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Saturday, June 18, 2022

A LONG POST!

Google tells me that there are several problems with my Blog, but honestly, I don't quite understand - they tell me that the font is too small but I usually choose medium.  Anyway so much to cover that this will be long.

Anyway, since it has been a while since I posted, it's a good record to post on here so I thought I'd post a few pictures of what I've been up to lately.  

I'm sort of in a dither because our new location of The Maye River Gallery is going to open in September in a beautiful new location on the same Calhoun Street but down a bit closer to the river across from the Montessori school, and during the nice weather I confess I wanted to be outside and spent a bit of time experimenting and doing botanic printing.

At the same time, I was asked to help with a project for our Savannah Fiber Guild's 50th Anniversary celebrations so have been collaborating on that as well.  It is going to be such a special catered party that we are all excited about and everyone is putting in so much effort for it to be a success.  I'll post more about that as we go along but my part is creating a flower display - felted, stitched and other ideas that are going to be beautifully displayed on a botanically printed swag using a large moveable frame

  Since we moved, my new dye space is in a tent and it has taken quite a bit of time for me to get organized because there are no shelves but I think I'm finally able to find things fairly quickly.  I enjoy natural dyeing as well as synthetic dyeing and as you can imagine there is a lot that is needed - a myriad of dyes - chemicals, measuring devices, scale, pots (lots of them) including an electric turkey roaster, and a fish poacher that sits on 2 electric plates.  Additionally, there are lots of wrapping rods and fabric to use for blankets (covering botanical prints to steam).  I read a great tip on my FB group to use a large toolbox on a propane stove for larger pieces and my husband fit a way for me to load the pole for steaming - I have tried it and it really works well (my husband had to modify it so the steam wouldn't burn me) but have yet to try really large pieces.  It will be given a test when I print the large piece for our guild's party in November.  The weather will have cooled down by then.

One of the things I had neglected to do earlier was make up some synthetic dye and dye a small piece to identify the exact color on the lid - this is only the beginning but it's an amazing help since I can see the shade without testing each one - there are so many shades of just blues!

Now I need to get felting so that I will have enough supply for our new gallery!  Before we moved, I had dyed a piece of silk that I fell in love with and had made a couple of smaller companion pieces in the same colorway.  I didn't know what I'd do with them so kept them to just look at it until I decided.  I wanted something that would work without cutting into the design too much.  I love the challenge of using all of the cutoffs and I did just that by using them for the edges of sleeves, lapels and front.  The companion pieces were used for the lining and, of course, I needed to add more in the appropriate colors.  I posted these pictures a while back on FB but didn't include the lining which is quite interesting.

Lining - silk organza, habotai, silk fiber and cotton.





Another piece of hand-dyed silk was created into a windowpane scarf


Alas, there is so much more, but that will have to wait for another day!



Thursday, November 04, 2021

A WILD RIDE!

A WILD RIDE & MORE!

EXCITING NEWS!  I was recently interviewed for 3 1/2 hours by a writer for the magazine 'LOCAL culture'  The article will appear in their December issue.  Carolyn, who works for LOCAL found my work in the Maye River Gallery and became enthralled with my felt-making.  This magazine is top quality and is based in Hilton Head and distributed all over the low country. I am extremely fortunate and appreciative to be included in such a top-quality publication.

Oh, it's been a wonderful wild ride, moving from Habersham to Harbor Island for three months and then our little dream carriage house that is everything we want and need.  We were supposed to stay there until January, but I wasn't paying attention and tripped and ended up with a broken left kneecap and a broken bone in my right hand a few days before Christmas - so that was the end of the beach as there were stairs leading up to the elevator that made it difficult to manage.  Jenni and Dean to the rescue once again and we ended up in their downstairs master bedroom!  The carriage house wasn't finished yet but by Valentine's Day - we moved in!

Living right adjacent to our youngest daughter and family is so very special with our youngest grandsons so nearby.  The littlest just drops in to spend time with his granddad to show him his experiments - at 7 he is quite the scientist and Win the eldest is so grown up now, so smart, and loves conversations with granddad too!

We are so fortunate to enjoy our family so close.  Our eldest daughter and husband just moved here a few weeks ago and are only a short ride away.  Now we are hoping to see our son and daughter-in-law and the other grands in a few weeks, it has been too long because of the pandemic.

Now that we are pretty much settled, I've been taking a couple of online classes - felted jewelry which was very inspirational and something new for me; in addition, since I love botanical printing, I decided to take a class using the heat press.  With the heat press, there are no guarantees and there is quite the learning curve but the possibilities for creativity are endless so that has kept me more than occupied!  In fact, my felt-making has taken a back seat for a while but since it is my first love, getting back to it is quite thrilling. 

