Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dyeing Paper

It's that time of year again.
I can step outside, pluck a few leaves, pull up a couple of weeds and grab that bag of frozen onion skins that I have been saving, and invade the kitchen to do some natural dyeing.

This year, I decided to try a few new (to me) and different leaves/weeds/items in the dye pot.
I have fresh eucalyptus leaves from my own backyard, avocado skins from previous meals, not to mention a few vegetable leaves I thought I'd throw in the mix.

Keep in mind that even if I can't obtain any color form the items that I use, they usually act as a resist to other colors coming through the paper.

I'm going to use watercolor paper (three different types and weights) as well as a few pieces of drawing paper (Strathmore 80 lb from a spiral-bound pad).

I have a thin box full of various weights & brands of watercolor paper that I have either bought or been gifted. I have no idea about the brands (unless it is printed on the paper) and usually guess on the weight but it's all good.
This type of activity is all about experimenting - and I love to experiment!

Last night I gathered up a bunch of paper- 90 lb up to 140 lb. I folded a couple of pieces in an accordion manner and just folded the remaining in half so I can stitch it into book form later.

I stuffed it full of a variety of greenery - mostly fresh but some of it came from my file of pressed items that I have collected along the way.
An example of what went into the pot - red tip, eucalyptus (leaves and bark), broccoli, tomato, nandina, sumac, hosta, peace lily, muscadine (leaves and vine), apple, avocado skin, onion (yellow & red skin), oak, maple, dandelion, fern and several unidentified weeds (maybe a few other things...).
Whew...once I start gathering things, it's like a madness takes over and I have to grab a handful of everything in sight.
In my own defense, you just never can tell when a plant will surprise you with an awesome display of color or turn out to be the best resist you have ever seen...
so, try it all, I say.

Here are some of the initial results from last night's pot.

Some of the best color from very unlikely places-
a weed vine with stickers on it.

One of the accordion fold books that I will be making.

The upper right hand image is from a
pecan stem that I had pressed from last year.

I love the layers  of color!

See the emerald green color?
I think that came from one of the sumac leaves.

This is a young shoot from our black walnut tree.

Even the cardboard that I use as the "cover" gets a
great dye job!
I have more on the drying table to show as well as two pots full of more paper and a little fabric.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Goldfish Fabric & Thermofax Screen Printing

I shared this fabric on Facebook but wanted to post it here as well.
And show what I did with it.

The fish are apx. 12 x 18 inches and in  bold, vibrant colors.

The fabric shop only had a yard left
I had a "Living Social" coupon for Tony's Fabric in Greenville SC that I bought almost a year ago. I had forgot about it to be honest and got an email reminding me ti use it before it expired.

When I walked in the front door, there was this beautiful and bold piece of fabric hanging on one of the showroom floor racks (insert choir of angels singing).
I was hooked (sorry, couldn't resist that pun).

I don't usually gravitate towards orange fabric but I'm guessing that the subject matter combined with the awesome color caught my eye.

I looked all over the (huge) store and couldn't find anything else I liked - until I committed to the goldfish fabric. They only had one yard of it left! So it was a good thing that I snagged it when I did.

I was able to find a few small pieces of random things to fulfill my coupon  at that point.

When I came home, I fanned the fabric over my couch and just admired it for a couple of days.
If I had a wall large enough to carry a frame that large, I'd just frame the entire yard and be happy with it that way. But I don't so I will use it in other large ways.

I plan on using one piece for a large sketchbook. I want to create a cover out of the fabric, using a whole piece to show off the beautiful fish design.

One thing that I did do already was to create a thermofax screen out of the fish - purely for personal use.
I won't be selling this screen since it isn't my design but I can use it for my own purposes.

It was a simple process (albeit a time consuming one) to convert a design like this into a design appropriate for a thermofax screen. It just takes a bit of trail and error messing with it in Photoshop (Elements for me).

I cropped out a single fish from the fabric (on a scan) and created a solid white background.
Some of the white I "poured" into the b/g crept into the lines of the fish.
That's great actually.

I messed around with the color curves until I was satisfied,
always looking for a good contrast in the white & black(ish) colors.
Notice that I did open up the lines between the head/tail/etc to
get more contrast.

