Friday, March 30, 2012

Plaster Sculpture - Student Work

This is an Intermediate 3-d assignment that just keeps getting better every year.  You can click on Plaster Sculptures on the right side bar to see examples from the past couple of years.  These pieces above belong to the entire group, but I want you to see some close ups too.
This first one is the work of junior Kevin Tang.  I've been working with Kev since the 7th grade and he is highly creative in all his art works.  You can see he has worked to a theme of "Love, Hate and Broken Dreams".

This next one above was made by senior Pauline Yang.  I asked the kids to try to bring in some expressive quality into their work, and I feel that Pauline was very successful at this.  The kids were also supposed to mount their sculptures on a wooden base.  I really  like how besides the paint staining, Pauline also chose to do some wood burning as a decorative surface design.
Below Ingrid Huang has done a wonderful job as well with the assignment.  I really like the arm on the hip so that she has a pierced area.  This is very difficult to do in plaster without it breaking.

9th grader Karisma Dev has gone all out with her piece by drizzling paint over top the plaster, staining her wood in a very cool stripped pattern, and then stacking other pieces of wood so that they spiral around the figure.  Brilliant design and tremendous effort!!

Here is senior Andrea De Leon carving away her plaster.  I have the kids mix the wet plaster and pour the liquid into an empty milk carton container.  They are allowed to swirl acrylic paint into the liquid plaster to get a marbelized efffect before the plaster dryes, or they can do more then swirl it, they can completely mix it into the plaster so it becomes a solid color.  Most of the kids choose to swirl.
One of my favorites was done by senior Elsie Aguilar.  First off, I love her abstracted figure form with that tiny waist and the large hips, so Rubenesque.  And then the way she mounted it on a staircase, what great presentation with the added silk flowers and collaged text on the backside.  What a treat!
Senior Johanna Paz did the stunning sculpture above.  I really like how she off-centered it and also included a bit of wood burning in her mount.  Of course the glass shards add to the drama and interest.
This next one above was created by junior Nida Fatima.  What a gentle, loving piece Nida, just like you.  I really like that lovely shade of turquoise you chose for your wood block, and then bringing in the glass shards in the same tones.  Well done.
Below we have senior Borah Lim's very expressive work.  Love the unusal angle she mounted it at, and also the color of her wood mount.  Wonderful work kiddo.
This last piece was done by junior Rita Labib.  We've seen so many of her works this year.  This piece is another great example of the creativity this young woman brings to me on a daily basis.  One day Rita asked me if she could try laying down a large pool of elmer's glue on a piece of parchmant paper to see how it would dry.  Then she thought,, what would happen if she swirled acrylic paint in it before it dried.  Well, she ended up with this slightly thick plastic piece of coolness.  I asked her what she was going to do with it, and she said she wasn't sure yet.  During the mounting of her plaster figure, she figured it out.  She cut it up and used it for the tail fin on her sculpture.  Who knew??

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oil Pastel Landscape - Student Work

Now that junior Cindy Kim is the Lone Ranger in the 3rd year 2-d class, (Sam transferred to Gahr High), she is really able to focus on her art and recently she turned in this breathtaking landscape done in oil pastel.  cindy learned how to use the pastels in my Beginning 2-d class, and then used them again last year in the 2nd level class.  I'm so proud of you Cind; you've nailed your style.  You are working so hard and producing such beautiful pieces. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trash into Treasure - Student Work

It's funny how something destined for the trash bin could turn into a work of art.  This is senior Jaimee Chirico's paper palette that she used to put her acrylic paint onto as she was executing her most recent piece. Acrylic is really a polymer medium (plastic) and dries very quickly before you are able to use it all up.  So she has layers and layers of paint on this thin little sheet.  One day I noticed it in her cubby and asked her what she was going to do with it.  She said probably just throw it away.  So I suggested that she mount it on a small canvas frame, and wella, a work of art is born!  When you view it from a distance it actually looks a bit like an abstracted heart.  Very cool Jaimee.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coil Inlay Trivets - Student Work

Before I have my Ceramics I students make a large Coil Pot I have them ease into it slowly with a Coil Inlay Trivet first to get the hang of rolling out those pesky coils.  They also get their first real lesson in carving in this piece so they will be able to inlay glass shards to melt during the glaze firing.  This assignment is really fun and you usually end up with some very nice work.

Senior Priya Shah's sun motif is a great example of what you can achieve with this technique.  And senior Opal Patel is right there with her in the fish below. 