STUDIO:  My studio makes it so easy and enjoyable because I can see everything at hand in 'rainbow' form! On the top (which doesn't show in this picture) there are bins of yarns, on the next cubby down there are silks and velvets, everything from hand-dyed to hand-dyed (by me), and on the bottom cubby is the wool (and if course, there is more wool and silk in the adjacent drawers.  It is such a pleasure to see it all at once without having to get it out of the attic.  On the main shelf are a few of my machines - Babylock Embellisher and Imagine serger behind it, and my Brother PQ 1500 for free-motion stitching. Under my table is another Embellisher and my Pfaff 1475 that I just love because I can input text and stitch it out which I used for our grandchildren's baby quilts- it is way beyond even embroidery machines as it doesn't need a hoop.  My embroidery machine, Elegante, is over at Jenni's and I can access it whenever I want to use it.  Then there are a wide variety of white silks, and fine types of cotton folded under the main shelf which is also easily accessed for felting, dyeing, or botanical printing.



FELTING:  I really had a hard time getting my inspiration back but I did just plunge in and make a couple of felted pieces - a vest and a wrap.  Now I need to make many more!




I adored using thrift store finds for my wrap - every time I find something for my collection, it feels like I have found treasure and it makes me think of who had this piece of beautiful silk before it came to me - what a better way to help save the planet by reusing such beauty!

DYEING:  In Habersham, I had a dedicated dye shed that I don't have here; however, I now have a dye tent set up with my stove across the way- no picture yet but I will post one soon! It has tables and space under for all of my tools and chemicals.  I have an outdoor closet for those things that need to be kept dry and out of the elements. I was too busy playing with my heat press to use it yet!  One thing I learned, I had some synthetic dye made up before we moved and they have been in storage - I made the mistake of just shaking the dyes before using but I found out that over time that they got old and didn't realize that they had gotten dregs on the bottom - I ruined some silk which got splotches.  I have already discarded most and need to make up new batches.  Always a learning experience.

FELTED JEWELRY:  During the past few months, I have taken a few online courses, I've not been happy with Vimeo as I  had a difficult time accessing a paid workshop and the instructor wasn't much help so I won't be doing that again; however, I did take a marvelous creative felted jewelry workshop from Deb Koesters - I really enjoyed - Deb was so inspiring!  




Lately, I took Jane Dunnewold's botanical printing workshop this time using the heat press!  Wow is all I can say!  I became so enamored and played every day with a variety of paper and leaves - a whole new learning experience for me.  Leaves that I learned worked with steaming did not necessarily work with the press but flowers were another story!  I loved it so much that I got nothing else done and now have a variety of paper sizes to play with.  Jane's mixed-media approach is fabulous and she delves into spackle, gold leaf, stenciling and the possibilities for enhancement are endless.  To save myself, I had to sell my printer to a dear friend - I felt like I was parting with a favorite family member BUT after the show in early December that I will be part of, I will buy another; it will be a smaller version so I can store it more easily since extra space here is at a premium.  Here are just a few examples with embellishments yet to come. To make things even better, I was invited by Jane to be part of her book!  How exciting is that!  So honored!









Tuesday, March 16, 2021

CARRIAGE HOUSE

Slowly getting it all together.  I have no new work to show at the moment, but I hope to change that very soon.   My studio has not been set up - everything is stored in plastic containers waiting for the built-ins and then . . . . !!!

My muse has been like a butterfly - hibernating but getting ready to burst open!!!  I truly do better with a challenge but all the creative energy has gone into decisions about decorating and how fun that has been.  There are still a few finishes to be done on the outside - the overhang is waiting for its metal roof to be completed next weekend and the decks need to be stained. The amount of light in the house is incredible.  It has been such fun to watch the progress from the ground up - truly a dream come true.  We loved, loved our cottage in Habersham but the yard was quite large and as my husband was getting older, it was time to make a change.  When this idea of a carriage house built next to our daughter and family came up, we jumped at the chance to be close to them and it is not too far from all of our wonderful friends.  It is the perfect solution - it is small but it is just size for us and has a room for my studio - when we are finished with this - a dye shed will be next!  How I miss my dyeing and leaf printing.

The front looks on to Jenni and Dean's courtyard and fire pit.



Our bedroom has two french doors leading out into what will become our bird and butterfly garden!

For the bathroom I used an old silk chiffon shawl that I dearly love but had developed a few holes so it was a perfect candidate for nuno felting the center - it turned out well and I enjoy looking at the soft peach with African violets

My favorite pot!  Purchased for an indoor olive tree. I named her Olivia; she is adjusting to her new space!




The main room with vaulted ceilings and beams (not showing in this shot)



And then - there are the boys!  such a joy to be around them every day and watch them grow!




