Archive for ‘Art & Design’

May 25, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip::Ship to Shore

by heatherkp

Over the past few weeks I’ve been exploring all areas of downtown Charleston.  The Tall Ship Bounty was in docked in the harbor here for a weekend so we decided to go check it out.  It’s a replica of the original Bounty that was used in the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty staring Marlon Brando.  I love just about any excuse to be on the water or on a boat and it was a fun photo op!

Back on shore I visited a very fun restaurant that’s been in business for less than a year.  I headed over to Butcher and Bee for a local Permaculture guild meeting.  The restaurant is in the planning stages of working with the guild to create a permaculture garden to enrich the city and serve the restaurant (fresh, local, organic food!).  The are currently only open for lunch and late night bites but also have frequent “pop up dinners” a few times a month and they will gradually add more dinners and outdoor dining.  Check out their cool space and wonderful fresh food if you get a chance.

Our last visit for this week’s field trip is over to Redux Studio to see the Tempest installation exhibit by fellow SCAD alumni artist Jason Hackenwerth.  This installation represents a new direction and medium from this artist who’s past sculptural work has predominately been in latex balloons creating forms that are temporary in nature.  This work has less “mass” is more about line-work, drawing, painting and exploring positive and negative spaces (at least that’s my observation).

Beauty abounds both on and off shore here in Charleston.  I feel so grateful and privileged to be living in this beautiful and inspiring town with a strong sense of community and

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April 8, 2012

Silent Sunday::Seaweed Pressing

by heatherkp

 

 

 

 

 

October 4, 2011

Textile Tuesday::Experiments with Bits of Cloth and Thread

by heatherkp

 

In the midst of the moving madness I’ve managed to continue to do a bit of textile work.  Expanding upon my rust experiments I’ve done some scarf dying.

This is a detail of one end of a long narrow scarf.  I am so intrigued by the metallic shades, rainbows and oxidation that occurs on the fabrics.  The effect here partially washed away after I rinsed the fabric.

I’m embarking upon the exploration of natural dying, slowly trying to learn a bit more about it because I’ve never really done much of it but am now very interested.  It seems a natural progression bringing together my interests in gardening, sustainability and textiles.  I’ve started with onion skin collected (from my local CSA) over the last couple years (because I don’t need to MOVE them!), both yellow and red.

I got a variety of hues and shades on both fabric and yarn varying from a green gold to a warm pale brown.  I experimented with silk, cotton, wool and linen and used alum as a mordant.

I’ve also been experimenting with the process of natural dying via bundling bits of dirt, bark, lichen, leaves and other debris in fabric Ala India Flint.  These experiments haven’t been tremendously successful but it’s new and fascinating to me so I’m enjoying the process.  I think it’s time I get India’s Book “Eco Color” though so I don’t waste too much time and fabric in the learning process.  I did have some faint success with fern leaves and with mud so far though.

Finally I’ve been trying my hand with a little textile and mixed media assemblage.  This is a work in progress that I’m playing around with.

…PS…Knitting season has returned (I usually put down the needles in the summer) so I’ve picked up the needles again and have a couple projects going (they are gifts so I can’t show them yet).

 

September 19, 2011

Moving Monday::Week 5 Count Down

by heatherkp

This past week’s focus has been on part one of preparing the house to show.  Both my husband and I have been busy doing some serious deep cleaning, purging and misc. small job’s around the house to make it all shiny and ready to go on the market.  In some ways it doesn’t feel real yet, a lot of what we are doing could be chalked up to a really major fall cleaning and it’s small detail work that’s not all that visible on the surface but it will make a difference in showing.  On Friday the realtor came by to check things out, collect a key and discuss how the showings will work and this defiantly made the whole move seem more real!  This coming week is part two of getting the house ready which means more purging and then organizing the stuff that needs to go into neat areas and getting the stuff that we can out.

