Posts tagged ‘craft’

January 29, 2012

Silent Sunday::Sewing for Spring

by heatherkp

Finishing of a handwoven scarf.

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!


July 8, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Pile of Craft Roundup

by heatherkp

I’m currently on my way to my biggest field trip of the year!  I’ll be at Penland School of Craft for the next two weeks so postings will be spare in my absence.  I can’t wait to participate in The Art of Fiber Collage with instructor Jason Pollen! I’ve shared bits and pieces about this upcoming excitement but honestly, this is something I’ve wanted to do for over 10 years.  Since I now have the flexibility being self employed I took the opportunity back in early spring to apply for a scholarship and YES, I got one!  I’ve been super busy over the last week or so preparing for this “Camp”.  The list of supplies is lengthy and I’ve been challenged to remain very organized in my preparation!  Even though I typically am very organized about travel, this trip requires many extra supplies including art and craft and some borderline camping type supplies.  Laundry facilities will also be limited so I’m having to pack more clothes than I normally would for a two week trip.  Lists, lists and checking my lists…The last remaining item for me to decide on is my sewing machine which was listed as a item that is suggested but not necessary.  I guess if I can fit it in the car then it goes!

While I’m away I’ve prepared a few posts and in the spirit of Field trips I’ll leave you with some favorite items from vendors I saw when I helped my friend Betz White with her booth at the Pile of Craft show in Baltimore.

I love when craft crosses over into organizing, these re-purposed denim & fabric buckets fit the bill for anything from yarn to makeup or mail sorting.

The “neighbor’s” on one side had these adorable figurines.  On the other side of Betz was Volta Organics.  The photo I snapped wasn’t so hot but do check out their products.  I fell in love with the Vanilla and Pepper scrub (they were brilliant to put a sample of this in one of the bathrooms at the show!).

Across the way from us were these beautiful Japanese print and sewn textiles from Namoo.  Again, these HUGE paper clips are another crafty way to get yourself organized.  What a great way to keep papers sorted by category!

The worn but beautiful architecture in this old church is a charming setting for the show.

I didn’t catch the name of these two vendors but I love the “scrabble” coasters and leg plant ID “tags”.

Gorgeous threads from re-purposed goods made by Malagueta fall into my wishlist category.

I crafting in motion and several booths including Hello Craft and Carlybird Weaves had demo’s set up.

And finally a few familiar finds including Claire McDermott’s recycled skateboard accessories and jewelry.  There were some brilliant repurposed and recycled items at the show, I love seeing this category evolve and become more sophisticated.

One last thing we did before we left the show was step into the photo booth of Annaeka Photography and get a little goofy.   What a blast to have an old school photo booth right at the show!  We accidentally walked away without picking up our photo’s and Anna was super sweet to send them to me right away, thanks Anna!!

I’ll see you back here with a full report of my field trip to NC in a few weeks.

January 28, 2011

Fiber Friday

by heatherkp

Happy Friday!  This has been a relaxing week and we’ve finally gotten some real snow.  As I sit here writing this there is snow on the ground and more falling.  Due to the snow this week I was unable to get out for my weekly field trip so today I’ll bring you some fibery goodness from around the web.  These are some of my all time favorite fiber artists (not an extensive list though).  I hope I’ve shared a few new artist and designers with you here, or some old favorites.  All photos are courtesy of the individual designers and artist websites and if you click the photo’s you will be directed to their sites.

Spirit Cloth Stitched and Quilted Textile

Red 2 White Scarf

Alabama Chanin Pillow

Betz White New Scarf

Elyse Allen Knit Textiles

Anne Kyyro Quinn Textile Installations

Jeung-Hwa Park Shibori Knits

Tinctory Fiber Jewelry

December 14, 2010

Tuesday Take out: Cards turned ornaments

by heatherkp

This is a follow up to last week’s take out.  I left you with a short tutorial on how to make the snow globe holiday cards.  Below I’m sharing with you the final outcome of the cards and a couple of ideas for either turning them into ornaments or making them as ornaments.

