Saturday, March 30, 2013

Baby Uggs - My Work

I needed a quick and easy baby gift(s) for twins recently, and I knew that Michael's carries the cutest baby uggs that you knit a tube into, so i found mu nicest softest yarns in boy and girl colorways, and off to the races I went.  You simply knit a rectangle then sew the seam up and sew the tube into the tape around the inside cuff of the shoe.  Easy, breezy and adorable.
And not hours and hours of work that I usually spend on baby gifts.
Needless to say they were a big hit at the baby shower.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Oil Pastel Land/Urbanscape - Student Work

This year senior Laura Kadi is my sole Advanced 2-D student.  She is in a class with my Beginning and Intermediate 2-D young ones, and oftentimes has to fend for herself as I am so occupied with my other two groups.  Thankfully Laura is self-motivated and needs no push to work her pieces out. She has been my art student since her 7th grade year and is a pleasure to work with. 

For this assignment Laura had to find a great resource to work from; the subject, a land or urbanscape.  Laura found this colorful photograph and decided to split her subject into 3 horizontal bands, just for something different.  She was inspired by local collage art student Andrea Ruygt's piece below.

Laura was required to work to a larger scale then she was used to 18" by 24"  in oil pastel.  This is her second attempt at oil pastel, her first was 6 years ago in her 7th grade year in my Beginning 2-D class.l
Last school year she choose water based pastel over oil when she did her Frontal Fracture portrait below of Marilyn Monroe.
 I'm so very pleased with the intensity and richness of her colors in her landscape .  Many kids want to smear the pastel to blend their values but just end up making their pieces look muddy.  I'm so glad Laura resisted this.  Your can see her stroke marks and I find that very textural and appealing.  I'm also very proud to announce that Laura has decided upon a major in Art History.  I'm hoping she will combine her studio skills with her historical knowledge and perhaps go into art restoration.  She has the patience of a saint and that will take her far in that field.  Good luck sweet girl, I love you!  

Stitch Paper Quilts - Student Work

This assignment is in it's 4th year and still going strong with my Advanced 3-D students, Nida, Kevin and Rita.  We are working from textile artist Kellie Nina Perkins book "Stitch Alchemy" where she shows us how to combine fiber and paper with watered down white glue.

The kids had a ball creating their colorways for their pieces.  They brought in stamping, acrylics, collage, machine stitching and so much more to each of their papers.  They drew a design to scale and used it as their template, then cut out all their pieces and machine stitched them down to their base piece.  then added embellishments and free motion quilting.  The end results were terrific!

This first one was made by senior Nida Fatima.  Love her whimsical design with it's sense of movement and rhythm.     
Here are a few close-ups of all the detail in her papers as well as her stitching.
The back of her piece with tabs for hanging device.

In this next one senior Kevin Tang has outdone himself with this lovely portrait.  
He has put countless hours into his free motion embellishment, and I love the papers he has chosen to use for his binding, recycled wrappers.
I am so proud of you Kevin, your artwork is growing by leaps and bounds this year.
His backside.

Lastly, senior Rita Labib changed up her design so many times I lost track.  But what she finally settled on was dramatic and powerful, a real show-stopper.
Rita carries around with her this huge bag of collage papers and fabrics she has collected that have special meanings to her.  It's big and disorganized but she patiently finds and pulls out just the perfect image or texture for each area of her design. 
Rita's signature style these days is a multi-layered effect in which she enjoys combining wire, hardware, paper, stitch and fabric.  Brilliant Work kiddo!
Notice her hanging device, twisted rebar from Home Depot.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fiber Artist Grace Forrest

I want to share the textile work of Grace Forrest, a woman who inspires me on a daily basis with her lifestyle in New Mexico;  her goats, her yard, the wind that blows thru, and her art.  

Grace calls this piece below "Luring Crows", and she graciously decided to part with it so that I could enjoy and display it in my home.  

