Archive for ‘Technique’

April 24, 2012

Textile Tuesday::Stress Reducing Hexies

by heatherkp

A very talented and good friend of mine, Betz White, sometimes asks me to do a little pattern testing for her when she’s preparing something new and wonderful to publish.  I had volunteered to participate in some testing for her recently and when she sent me the pattern my initial reaction was to be kind of freaked out.  The pattern in question required some piecing involving sewing hexagons.  Oh boy, I am not a quilter and I would consider myself  only a moderately skilled seamstress.  I took a step back and thought/read through the pattern and decided to give  it a shot.  I love hexagons and since they are part of my logo and my brand identity I though it might be cool to be able to sew some hexagons and incorporate them into my art and designs in the future.

I decided to use some scraps of silk dupioni I had done some rust dying on.  The aesthetic of these are very different from what Betz uses but I was working with a limited selection from my stash that I have here in my temporary home.  I choose 2 contrasting colors, the silver and a dark red brown that both had rust spots.  The repetition of the process is quite fun and can be done in batches, first cutting out all the pieces, laying them out, pinning, stitching, pressing, stitching etc…

The only part I got a little unsure of was the back side of the Y shaped union where 3 hexes come together.  It’s a little figity to get them to press flatly.  There can also be a very small hole here which I was worried about but in the end realized it was fine (I’m a bit of a perfectionist!).  There is a certain amount of patience and care needed to do this and I found it stress relieving because it forced me to slow down and focus on the process.  If you have the desire to try piecing hexagons, take some advise from Betz and go check out Lady Harvatine’s video.  I can’t show you the finished piece but go check out Betz’s patterns and keep an eye out for the new pattern she has previewed here that will use hexagons!

I love the way these turned out!  I will be doing more of this, I guarantee it.  Like I said it was a very soothing, repetitive, tactile process for me.  I did this project in the midst of my in law’s kitchen table over a 2 day period with limited space, materials etc…never the less I feel I learned a beautiful new skill and got a beautiful piece from this process.  Maybe you would like to give sewing Hexagons a try?  I’m not saying I’ll be turning to quilting but I will be incorporating this new skill into my work in the future.  Do you enjoying doing repetitive projects to reduce your stress?

January 29, 2012

Silent Sunday::Sewing for Spring

by heatherkp

Finishing of a handwoven scarf.

August 19, 2011

Friday’s Field Trip::Penland Surface Design Class

by heatherkp

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Knowing yourself as an artist means knowing how you like to work, for what period of time, when to step away from something and knowing when to push through and let the inspired moment sweep you away.  Being in a class for the first time since some graduate classes I took back in 2004 offered the balance of exploration and structure which also helped me grow as an artist tremendously.  The irony of this is that as a designer I was trying to loosen up and allow myself to be more free and expressive (and abstract).  Each day our instructor began the class with short exercises that allowed us to be gestural, free, expressive and not to over think what we were doing.  These were fantastic and fun.  I didn’t always like the outcome of what I created but that wasn’t the point.  It was about just getting out of my own way and letting whatever creative expression inside the chance to escape.  Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.  This class was primarily a surface design class and we began with limited materials and an 8″ x 8″ format using black backgrounds.  The way we see color on black is different and this encouraged each of us to shake free of the “normal” color combinations we might use.  We started with only gesso and color and eventually were encouraged to add stitching, collage or whatever else we wanted to.  I find it tremendously helpful when I’m creatively stuck to really limit my options, within more restricted boundaries I find my self stretching to explore those limitations.  After a few days experimenting and playing in this smaller format most of us began to explore other mediums and formats for our work.  A group of us in the class began raiding the iron departments scrap pile and we began experimenting with rust dying.  There is a good description of this process over here if you want to learn more about the technical aspects.  I loved how as a group we got swept up into this creative process together.

Rusty metal pieces laid out with fabric for rust dying.

Completed pieces of rust dye fabrics.

Another process we began to experiment with was Encaustic painting.  Although this was not a class in Encaustic one of our classmates was using encaustic and there was also a class being taught so those of us interested in experimenting with this process got the chance to give it a try.  As you can tell we covered a lot of ground in this class.  It was so freeing and inspiring, I came home with several new materials, techniques and ideas to work through more thoroughly.  Both Jason and our studio assistant Debra Smith were fantastic about assisting and encouraging each of us in our own directions.

Jason working on one of his stitched pieces for the auction.

Debra’s scarf and a collaborative piece by Jason and Debra, donations for the Penland fundraiser auction.

Debra modeling a purse made by one of the students for the fundraiser auction.