Today I had a cancellation in my schedule and I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to take advantage of it and stay home.  It was the perfect day to do a BIG PURGE of the ART and CRAFT SUPPLIES!   The husband’s been out of the house all day and I’ve had a movie marathon while sorting piles and piles of stuff.  I’m not done and might be staying up late to finish the fabric and yarn stash but I plan to get through all of the craft stuff TODAY!  I’ve got a really large pile so far and there’s sure to be more before I’m done!  I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to sell some of it at a flea market we are selling at in early October but I think with so much going on I’m just going to donate a big part of it and give some things to friends.  If you live in the DC metro area and want to know what I’ve got leave a comment or shoot me an email.

It feels FANTASTIC.  I was skeptical when I started this morning, I wasn’t sure I was in the right frame of mind to do this today but I feel so free and liberated.  If I don’t LOVE it, it’s going.   I mean, I’m finally getting rid of things I’ve moved about 4 times already (from MD to KY to GA back to MD), it’s about time don’t you think?   I have sooooo many types of craft and art supplies that go all the way back to when I worked in an art supply store in college.   Here’s what my stash includes and my strategy is to get rid of some things in all the categories because I still dabble in all the them and these are the creative outlets that will stick with me in the future as well.

Categories of Craft and Art Collections in my Stash::

Knitting (the yarn stash includes both knitting and weaving yarns!!)

Textile arts (dyes, chemicals and fixatives for dying yarns and fabrics of various kinds, also recently have accumulated various rusted metal objects for natural dying and I still have a large stash of onion skins even though I did one batch of natural dying with them recently)

Weaving *OK, I haven’t really woven in 6 years! (except a small bit on my table loom) but I still have tools etc I’m not ready to part with.  Will I ever weave again?  I hope so!

Sewing (patterns, embroidery supplies, fabric, thread and other tools and supplies)

Paper crafts (glues, papers galore, brads, stamps, paper punches, cutters etc) *Did I ever mention here I use to have a small greeting card line when I lived in GA?  I still make holiday cards and do other paper crafting quite frequently.

Fine art (paints, pastels, boards and canvases, markers, colored pencils, sketchbooks and various specialty papers)

Is there anything I don’t have?  It feels like it but I suppose if I did clay or more 3-d art it might be worse.  At least my loom (which is FOR SALE) is dis-assembled and got rid of basket making supplies after our last move.

The remainder of this week is CRUNCH time for getting the house ready to show.  Mainly this means more purging and then organizing all the stuff we are getting rid of into neat categories of DONATIONS, FOR SALE and TRASH (which needs to go to the dump this week).  I’ve also got some fall yard cleanup to do and it looks like the weather should be pretty nice for this.

September 9, 2011

Friday Field Trip:: Charlotte and The Mint

by heatherkp

On my way home from Penland I stopped and stayed with a friend in Charlotte.  We had one day to do some sightseeing and since we are both artists we decided to do a bit of window shopping and hit a museum or two.

[Side Rant:: window shopping, since most shops in Charlotte are closed on Sundays…still?  Come on, just because it’s the South doesn’t mean everyone wants to sit around and do nothing…geeze!]

Anywhoo, we did go to the relatively new Mint Art museum at the Uptown location.  I was so pleasantly surprised by this museum, what a wonderful collection of contemporary and older works of various mediums including paintings, sculptures, photography, fashion and various “craft” mediums such as ceramics, metals and furniture.  I thought this museum was the perfect size, not too big and not too small.  It took the two of us about 1 1/2 hrs to look at all of the exhibits (3 in total).  Some of my favorite pieces are below and I do apologize that I don’t have all the artists names for the different works.  You will just have to get yourself to the Mint the next time you are in Charlotte, you will not be disappointed.

I was able to see the Gary Noffke- Attitude and Alchemy exhibit (which is still running but only till Sunday!) and From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland as well as works from the permanganate collection.  Overall I was exposed to a lot of artists I was unfamiliar with and I’m so glad they are now on my radar! 