From the moment I watched her begin this piece on her blog,  it was love at first site.  The colors of the natural dyes on the cloth, the textures, the stitching and finally the girl calling to the crows.  I used to call to the crows myself when I was a youngster, then later again as a young adult (they are such spiritual birds).    I asked Grace if her piece was for sale and she said she needed 6 bales of hay for it or the price of the bales  LOL  "Sold I said!"  
It lives at our home now, and hangs to my right as I write this post.  It is such a feel good piece to me.  I love glazing at it from afar as well as close-up.  Thank you again Grace for sending it my way.

I hope Grace, you don't mind, me sharing your intriguing story about how you packed the quilt and sent it to me, and what happened as you did.  Perhaps I should ask you first, I don't know, since you posted it on your blog,  I'm assuming it might be alright.  Well here goes...

"i wasn't going to say anything about this.
but then, as time goes on, it feels like i am dishonoring something.  This is the cloth and the stick that i sent to Debra in California....Luring Crows.  i packaged it in a very LARGE cardboard folder, much larger than the cloth, to accommodate the stick.  it was more than 2ft square.  all kinds of feelings and thoughts were present when i was taping the stick down, wrapping the cloth in tissue.  making it secure.  all kinds of thoughts and feelings about exchanging this THING for money.  a LOT.   and in it i enclosed a short note to her telling her about what that meant to me...luring crows.
how there are crows that go overhead and have recently swooped low, seeming to be interested in the arrival of the Goats, seeming to be, just more Willing to look down.  and how i call them.  how i hang laundry on the clothes line almost for them,  how i wave and yell to them  if they are high.  and what it is i just that they might come here, for just a  moment  to light on the dead branches of the big Russian Olive, or on the fence, fence post.  Just that.  that it would be enough.
so, i put this note in with the cloth and stick and there is a great Wind doing what it does out there and i go out, to go to the post office to send this and as i am unlatching the gate, i for whatever reason, look to my right and then
and there,  There on the top branch of the Russian Olive is
a crow.
a crow.
i stand there and see it.  i watch it seeing me.  seconds pass and then in a kind of slow motion, it's wings raise just barely and extend, just barely and Wind lifts it up and sails it off to the right, up and in the current....the crow making no effort at all and it is gone from my sight.
i stood there.  hanging on to the cardboard envelope.  not knowing what to do.  feeling like i should fall to the ground or something, i  should DO something.
but what i did is to continue through the gate and latch it closed and get into the car and head off for the Post Office.  staring straight ahead.  continuing.  and i mailed it.  and now it's a couple days later and i think as i did in that moment driving down the road,  that That's also probably like how it is even when we are dying.  When we somehow know we are about to exhale for the last time.  and we
we Just Go.  
and i wasn't going to write this here.  it seems so improbable.  so surreal.   But it happened. 
it was no more, but no less."
A few close-ups of the delightful detail that Grace has stitched into her work.
The girl...
 the crows...
and a tiny personal favorite, this wonderful mark that she has stitched into the cloth.  I wonder?  Does she always stitch this mark into all her pieces, kind of like her signature mark?  I like to think it is just for the crows.  I'll have to ask.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sneak Peek at My Work

Just one of the be-zillion projects I've got going right now, a Retirement Wall Quilt for our beloved Secretary Kay.  She has been at Whitney longer then me.  When I walked in the door 33 years ago she was the first person who greeted and welcomed me.  I had all the faculty and staff sign a white piece of cotton that I will be incorporating into the piece, but shush, don't tell  :)  
This has also been my demo quilt for my Intermediate 3-D kids.  The only thing is, they finished before me.  LOL  Those quilts will be posted soon.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shibori Inquires

I received a couple of inquires from art teachers wanting to try Shibori in their classrooms so I thought I'd give a bit more explanation.

On the sampler above I showed the kids several different types of Shibori stitches.  So each student was given a cotton cloth to practice them on.  I bought extremely strong thread in a bright color so it wouldn't break and would be able to be seen after the dye process.
The piece above on the right shows all the stitching that went into the sampler, and the one on the left is after I dipped it in water and pulled all the stings tight and knotted them off for the resist.