It took two tries to get a good screen but I think that they final result is pretty cool.
This images is a little over 4 inches wide (the original fish design is about 18 inches). Of course, you can see m uch more detail "in person" than on this scan.

I printed this on a piece of vintage damask table cloth, then cut it out to use as a patch on the front of a small tote bag that I wanted to use.

I usually use journal pages to print on when I am auditioning a thermofax screen.
I love to use the images to draw into or paint over in my journal. It adds yet one more layer to the page.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pen to Paper

I'm baaaaaaaack...

I sketched this while looking at a photo in a book.
I did draw in pencil first (couldn't locate my pen) and then
I just drew right over the pencil lines.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sleeping Cats

I've been rather quiet on this front - my blog.

I have spent a bit of time resting but mostly busy working on a couple of projects that will go into books that will be out by the end of the year or next year.

I have been collecting some leaves and things for eco dyeing.
I went to Clemson Botanical Garden (about 25 minutes from my house) and gathered a bag full of fallen leaves from the two eucalyptus trees that they have on site.
No worries as I did call and ask permission to do this before I did it.
I brought them home and stuck most of them between book pages.
That way they would take less space to store (for later use) and they would be nice and flat to use for printing as well.
I had a couple of handfuls of torn and tattered leaves left so I dumped them into a stainless pot, covered them with rain water and let them sit. A few days later I added two scraps of cloth- cotton and silk- to see how each one accepted the dye in the pot.
That was about a week ago. Last time I checked them, the results were as expected- the silk was slurping in the color and the cotton was just sipping at it.
I'll leave it until I can't stand it any longer then show you the results from my lazy girl experiment.

As is my habit, no matter what else goes on, I am drawing/sketching/whaeveryouwanttocallit.
I fill bound pieces of paper with pen & pencil marks.

We have a cat now after not having a pet for about 8 or 9 years so I spend a lot of time looking at and drawing him.
He has taken to jumping up in our laps in the evenings so I have taken to drawing him.
It ends up being a lot of "sleeping cat"  sketches but practice none the less.

Draw what is in front of you.

He will let me move his feet around a little bit to get a better view of his face.
He did "fang" me once to suggest I quit messing with him though.

When he curls up all I can see is the top of his head
and his feet turned in all sorts of directions.
I occasionally add notes about things I hear
or see that I want to research later.
This night it was about a WWII  group that maintained
sketchbooks while away from home.

My sketches are beginning to look more like him.
I love the stripes above his eyes.
They come together in a triangle shape on his face.
They do make him look like he is a little worried though. 
I'll try to be a better blogger and share more of what I fill my time with.

Sometimes I feel as though it isn't very interesting. I guess I could just take that filter away and see what others think.
Maybe I will do that this week.

Are you drawing?
Are you finding a way to use the everyday happenings to add some creativity to your life?

It's a simple process really - taking your creativity in hand and letting it walk by your side.
You have to learn to look at the world, your world, in a little different way.

For example - instead of sitting in front of the TV at night, letting everyone else entertain you- entertain yourself with sketching out the TV (or what's on it).
No one has to see these sketches until you're ready  to show them.
But do keep them so you can go back and see how much progress you have made!

You will be amazed at what you can do!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tomorrow is the Day!

"Kick Off Your Heels" for women's heart disease research by purchasing an artful pair of shoes created by a group of female artists.
The pair of shoes that I created are not wearable - they are considered sculptural art.

I've copied this from the "Kick Off Your Heels" blog and want to share it with all of you.

"We're excited to tell you about how you can own a pair of art-full high heels that benefit the women's heart wing of Cedar's Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles!

The sale of the shoes will begin at 8:00 am EST Monday May 20, 2013 and will be available for purchase over the course of the week as follows:

Shoes can be purchased for $300 on  May 20 and 21, 2013 beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST
Shoes can be purchased for $200 on May 22 and 23, 2013 beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST
Shoes can be purchased for $100 on May 24 and 25, 2013 beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST

Click here to visit the website we set up so you can preview the shoes before the sale begins.

Set your calendar alarms for Monday, May 20, 2013 and check out the website for your favorite pair of artisan made high heels!"

Go to this link and pick out your favorite pair.

All of the money collected will go straight to research!