Sunday, February 28, 2021

VIRUS


Since the virus has descended on us, I have had more time; however, I get less done.  Not sure why other than just thinking about what our new normal is, makes me feel like I am in a dream that we are living in.  Nothing in our lifetime has affected our total way of life like this has and it takes a bit to get used to it.  Especially for folk like me that do well in a challenge or a deadline.  For a while there, having all the time in the world has made me less creative although I was working on a few new things outside in undercover of the overhand in my dye shed.  I do love working out there - it is my happy place for sure.  Surrounded by the fragrance of the garden, smells of the pluff mud when it is low tide, and watching the birds dart in and out give me such pleasure, not to mention "Steve" our resident skink who scurries around from time to time - I scare him as much as he scares me. When I hear the little pitter-patter, I know he (or she???) is around.  This skink is a reptile, - he has a colorful coat at times and a longish tail.  I think he either lives under the shed or in the stone wall we built but even though I would never want to touch him, he is harmless enough and I'm sure joyfully consumes bugs so that is a good thing.

In the meantime, I have decided to withdraw as a member of the Maye River Gallery at least temporarily because of virus safety concerns.  The gracious ladies of the gallery agreed to have me there as a guest so I'm happy for that, as I really admire and appreciate them all.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

LEAFY EXPERIMENTS







This time, it is creating a donation piece for our local community.  We have a very dedicated group of people who give of their time and resources to support a local elementary school and I like to contribute to the annual auction.  While I am not quite ready to share pictures of my donation yet, I have already wet-felted the background of a wallhanging that is quite large. It has lots of texture including luscious curls and pieces of silk that I have either Sumi painted, dyed and or de-gummed.  

I had an accident (won't go into details but suffice it to say, it held me back a bit) and it has taken a while and I am getting back to normal.  I'm forever grateful to the ladies at the Maye River Gallery for their support and understanding - one in particular offered right away to take my place and work for me when I couldn't.    

In the meantime, my Ya-Ya sisters (remember that great movie?) visited - we have been friends for 30+ years and saw that movie together years ago, we shared memories and had some great laughs.  I made them each a fascinator and we had such a great time together reminiscing.  



About a week later, our eldest daughter and her husband came to celebrate her birthday and it was magical indeed but never long enough so there hasn't been a lot of opportunities to work.

Well back to the wall hanging:  I do love details and finding just the right finishing touches is my job this week - since my piece does have some Sumi ink painted silk and was inspired by the Japanese textiles that I love so much, I want it to have lots of interesting things to look at but keep it simple at the same time.  So the theme is nature although I haven't given it a title yet); my love of leaves will come into play once again.  I experimented making skeleton leaves and would have continued today, except I ran out of propane for my outside stove.  But can I say that I'm in love?  oooh nature, nothing is better and I am so amazed that the color and the veins of the real leaves mimic my silk hankie maple leaf that I stitched some time ago - they will be incorporated.  Of course, I had to add just a tiny touch of dazzle.

And of course, I need to mention my teaching trip to Scotland - WOW!!!  Such an exciting time and everyone was so kind to and made every effort to make a memorable time.  My Heart Belongs to Scotland but I do LOVE the USA.  

Thursday, July 18, 2019

BRANCHING OUT

For the last few days, it's been an adventure creating the felt for the Tree of Life wearable art - still not sure what it will become but having fun with the colors and the details; yes I do get lost in the details.  Its best not to rush it, but wet it down, let it dry and wait until the next day to determine what is needed.  At the same time, I want to get to the cutting and sewing so I have to discipline myself to know when to stop!

Branches connecting and leaves added - the tree is on the right.

This is the second piece and I may do another but will have to wait to see how my pattern will fit!  Butterflies, dragonflies, blossoms and lots of silk; even a sequinned and beaded butterfly - anxious to see how that felts up.  I have done it before and the last piece embedded in the wool and made it look like did all the beading.  Ready to felt!!!




Saturday, July 13, 2019

TREE OF LIFE

The inspiration for the next sample is this gorgeous piece of printed silk chiffon and since I love and appreciate trees so much, I decided that the theme for this garment will be named after this 'tree of life.'   I felted a small sample and dyed some silks but since this is only the beginning, who knows where it will take me.  I always love to work with fabric where I can use the front or the back after felting and cutting it up.  My preference is to always begin with a monochromatic palette and then add punches of color so, in that vein, I overdyed several pieces of silk that I had in my stash in greens and turquoise.



This little guy decided to be my helper while I was dyeing outside!  He kept an eye on me to make sure I wasn't shirking although he made me take longer because I loved watching him!


Oh, the greens and turquoise blues!  signifying the people of the world coming together