Below is one of the samplers from above after taking it thru the indigo dye bath and allowing it to dye.  You need to use seam rippers to take out all the stitching before you can see your design.  I went to JoAnn's with coupons and bought 10 rippers for the kids to share.  Buy the cheapest ones, they work fine.
Then these are the two samples from above after I opened and ironed them.

And even though we wore gloves you still get indigo all over you.  It takes a good week to wear off.  I bought pre-reduced indigo crystals, soda ash and thiourea dioxide from Dharma Trading Company, everything you need to start up your own Shibori vat.  I bought a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot to brew it in.  When you go to Dharma's site you can download instructions for how to put the ingredients together.  Good Luck, it was so worth it, and the kids loved the experience.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rainsticks - Student Work

I've been really looking froward to sharing these clay Rainsticks with you.  They are a new assignment this year for my Ceramics II kids (Eddie,Stella, Rita)  I was inspired by Swedish clay artist now living in Redlands Ca.  (I will get her info here tomorrow)  Over the years I've purchased several of her works at local art venues.  Anyways, this was a way more difficult assignment then I originally had planned, but the 3 kids came thru with more then flying colors as you can see.  When you pick these pieces up and turn them upside down they create a soft,delicate rainfall noise.

We will start with senior Rita Labib. She has created this crazy, wonderful serpent woman as her subject.  She embedded nails for her hair and wrapped coils around the body.  There are other nails elsewhere for interest and visual flow. 
 I love the expressive attitude that comes off her work, as well as the nail polish that she painted over top the glaze when she wasn't satisfied with the color.  A brilliant piece Rita.
A peek of the interior of the clay stick as it was being assembled below.  We knew the stick had lots of clay balls inside to create the noise, but we weren't sure about the rest of the interior so one of the kids googled it up.  We needed a series of coil cones placed in different strategic locations for the clay balls to hit against as they tumbled down .  So below is one of their clay slabs about ready to be rolled onto itself for the base of the body.  The heads were applied and sculptured after the body was upright.  Pretty cool huh?  :)

This next one was created by senior Eddie Ponce.  Everyone seems to respond to this one because it is elderly and has a bit of a frightened expression on it's face.  Eddie also used a bit of nail polish to highlight his seam, then found some lovely copper buttons to glue on top.  And the finishing touch, the pearl necklace.  It kinda reminds me of my grandmother as she was aging but still wanting to get all spiffed up for when we would visit her.
I know I've told you many times already Eddie, but I really respond and love this piece, it touches my heart.

And our last one is by senior Stella Park.  It's really remarkable to me how these young ones come up with the depth that they bring to their work.  Here we have another super expressive, heart tugging piece.  I adore the pointillism that Stella has painted onto the surface of her work, and that she's using a soft, primary color scheme.  also check out the beaded necklace and crown.  This is so lovely Stella.
The kids had a choice about how to finish them off, either glaze or sawdust fire.  The ones that were sawdusted were them rubbed with metallic compounds to further enhance them.  They all had to add other media to embellish with.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Beginning Shibori Up Close - Student Work

(To see group shot and learn more about the assignment scroll down a few posts to Wednesday March 13, 2013)
Aren't these yummy?  I showed you the group pieces the other day, now I want to focus on the up close.
Senior Priyanka Shah

Senior Michelle Yoshimoto

Junior Ashley Duru

Eighth Grader Jenna De La Paz 

Senior Celine Phong

Senior May Luong

8th Grader Jacqueline Yu

Senior Mylan Jefferson

Junior Tristan Eddy

Senior Fernie Jacinto
And here's Jacqueline at our make-shift Shibori station hanging her piece up to dry.  What I love hear is the variety & uniqueness of each piece, no two are the same.  Now that's using their critical thinking skills  :)