This year I required them to bring in some textural elements around the format edging.  That element really makes the piece pop above, done by senior Lorena Morales.
Below is senior Kelsey Chang's extra credit piece that she made after she was done with this assignment.  She thought to bring in piercing with the coil inlay.  Oh, oh, oh, what a great idea for next year Kelsey, thanks!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liebster Award from Jen Clair at Bayou Quilts


A big Thank You to Jen Clair from Bayou Quilts ( who has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I'm so excited you found my blog and liked it enough to give me this award.

Christie Carter, fiber artist and photographer from Lopez Island, Washington, talks about the"Liebster Award" that she received and about her grandmother who taught her to sew.  Above are her grandmother's needles that I found on her blog (
This is how the Liebster Award works: (copied from her blog)

The 'Liebster Blog Award' is of German origin, too...liebster  translates to 'dearest' or 'beloved, but it can also mean 'favorite.'  My grandmother used to call me by that name in my not-so-frequent moments of good behavior (I was a bit of a sassy handful).  A timely coincidence, yes, in my time of a full heart!  Thank you, Penny, I am honored.

So here's what it is: in the spirit of fostering new connections, the idea of the Liebster Award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers.  Just a few rules for the recipient which come with acceptance of the award:

Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
Copy & paste the award onto your blog.
Reveal your own five picks for the award & let them know by leaving them a comment on their blog.
Have faith that the love will spread...

  There is no obligation should any of you not wish to participate...simply know that you are very much appreciated out there in the blogging world ~

 According to the rules, I now pick 5 blogs under 200 followers to give the Liebster award to.   No problem, since there are so many outstanding art blogs out there to choose from  :)

                                          My 5 top pickes are:

*Lori Lawson at in San Juan Capistrano, Ca., owner of Capistrano Fiber Arts and my good friend and mentor.  She is a self-taught fiber artist who quit her law practice to do fibers full time.  She is a spinner, knitter, weaver and dyer extrodinarie.  Be sure to check out her etsy shop to see her lovely work and fibers for sale.
*Deborah Lacativa at in L'ville, Ga. whose blog I just discovered 2 weeks ago.  She hand dyes all her fibers and then handstitches them into exquisite works of art.  You can also visit her website at  I adore her small art quilt works and am saving up for one  :)
*Lucy from Attic 24 at in Yorkshire England.  I love strolling thru her blog, her life is full of color and she brings it into her crochet work, her decorating, her baking and her gardening.  She lives in a 100 year old Victorian home and the views from her attic window are spectacular, showing us all the seasons as they are changing thruout the year.
*Susan Fletcher Conaway at a fiber and craft artist as well as a nature photographer.  Her handstitching is incredible and her hand dyed fibers, so lovely.  I just found her blog 2 days ago and I can't wait to read all her posts and admire her art quilts.
*Cindy at in Seattle, Wa.  Her title on her blog is "Adventures with Fiber and Life".  Cindy is a knitter, handstitcher and nature photographer, and I just found her 3 days ago and was delighted with the work on her blog.  Like Susan, I just can't wait to sit down and go thru her whole blog.  She's also very funny and I like her writing style.  But I can't find an e-mail address for her to tell her I'm nominating her for the Liebster Award, so if anyone out there has it could you please pass it on to me.  Thanks!

I hope all you fiber artisits out there enjoy these women and their blogs as much as I do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shapes of Shadows Portraits with Mixed Media- Student Work

These works by my 2nd level 2-D kids always turn out great and I'm thrilled to show them off.  Our model this year was junior Marison Arcilla who is a beautiful young woman with long flowing hair.  We closed the lights in the room and set Marison up under a spotlight to showcase the shapes of the shadows on her face.  Then the students sat very close and were allowed to only draw the shapes of the shadows they saw, nothing else.  This is very difficult because they are used to drawing with line not with shapes.

The spectacular piece above was done by my mega talented senior, who just recently heard she was accepted to Otis Art Institute in L.A., Michelle Lee.  Incredible work, right??   Besides the india ink, Michelle brought in watercolor, acrylic, and felt tip markers into her piece.
Once the shapes are drawn the kids all fill them in with a brush and india ink.  Then they get wiggy, and are required to bring in additional media.  This is where the fun begins.

And speaking of fun, this next stunning piece was completed by gifted senior Jessica Liu.  Because each of the students sat and drew from a different spot, we have Marison in several points of view.  We are seeing profiles, 3/4 and frontal views of her.  What I love about this piece (so many things) is how she let the birds fly outside her border edges, and how she backed them with aluminum foil, who would have thought?  She has also brought in watercolor and tissue collage.  What a treat this piece is for the senses.