Margery Ryerson  (a student of the Robert Henri School of painting)

Lynn Mapp Drexler

Sheila Hicks

Nick Cave

Hildur Bjarnadottir an Islamic Fiber Artist living in Charlotte.

Henry Siddons Mowbray “Rose Harvest” American 1887

I don’t have the names for the following artist work but they captured my eye as part of the “permanant” collection of art and craft works.

A couple other artist work I took note of but don’t have photo’s of are Australian Fiber Artist, Annemicke Meinand French painter Maurice de Vlaminck.

Right next door to the Mint is the Bechtler Museum which we didn’t get a chance to go into but there was a sculpture exhibit of works by Niki de Sante Phalle outside across the street from the museum in the park.  These sculptures were an exploration of “mythology”, they were sparkly, larger than life, bold, colorful and quite fantastical!

Charlotte has the charm of the south but has some quite cosmopolitan museums, restaurants and really interesting architecture!  If you have the opportunity to visit Charlotte I’d certainly give 2 thumbs up to these side by side spectacular art museums!

September 7, 2011

At Work in the Studio With::Penland Artists

by heatherkp

For quite some time now I’ve been contemplating how to merge my love of art and design and my passion for organization.  While I was away at Penland I found a little seed that’s germinated and has been pushing it’s way slowly to the surface.  In that wonderful nurturing and creative environment I spent a lot of time walking around and observing other artists, their “studio” (albeit temporary for most) spaces and the work being created.  One particular evening we were visiting the Resident artists studio’s and the idea really struck me to start a blog interview series with artists about their sense of or lack of organizational skills and how that affects their work.

Above and Below::Studio space of Jewelry Artist Jeong Ju Lee

Above and Below::Studio space of Daniel Marinelli

Below::Studio space of Textile Artist and Weaver Robin Johnston

Today I’m bringing you the introduction to this new series.  I can’t promise how frequently I will be doing interviews, much of that depends upon who I’ve come across and their willingness to share their organization or lack of.  For many artists and creative types being organized is just not a big priority and often staying organized is a struggle.  Revealing this to the world may not be something many artists are willing to share.   So many people continue to feel embarassed or asshamed about being disorganized but I am here to say that EVERYONE struggles with organization in some area of their life (or has in the past).

Above and Below::Studio space and workshop of Woodworker Tom Shields

Upon speaking with many artists though I’ve come to realize that for all of us there is a cycle to the way we work.  We carve out a space, gather the materials we think we might need to begin and we dig in.  For some creators they need to end each work day (or session) with a bit of re-organizing and tidying up.  Others will continue to work right along side the ever growing piles of detritus, materials, abandoned projects, dishes, tools and whatever else accumulates.   Some artists can go days, weeks or months before they feel the need to stop and tidy up again.  What prompts this action?  Is it the completion of a big project or a feeling of distraction or getting stuck?

Above and Below:: Iron Forging workshop

Above and Below:: Woodworking workshop and workbenches of student artists

I wonder for each of us, how does the order or chaos of our working environment impact the artwork we create?  When you look at someone’s artwork is there any clue as to their working methods?  Could you venture to guess if they are organized or dis-organized?  How does our environment help or hinder our creations as artists?  These are all questions I am interested in exploring further as we meet other artists and discuss their working methods, see behind the scenes into their working spaces and perhaps learn some organizing tips from some of them.

Above and Below:: Metal Casting studio workbenches of student artists and the instructor

Above and Below::Studio workspace of Bookmaking student artists

Above and Below::Studio work spaces of Letterpress student artists

Above and Below:: Studio work spaces of Encaustic student artists and instructor

As I wandered from studio to studio observing and speaking with artists about how they work and taking photographs I found that most of the time people tried to tidy up when I asked if I could photograph them and or their spaces.  “No” I said, I want to capture you the way you really work.  I really appreciate the willingness of all these artist to allow me to share their working spaces with you here.

