips are where I connected the pieces back together.

The circular stitching gave me some ideas for new artworks.  I currently have one of these ideas started and up on the design wall, but it has to wait to be completed as I am trying to work on some other pieces to meet a deadline.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The End of the Line

 Lines VIII
fabric hand dyed by artist
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

This is the last completed artwork in the Lines series.  I thought it was done over a month and a half ago and it did show up at our opening reception for Textiles x Two.  But people couldn't see that there was a stitched circle up there in that empty space until they were looking closely at it.  Did you notice it before I told you about it?

It was bothering me.  So yesterday, I pulled it out of it's packaging (a topic for another post) and put some red hand stitching around the circle.  Now, you can see the circle from afar and I am happier with it.

The circle has now become a focal point, too.  It competes with the red line for attention, but I think that creates a nice tension and keeps the eye moving around.  It also makes those red lines under the gray shape look like a reflection.

And yes, you can see the stitching on the back.  I think because of the tradition in stitching, some people think that the back should look as good as the front.  I say that it doesn't matter how messy the back of a painting is, so it shouldn't matter how neat the back of my textile artwork is.

But I will show it to you anyway because, well . . ., it is neat and professional.  The solid sides are facings so there isn't any kind of extra border/binding on the front.  Since this is a small piece, I have sewed on two little plastic rings by which to hang it, instead of a sleeve.  Commercial prints I have  from past years and fabric not good enough for the front make it to the back.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lines Series

Next in the series is Lines VII.  This one is quite a bit different than the others.  I still consider it part of this series because it has the skinny red strips of fabric (lines) and the lines of red stitching. In all the previous pieces, I filled in most of the background with stitched lines.  I like the minimal stitching in this one.

This was the one that I put in the Textiles x Two exhibition.

Lines VII
fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lines Series Continued

I have a couple more Lines pieces to show you, then we must move on to something else.  This one feels a little "wintry" to me.

Lines VI
fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lines Series

Continuing on with the Lines series, Lines V is next.  (It is now available in my Etsy shop.)  These are fun to make because I usually don't have a plan ahead of time.  I pull out some fused fabrics and start cutting.  One of my thoughts for a daily project for February is doing something like this on a smaller scale.

Lines V
fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ketchum Cover Art

Look what I found on the internet the other day.

It is a picture of the utility box design I did for Ketchum.  I also just heard that since the project was received so favorably in the community, they are expanding the program to add five more boxes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lines Series

This is the next piece in the Lines series.  It is now available in my Etsy shop.

Lines IV
Fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Daily Project

Lately, I have been reading quite a bit on other people's blogs about a daily project.  Since it is the start of the new year, this makes sense.  Some people do a daily project for an entire year.  That seems like too much of a big commitment to me.

Some people do a daily project for a month.  This seems reasonable enough for me. It's a long enough time to explore something and create a routine, but not so long that you get tired or overwhelmed by it.

I've really only done one daily project before.  In Feb. 2011, I decided to practice drawing with my sewing machine everyday.  I chose plants as my subject and stitched with black thread, one a day.  This was just an exercise and was not meant to result in finished pieces.

After all of them were done, I did go back and finish a few of them by doing more stitching in the background and then putting on a binding.  Here is one of the finished ones:

Plant-a-day #4
commercial fabric, free motion machine stitching
approx. 6" x 6"
©2011 Lisa Flowers Ross

I even went back to a few later and tried adding some color.  Like this one:

Plant-a-day #1
commercial fabric, free motion machine stitching, colored pencil
approx. 5-1/2" x 5-1/2"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

I have been thinking about doing another daily project for the month of February (I like choosing the shortest month of the year).   I'm trying to decide what to do.  

Some of my thoughts about how the project needs to be to make it successful for me to keep doing.
1)  It has to be something fairly small.
2)  It has to be something I could do fairly quickly.  I would say that the plant-a-day project took me around 1/2 hour a day (I already had the squares, batting and backing cut for all the days before starting the project).
3) It needs to not have the pressure of having to be a finished piece.
4) It has to hold my interest for the entire month.  

So, what should I do?  I was thinking I could do some more drawing with the sewing machine. But what to draw?  I would want it to be something different than the plant-a-day.  Or I thought I could put together a fused piece a day (without having to finish it with stitching).  Or combine them and fuse something and then go in and draw over it. 

I tried this method on one of my older artworks.  And although I don't really like the artwork (it was part of a group challenge with rules and all), I did like the effect I got doing that.  Here is a small example from that quilt.  These are some totem sculptures in Boise (the floating fish is part of a different  artwork downtown).

Or I could just do a daily drawing in my sketchbook.  Any other ideas?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Before we installed our Textiles x Two exhibition, I made a number of small artworks, thinking I would put four of them into a grid pattern for the exhibition.  In the end, I only used one of these new artworks and had some older pieces in a grid pattern instead.

Over the next week or so, I will show you the artworks which ended up being the Lines series.  I posted Lines I here.  Next is Lines II.

Lines II
Fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross
Private Collection 

Lines III
Fabrics hand dyed by artist, fused appliqué, machine stitching
12" x 12"
©2012 Lisa Flowers Ross

I have reopened my Etsy shop and Lines III is available there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Welcome 2013!  Welcome to a new year, a fresh start, hopes for new opportunities and possibilities, joy and health.

I have done my yearly review for 2012 and was slightly disappointed in my studio time.  My goal was to average 15-20 hours per week (based on 48 weeks).  I only averaged 12.4 hours a week. However, I still created 45 new artworks - 11 medium to large and the rest were smaller pieces.

For the last few years I haven't hit my studio time goal.  I think the reason may be that I do not have set hours/days to work on my art.  I fit it in whenever.  Sometimes I work in the morning, sometimes at night.  I feel like if I'm going to meet my 15-20 hour goal, then I might need to schedule specific times to do artwork.  I might try that and see how it goes.  Or do I even need to aim for a certain amount of time?  I think I do to keep me accountable.

The time I spent on the business side of my art averaged out to 4.8 hours a week.  My goal was 3-5 hours a week.  So I did put more time into the business of art.  I met all the marketing goals I had written down and about half of all the other various goals.  That seems about normal.

I am disappointed that I didn't get some systems/habits going, like updating my artwork inventory monthly instead of at the end of the year or whenever I get around to it.  Maybe I need to schedule times for these things, too.

The biggest surprise was that I went on 53 "art dates" this year.  An art date, in my definition, is when I go to an art reception, a performance, a museum, an art workshop, visit someone's studio, get together with another artist, etc.  In other words, going to other art events.  So I averaged slightly over one art date a week last year.  That's great, but may be why I didn't spend more time working on my own artwork.

I was happy that my artwork was in 9 different exhibitions last year, one of which was a solo exhibition and one two-person exhibition. I had no goals written down related to this.

Now, I have set some new goals for 2013.  Many were just transferred over from last year.  Some are new.  I'm sure there are too many (which is why only about half get done), but it gives me some direction and something to aim for.

Do you believe in setting goals at the beginning of the year?