Another brilliant senior artist, Michael Chen, has totally worked outside his usual comfort zone (fighting, military subjects), and done a very lovely & peaceful composition for a change  :) in the work above.  I believe Mr. Z already has dibs on this one to purchase it from Michael at Open House.  Michael has brought in a lot of paper collage.

Below is senior Crislyn Ogawa, another of my very talented art majors.  We've seen many of her works this year, and in each one she manages to convey a sense of isolation and thoughtfulness within her subjects and their locations and backgrounds.  Love the monochromatic color scheme, and the drips and splatters.

Above senior Sarah Zhang, who has improved by leaps and bounds this year, and gaining confidence with each assignment, did this cool piece above.  She brought in both watercolor and paper collage.
And junior Laura Kadi, below, who came back to me after a 4 year absence, is also making great strides in her art work.  Just look at her lovely, sensitive piece below.   

Monday, March 19, 2012

More With Cindy and Sam

Here are 2 more pieces by my third year 2-D gals, juniors Cindy Kim and Sam Arias.

Their assignment was to first learn how to work with acrylic paint on a preliminary piece, try out lots of different techniques until they find their working style. Afterwards they were to design a composition with words, to cover the entire surface with at least 60% text, and then to paint the piece in with as much value range as possible in both the text and the background.  I think it's interesting how both girls chose to use a similar color scheme, but the two pieces couldn't be any more different in content.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Watercolor Flowers with Collage and Ink

Aren't these lovely?  They belong to juniors Sam Arias and Cindy Kim who are the only 2 kids in level 3 or Advanced 2-D Art.  They were completed quite a while ago but I'm just now getting around to posting them.

The assignment was to draw a flower from real life or from a photo and to enlarge it onto the paper.  Then they had a choose whether to lay down their collage papers before or after watercoloring or both.  And after watercoloring to bring in a bit of pen and ink for emphasis.  The hardest part was to work to such a large scale.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sorry Eddie, I Couldn't Resist LOL

Sometimes the kids finish early on their assignments, or they come in during their free period and they ask to crash on my red sofa in the art lounge.  Here's junior Eddie Ponce sleeping like a baby the other day.  He didn't even wake up when I took his pix, he was out cold.  What do mommies say about their babies that are a handful, they are so sweet when they are asleep.    

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Liberated Quiltmaking - My Finished Pieces

When I went looking thru my archives for finished liberated pieces,  I realized that I had given many away as gifts without photographing them...stupid!  So anyways, these are the two I was able to find.  I've been teaching the Liberated Method since I took the class with Gwen Marston in 1987ish.  So there should be one from every year till the present.  Oh well.

The piece above was my first liberated piece started in Gwen's workshop.  It was there that I was introduced to my very 1st Singer Featherweight.  I now own 4 and let my students use them when I don't have enough crummy machines to go around.  Anyways, I still love the piece above, I have such joyful memories of Gwen , her fun teaching style, and the incredible pieces she got from the workshop participants during the making of this work.  If you look close there is a whimsical little outhouse in the upper right corner, another house in the middle with a dutch door with a fussy cut girl looking out, and I also really like how the black and white checker fabric makes the whole piece pop as well as unifying it. 
The piece above I named Hula Hut and I believe I made it in the summer of 1988 after returning from a trip to Hawaii with my kids and the ex.  This piece is completely hand quilted with lots of colorful buttons tied throughout.  I'm pretty sure it's the only liberated piece I've made that wasn't in the primary color family.  Boy, when I step out of that colorway, I really step BIG!  LOL  (See post below)

Liberated Quiltmaking - My Unfinished Pieces

Yesterday in my post I mentioned that I also make a liberated quilt right alongside my students, so I can demo. on my own work and try to stay one day ahead of the kids.  Well I usually manage to stay ahead of them until the ending which is during the machine quilting phase.  It's here that I drop the ball.  So in my studio I have many unfinished pieces.  So here are a few:

The work above was the one from this school year and I really like how it worked played out in the designing phase.
This is the unfinished quilt from the 2010-2011 school year.  I always seem to be able to get myself to the pin basting step and then I fizzle out.  I like the fussy cut bird in the star's center below.  The last 2 years I seem to be elongating my designs for table toppers.
The work above was done for the 2008-2009 school year.  I was able to pick a really fun fabric bag that had a whimsical cotton print with doctors and nurses all over it.  
And this one was from 2001-2002 school year, and one of my favorites with all the kitties I fussy cut and appliqued down onto the pieced top.  It's funny, as I look back at all of these now, it seems I have a major tendency to pick bags that are mostly primary colors with black and white neutrals.  But if you were to ask me what my favorite colors are they are none of the above.  My favorite colors are in the blue-violet, magenta and turquoise families.  Weird isn't it?  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Liberated Quilts - Student Work