Above:: studio workspace of fellow surface design artist Kathleen Bennett Bastis

Call to action::If you are an artist and feel you are particularly organized or dis-organized and want to share your working practices and space I’d love you to comment here or email me.

Above:: studio work space of my instructor Jason Pollen;>)

August 30, 2011

Textile Tuesday::What I made at Summer Camp

by heatherkp

Now that summer is almost over and school’s back in session I need to wrap up my experience at Penland.  I’ve been writing for the last few weeks about my whole experience  but haven’t really posted much about what I made personally.  There was more experimentation than finished product but I’ll be sharing some of my creations.  I took with me my sewing machine and, several bins of materials (paper, fabric, threads, inks, brushes and more) even though I knew I wouldn’t use it all.  I wanted to have enough variety for whatever we ended up doing since I wasn’t quite sure other than “mixed media” surface design.

Lets begin with some of the more informal exercises.  As I mentioned in my previous post here, we began working on black museum board in an 8″ x 8″ format.  We started with limited supplies, gesso, inks and colored pencils.  Here are a few of them in progress on my large almost 10′ x 3′ (fabulous!) work space.  Man I loved having all that room to spread out!  I was able to get messy and still have room to work!  I’m going to start talking more about this subject here on my blog because I became a little obsessed with observing how other artists work, are they neat and orderly or totally messy?  At what point do you stop and clean up your space because it’s too messy?  These are some of the questions I started asking fellow artists…but getting back to the class:)

Some of the pieces above came home with me unfinished and I’m continuing to work on them a little at a time but below are some details of completed pieces.

I loved how expressive, spontaneous and painterly these exercises were.  I found working on the black background both challenging (seeing colors in a new way) and liberating (leaving my “typical” color combinations behind).  I thought that the square format would be good for me (i.e. challenge me even more) because one of the things I really wanted to explore at Penland was my understanding of composition.  Sure, I’ve got degree’s in art but my past 12 years as a designer of repeat patterns has stunted my ability to create artwork with “proper” composition.  I found this out as I began to explore photography.  As a designer I tend to center or repeat things out in a certain manner so I wanted to throw that aside while there and focus on understanding composition better. 

Another very fun and liberating part of the class were the quick 15-30 min exercises we spent each morning exploring a certain mood, idea or expressing a feeling (these were centered around the discussions of various Astrological signs).  I had gone with certain expectations of this class (I tried not to but inevitably there were some) and I didn’t realize how much expressive drawing and painting we would be doing.  Some of these exercises were quite large in scale (compared to 8″ squares) and I enjoyed the movement involved in creating these!   Sometimes you’ve got to get your body MOVING to make ART!

We continued to work on these quick exercises at the beginning of each class almost to the end.  Sometime after the first few days we began to explore other ideas and expand beyond the small format and black background.  That’s when we started (not the whole class but some of us) experimenting with rust dying on fabrics.

We did a whole batch of scraps to see what kind of results we liked and from there I decided to create a silk scarf using the rust dying technique and some shibori pleating.  I had particularly liked the results of a couple of pieces of metal from our experiments so I used them to wrap my pleated scarf around.

Since this was quite a large scarf I used 2 pieces of metal and pleated and rolled from both ends to create different effects on both sides.  Then I used a wire that would rust to secure the whole bundle.  

This is what the bundle looked like after 24 hours and before I unwrapped it.  Promising but a little un-nerving.  There’s something exciting about the juxtaposition of using these industrial rusty, dirty metal pieces to “Dye” this beautiful delicate, “precious”, pure white organza silk!

I’m so glad I photo documented this unwrapping process!  I love the swirly shapes created by one particular piece of metal and once this was un-pleated and unrolled completely it would never look exactly like this again.

This is how it looked completely unfolded.  I love the results and it’s got me hooked on rust dyeing.  But wait, I wasn’t finished yet!  I decided to take this another step and I over dyed part of this with a coffee/tea stain using a bound shibori process to resist a large portion of the scarf from being dyed.