Below are a variety of samples of fellow classmates work and working shots.  My class mates ranged in age from 18 to over 75 and came from both the east and west coasts with all different backgrounds.  Each one of them was an inspiration to me.  I am so glad we all got to meet and work together:)  Thanks to each of you!!One of the final projects I worked on was a collaboration with 3 other students which we donated to the Penland Session 4 fundraiser auction.  I love to collaborate and this piece turned out well.  I wish I knew who bought it…

Next week I will be back to share some of the work I began personally in class.  Some of what I started is still incomplete but hopefully won’t be by the time I post again.

April 5, 2011

Texture Tuesday::Sakura

by heatherkp

Just popping in briefly to share with you a couple images of these incredibly gorgeous spring blooming magnolias and Sakura. I had the chance yesterday to visit the well known Kenwood neighborhood, which in the DC area is second only to the Tidal basin during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

It was a perfectly beautiful day with 80 degree temps, a light breeze and blossoms in full bloom!

With these images I’m playing around with a little texture fun using combination’s of overlays with my photo’s.  So, what do you think of them?

This week I’ve used ‘Warm Sun’ along with ‘She loves you yeah’ and ‘February magic edges’.  Kim Klassen is the artist who creates these textures and all three of these is available for FREE download over on her site.  She has some incredible texture bundle packages and photoshop tutorials available as well.  Check out her beautiful photography and texture work.

March 7, 2011

Mundane Monday::Rubber Bands

by heatherkp

Rubber Bands may be considered by some to be mundane because they are used for all sorts of everyday things.  They stretch, they hold things together, they bunch up, they come in many colors and they can be spotted these days being used in lots of unconventional ways.  Here is a round up of some of the unusual rubber band findings including jewelry, vessels or containers some beautiful artwork!

Painted Desert Ring by Margarita Mileva

Rubber Band Dress by M2 (same artist as above)

Floral Pin by Margarita Mileva

The three pieces above are examples of work by M2-Margarita Mileva of Milev Architects where her work explores “opportunity to experiment with new design challenges, ideas, materials and forms” as seen through the eyes of an architect.  Fabulous, don’t you think?  She is certainly someone who stands out as truly innovative.

Fine Rubber Bands by RuRong

Rong Rubber Band Necklace

Red Rubber Band Ring by Colleen Baran

Double Rubber Band Ring by Colleen Baran

The two rings above are by Jewelry artist and designer Colleen Baran.  She blogs about her Ring A Day project over at her blog SeeSeeBe.  Check it out, she’s got some wacky and cool rings (and other stuff).

Rubber Band Cube by An Pham

Rubber Band Cube by An Pham

Samica Rubber Band Artwork by An Pham

Samica Rubber Band Artwork by An Pham

Vessels by Unknown artist

Rubber Band Digital Art by Patrick Gunderson

Long Woven Earrings by Amila Hrustic

Woven Earrings by Amila Hrustic

Necklace by Christian Diehl

Each one of these artist works with rubber bands as well as other materials, sometimes digital, sometimes photography, architecture or landscape.  The work they do explores the possibility available to each of us in what we might consider Mundane materials.  Seeing beyond the mundane to the possibilities is what makes these artist work so interesting.

January 25, 2011

Techinique Tuesday::Folds and Pleats

by heatherkp

I’ve been quite obsessed lately with folding and pleating.  Through my research I’ve been so inspired by some of the creations I’ve come across in both fabric and paper (as well as other materials).

Folds and Pleats on Pinterest

Once again I’ve put together a collection of folded and pleated images that inspire me over at Pinterest (I LOVE that site!).  Click on the image to take you to the sources.  On Saturday I decided I would sit down and learn how to fold an Oragami Crane.  This is one of those things that’s been on my creative To-Do-Learn list for years.  I folded 7 cranes to start with (somewhere I heard that if you repeat something 7 times it sticks).By the end of the day I had it memorized and was able to demonstrate it for my family while we were at dinner waiting for our food to arrive.  I gave this crane to my mom who promptly turned it into some other unique form of bird by manipulating it a bit more, gee, wonder where I get my creativity from?

Here are a few other creations I’ve been playing with in both fabric (and ribbon) and paper that use techniques of folding and pleating to transform a two dimensional surface into a three dimensional form.  I wasn’t very good at math or geometry in school but if it had been taught to me via creative devices such as paper folding I think I might have been a lot more interested!This textile Aris cabinet designed by Moritz Schmid for Swiss manufacturer, Pfister captured me!  I’d love to incorporate more textiles into my home by perhaps collaborating one day with my husband since he loves wood working!

Have you ever tried oragami or using folds and pleats in your art or design work?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 469 other followers