These quilts represent the culmination of our sewing machine unit in the Intermediate 3-D art class.  For many of these kids it was their first time to use the sewing machine, and just look at their work!  We spent the whole 2nd quarter learning to sew and making these quilts.  I teach with Gwen Marston's book "Liberated Quiltmaking" after taking her class myself.  It was one of the funnest quilting experiences I ever had, and so liberating too because there were no patterns to trace and cut around, just grab a rotary cutter and scissors and go!  And no two quilts turn out the same.

I'm crazy about senior Borah Lim's quilt above.  She picked a great bag of fabric during the lottery, and she made magic happen with it.  What Borah also did was accidentally cut thru most of the top after she was done piecing with the rotary cutter, when she was cutting a piece of fabric for her back side.  So the large cross running thru entire piece was put in to piece cut back together again.  Great save Borah!! 
Below we have very creative thinker, senior Noel Kim.  What an unusual design she has come up with, but it totally works.  I adore the sweet little log cabins she has appliqued down on the diagonal.   
I lottery off bags of donated fabrics that spend a bit of time color co-ordinating so that the kids don't have to spend too much time dealing with that.  And the students really get into the lottery and take it very seriously.  I also get to grab a fabric bag so I have cottons to demo with, and I try to stay one day ahead of my students.  I really like the quilt I made this year in the liberated technique.  I'll post it tomorrow if I can remember to photo it tonight. LOL
So the kids learn to machine piece, safety pin baste, machine quilt (not free motion till Advanced level), and to put on a binding edge.  They also are responsible for making a label for their backside, and appliqueing it on with an invisible stitch.  They may choose to embellish at the end as Karisma has done above and below with beads, buttons, and other goodies.

And then there is 9th grader Karisma Dev, who always thinks outside the box for every project and comes up with a unique idea.  Karisma's piece was, I believe, the largest piece in the class, it had the most parts to piece together, and she spent hours working on it at home besides at school.  It was totally worth  it kiddo.  I'm so proud of you!

They learn about the Log Cabin design above.

What a beautiful bag of fabrics senior Andrea De Leon picked to build her quilt with above, very rich and full of autumn flavor.
Senior Johonna Paz picked a bag with her signature colors, peaches and pinks with a bit of green.  Look closely at her fussy cut heart in the center.  Johanna's piece was also very large and required a lot of effort to piece all those parts together.
 Making a heart with diagonals above.
About putting your piece on the diagonal for display.

Junior Kevin Tang picked a very jazzy bag of fabrics for his piece above.  Kevin wants to go into the fashion industry, and he's got a great head start here learning how to sew and design.  
The Flying Geese design above along with a Star and Log Cabin.

Junior Joyce Le has built another beauty above and below.  I especially love her label on her backside below.
How to make labels and applique them down.

And senior Elsie Aguilar's label below is precious with it's bird house and duck postage stamp.  Clever girl Elsie!

Strip piecing.

Junior Nida Fatima choose a Xmas bag of fabrics and made this wonderful house themed piece.  She also took the time to add button embellishments.
And about solutions to covering up seams that are popping open after we machine wash these puppies.

Love, love , love junior Rita Labib's colorful quilt and her unusual embellishments.  Rita ended up not liking her piece but I feel it's one of the best designs.  It calls to me Rita!   It's a crazy, happy piece, like me  LOL 
It's actually worth points to these kids if the quilt can make it thru one machine washing.  Cause it's all about craftsmanship, right Rita???  LOL  Love you

And we will finish off with senior Erika Roderos and her very pretty quilt.  Click on all the images for a closer look at their machine quilting.  All of them came up with great design ideas.
Stitchers of the world, I hope you enjoy these works from my very talented young ones.

For EXTRA CREDIT, make a mini quilt with colorful pieces of papers.  Cut out shapes and glue them onto a foundation.  You can pick one of the patterns from above or make up your own quilt design.  The more elaborate you make it the more points you will get.  You will have 2 days to do this in so you can give it to me Wed. the 14th or Thurs the 15th of March.  Put your name and period on the back side and name which quilt artist's piece you liked the best.