I let it dry and in the meantime spent some time trying to learn how to create a rolled hem with the appropriate presser foot.  I wasn’t pleased with the results so I decided to bring it home with me and create a hand rolled hem to finish it.  When I got home though, I decided to do a little more experimenting with the machine rolled hem and to my surprise I was able to find a great tutorial and with a little experimentation I was confident it would turn out successful so I bravely finished the two ends (the sides are selvedge edges).

I am totally happy with the results of the finished scarf and I have plans to create more, similar pieces in the future!  I’ve always loved shibori and dying but have been hesitant to continue to use chemical dyes as I get older.  I’ve experimented enough with them over the years but I don’t want to prolong my exposure to them.  The process of rust dying opened my eyes to a whole new medium to explore, along with other natural dying processes.

The finished piece has been over dyed with the coffee/tea stain on one side which created a beautiful grey which occurs naturally as the tannins in the tea react to the rust.  The neutral colors of this scarf are so versatile and sophisticated!

I may finish this piece off with a few beads at the ends to give it a little extra pizzaz but nothing flashy.  I love the simple beauty of it.  As you can see there was a lot of exploration and self expression that came out of this class for me.  I’ve got some other bits I worked on as well that I’ll probably share down the road but this give you a good idea of the amount and kind of work we did within the two week class.  It was fabulous!

 

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.

August 18, 2011

Of my own design…

by heatherkp

I spotted the news from a friend that Spoonflower is having a free sample day today.  I’ve toyed with the idea of printing up some of my designs from time to time but I never did because I don’t know what I’d “do” with them.  The “free” part made it pretty easy to decide to just go ahead and do it.  I already have designs that are print ready in my archive collection, so why not see how one comes out?

I choose to sample this design and it will be fun to see what comes of this.  The free sample give away also has an option to donate $5 (or more) to Heifer International, which is one of my favorite charities.  This is ongoing for the rest of tonight until 12 EST tomorrow so hurry and get your sample while making a donation (optional) to a great organization.

 

June 28, 2011

Texture Tuesday & Homework Link Up

by heatherkp

We are officially in the dog days of summer and I’m playing along again this week with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday.  To me this image represents the epitome of summer skies, blue and bright with the golden rays of the sun shining.

I’ve been feeling a little down for the past few days and spent some time in the sun swimming some laps today.  Gliding through the water and gazing up at the sun really recharged my batteries.  I grew up swimming, born in the Philippines I swam before I walked (like almost literally!) and I was on the swim team year round until High school.  I don’t swim laps as much now but today as I was doing so I realized that I need to push myself to get back to this free and fantastic form of exercise.  Something about being in the pool, swimming and enjoying the sun brings back my youthful energy!

My indoor projects have been quite varied over the past couple weeks.  Tomorrow I’ll fill you in with a few behind the scenes bits of info about things I’ve been doing lately (and a little bit on how to organizing for being away on vacation) but today I’m going to leave you with a little homework project I began for my upcoming trip to Penland at the end of next week!   My instructor, Jason Pollen, gave each of the students an assignment to come up with several (or more) 8″ x 8″ collages using paper, paint, doodles, fabric, whatever we want.  He only asked that we keep them simple and try to resist our natural draw to certain color combinations.  Freedom is what’s being encouraged!

As I’m sharing these here I’m also taking part in the Homework Inspiration Board Link Up for the first time.  Check out what some of the other participants are making.

I’ve created 5 so far and I’m going to shoot for about 5 more before I leave.  It’s been a great way for me to build up anticipation for this class.

This last one I made today.  I was inspired by some origami and a piece of fabric I had from a quilt my mom started for me when I was little.  It never got finished so it’s kind of ironic that I am playing around with quilting with it now because I do NOT quilt!  The blocks just happened to be 8″ x 8″ so they naturally made their way into this project. I think I like how the back came out just as well as the front.

I can’t wait to go to Art camp, can you tell I’m excited?