Monday, July 30, 2007

More from the Gerry Chase workshop

One of the big breakthroughs I had in this workshop was around drawing and painting. Like a lot of folks, I don't have any confidence about drawing and painting and tend to avoid it.

When we started on Friday with our tjantings and flowy ink, and Gerry reminded us that we weren't to try to make anything attractive but just to be spontaneous and have fun, that really liberated me. I figure I can make unattractive stuff as well as the next person! So away I went.

My first pieces had big swoops of line and splodges of paint and those are now torn up, waiting to be put into artful compositions.

I kept squiggling and splodging paint and having tons of fun.

I had fun experimenting with drawing onto wet fabric, which resulted in a sort of eerie, streaky effect.

Then I started working on how to control the quality of the line I could get with the tjanting, and how to wash paint over the drawing while retaining a clear line. MORE fun.

I loved using the tjanting so much that I started drawing fat-quarter-sized pieces of all over patterns, which will be fun to cut up and use for something...

On this viney one, I loved how the greens I mixed separated into the water wash to make a yellow halo. What a lovely accident!

And by the end of this, the piece of muslin stretched under my painting surface took on a very artful look too. (Many people in the room exclaimed how much we liked our muslin under-surfaces almost better than the actual paintings we did!)

I can't wait to start playing with this fun fabric....but I have returned to an inbox full of real-life work, not to mention a family I've barely seen for 3 days. Ah well, this will be waiting when I come back to it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Gerry Chase

It's been a wonderful three days with Gerry Chase, and everyone in the class did really impressive work.

You'll remember from the last post that we experimented with painting using acrylic paints and loose, spontaneous line drawing with the tjanting. Some of us (including me) were having such fun with this that this is what we did most of the time.

Here's Judy, working on another one of her pieces today:

Then, Gerry suggested that we tear the pieces up pretty randomly, with attention to the scale of the gestures and shapes on the painted piece. The idea was not to fussy cut interesting areas from the pieces, but to just tear into squares and then look for the accidental amazing compositions.

Here's Diana, comtemplating hers:

Then the task was to start using the pieces in compositions. Gerry suggested thinking about the relationships between pieces ... how they interact with what they will go next to.

Here's one of Diana's compositions (you can look at her squares above and see how she's used a few of them here):

I love what Holly started here :

But look how she separated the pieces a bit later in the day, which changed the relationships a lot (and for the better, we all agreed):

Marjorie set up three striking, simple compositions:

But Marian jumped right into fearless piecing, with gorgeous results:

Juanita worked for a long time with various compositions, and then at the end of the day managed to combine several of her drawings together in a really striking way:

Pam just loved one big section of one of her paintings, so she found some amazing background fabric and is working on framing it:

All in all, it was really fun and I feel like I took a few huge leaps conceptually. I came away with one tiny composition (I just wasn't in the mood to compose and don't generally do that well in a group setting) so I focussed on painting a lot of interesting components for future use.

By the way, if you're inclined to try a tjanting, order the "Better tjanting" made from copper from Dharma Trading for $4.95 as opposed to the cheaper one. We all tried them both and unanimously agreed that the copper ones were vastly superior, easier to use, and gave a much better line.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Gerry Chase, Day 1

Oh, it was a fun day.

We started the class with Gerry Chase by watching her demonstrate a few techniques for applying liquid acrylic paint to fabric. Here's Gerry, demonstrating how to fix a tjanting that leaks.

A tjanting (pronounced "jaunting") is the tool traditionally used for applying wax for batik. Gerry uses them for applying acrylic paints and inks, and they're fun because the paint flows pretty fast through them and it forces you to work fast and freely.

Here's what they look like. You can buy them at Dharma Trading and other places that sell dyes and fabric paints and batik supplies.

Our goal today was -- as Gerry said emphatically -- NOT to create anything beautiful. We were just to work spontaneously and freely and experiment with the ink and paints to see what they did. Letting go of the "I have to make something attractive" concept was quite liberating.

Here's my friend and table-mate Marjorie preparing her fabric.

Maureen is loading plastic syringe in this picture, getting ready to load the tjanting or just squirt the paint onto the fabric. When I said spontaneous and free, I meant it.

Here, Judy's been applying paint over some fun doodly drawing she did with black paint in the tjanting.

And you can just tell that Pam is having fun here with this gorgeous fabric. See that orange paint-filled bowl she's holding? Just after I snapped this picture, she whacked the bowl down on the fabric to start making orange circles on the fabric. Very cool.

More similar fun tomorrow, and at some point we will start tearing and cutting up our fabric to assemble into art.

Meanwhile, I've got to go clean the paint spatters off my glasses. This is not a tidy process, at least the way I do it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fun, fun, fun

Tomorrow I start a 3-day workshop with a quilt artist whose work I love, Gerry Chase. Here's one of her cool quilts here:

We'll be painting fabric at first, and then assembing quilts with what we've painted. And, armed with my supply list, I set off to my favorite art supply to gather a few appropriately stiff brushes and other goodies.

There, I met up with my buddy Rita for fun and a yummy deli lunch. I had a wonderful sandwich... ham and colelaw on sourdough bread. The coleslaw tasted particularly delicious -- and different -- ON the sandwich as opposed to along side.

From there, we hit a fabulous used book store, Treehorn Books in Santa Rosa.

I feel virtuous buying used books, and found some great treats including a book of horse stories for Caroline and a book filled with gorgeous photographs of leaves and pods. Then we went around the block to check out a new mystery/sci-fi bookstore and I came away with a few used Dick Francis novels I've not yet read. Score!

Then, of course, we needed sustenance so we ventured over to Peet's Coffee to try one of their Scharfenberger chocolate caramel "freddos."

Yep, it tasted as good as it looked.

Now I'm gathering supplies and headed off to rest up for a big day of fabric painting. And I'm going to take my camera and hopefully I'll remember to get it out and take pictures!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Great Mail

Coming home from vacation can seem like a bit of a let-down, even while it's also enjoyable to return to one's own home and bed and happy pets. But the post-vacation depression can be greatly diminished by finding some fun goodies in the mail when you return.

Look what was waiting for me!

Doesn't this look luscious? This book has great tips for getting really beautiful results from scrunching fabric on flat surfaces. You can order it from Jane Dunnewold's Artcloth store, here. I can't wait to experiment with these techniques.

And because I've been experimenting on the quilting frame, I ordered these from fellow Artful Quilter Patsy Thompson:

I've watched Volume 1 so far, and it has great machine quilting tips. This has great tips for new machine quilters, as well as some great hints for developing your own quilting designs for experienced quilters.

And then there's the etch-a-sketch present for Roger:

As soon as he opened it and skimmed through it, he made Pomegranate margaritas for us. Delish.

I guess the lesson here is that it's a good idea to do a bit of online shopping before vacation, eh?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The week in pictures

We have just returned from

where we had a lovely, relaxing week with family.
We went here almost every day ...

where we did a lot of sitting, chatting, floating ...

and just gazing at the scenery.

In the late afternoon, we returned to the house, where the womenfolk changed into these pjs (thanks to

(If you don't know me, I look exactly like this and I tend to stand around in this very pose a lot. Ahem.)

The men wore these:

(Yep, even slightly mortified teenager Sam, good sport that he is.)
So we lounged and drank these

and did more relaxing and chatting and laughing.

I did a whole lot of reading, on the beach,

on the deck, on the couch... where ever I could.

I read this

(Thanks, Deb, I LOVED it)... and this

and this
(very enjoyable British chick lit) and this

(another good book about books and readers), as well as this

and this.

My sister-in-law Diane gave me a new book of these

as she is addicted herself, so we sat around working on them at times, too.
I also found some time to listen to music on this

and I even caught up on a few episodes of this I'd not seen...

... thanks to the wonder of Itunes and the ability to download tv shows. (Why, oh why, was this show cancelled???)

We ate delicious food, including our favorite appetizer at our favorite restaurant, Sunnyside --

(that's fried zucchini, and I figure it's a vegetable so the fried part doesn't count as bad.)

After dinner we played games... this,

and this

and did a lot of laughing. I love playing family games.

I was voted the most cool mom because I have my own Nintendo DS

so I could play with Caroline and her cousin Dash. Mostly, we played this

which is another surprisingly fun little game.

I slept out on the deck in one of these

which became so popular that I was joined by various family members on various nights, all happy to listen to the quiet and gaze at the stars and breathe the pine-scented Tahoe air.

Perhaps not unrelated, I was having a strange shoulder problem which my acupuncturist sister-in-law Doreen treated

so at times I sat around feeling like this.

But it totally fixed my shoulder (which I think was a back-muscle thing) and I'm fine!

Before we headed home, we drove the 40 minutes to here for a few days of fun.

We stayed at the Silver Legacy, here --

and did a bit of playing on these.

It was fun and silly and REALLY REALLY LOUD., we didn't win this. But we kept hoping.

We drove home, stopping at our usual lunch stop here

for these.

So, now we're home, and it's back to work...

and household chores ...

and this.

But we're rested and happy.