I love to make cards every couple years but I hate the idea of these cards going into the garbage (even if most people do recycle).  A few years ago I created a line of cards (made with recycled paper) that I sold in stores.  The idea behind them was that they were small pieces of “collage art” that were made with recycled paper, found objects and bits and pieces of ephemera etc.  They were meant to be saved, framed and appreciated.  With that in mind I wanted these cards to do double duty as ornaments.

I’ve included instructions on the inside of these card so the recipients can choose to make ornaments out of them.  It’s really simple once the card or snow globe portion is made (see instructions here).

1. Cut out the ornament (Snow globe) shape as above.

2. Trace the shape onto another decorative paper.  Here I used recycled Christmas cards that I had received last year.  You could use photo’s, decorate the back side like the front or use plain paper.  You just want to give the ornament a little more weight.

3. Add a separate piece of solid paper for the base and glue the front and back together.

4. Punch a hole in the top, add a string or ribbon to hang from and put it on the tree!

Voila~An ornament!  If you make these please comment and leave me a link to your creations.  I’d love to see them!

December 7, 2010

Take Out Tuesday: Snow Globe Holiday Cards

by heatherkp

In today’s take out I’m sharing a behind the scene of my holiday cards this year.  Every other year I make all my cards, usually between 50-75 handmade cards so I try to keep it pretty simple.  I had the idea of making snow globes and here are 3 photo’s that illustrate how simple this project really is!  There are a lot of variations on this idea that would work so enjoy and make it your own.

What’s a snow globe without a snowman?  I didn’t have a snowman stamp and I didn’t feel like cutting out any more circles so I carved a quick snowman rubber stamp.  I keep a few blank rubber stamp bases around to use for these sort of projects.  The other tools include a pencil or pen to draw the image on, an xacto knife to cut the stamp down to size and to outline around the drawn image and linolium block carving tools to carve the block.  I start with the smallest tool and outline the image and move my way outward and use the larger size for the large blank areas.  Remember the image will be in reverse!  I once carved the word “celebrate” in a linoleum block only to realize half way through I didn’t reverse it, wow what a waste of time!

For the snow globes I cut circles a little smaller than my card base.  I am using a card that’s 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″, the globes are 3″ diameter.  These backgrounds are can be anything from a plain solid color to magazine images, scrap booking paper or photo’s of your family or pets (that would be cute!).  For the base I kept it simple and cut out brown rectangles about 2 1/4″, then I folded them gently in half and cut a small angle on the ends to give them a wider base.  Simple!  Glue down the globe pieces first, then the bases and your ready to add images, embellish etc.

Once you assemble the basic globe have fun embellishing them.  Here I used my snowman stamp, added some words to the base, some sequins and beads and little fuzzy balls for the buttons.  I’m also making some with embossed images, glitter and whatever else I can come up with.  Have fun and if you make some cards like this I’d love to see them, please let me know!

December 3, 2010

Field Trip Friday! National Museum of the American Indian

by heatherkp

Starting today I’ll be bringing you “Field trip Friday” a couple times a month.  There are so many wonderful cultural and creative opportunities at the museums, galleries and gardens in the DC metro area. I will have no problem bringing some of that inspiration to you, I hope you like it!

Today we will visit some of my favorite pieces from the permanent exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian.  This museum has gorgeous architecture and the outside landscaping is all done using Native American plants that in most cases are not only beautiful but are functional, either as food, medicine or some other purpose (for example corn husks or other plant fibers).

The museums permanent exhibits are broken down into “Our Universe”, “Our People” and “Our Lives”.  These three spaces explore many aspects of American Indian heritage, culture, philosophy and past and current lifestyle.  This is the sort of museum that has a wide range of information and can be quite overwhelming (in my opinion) to explore and I find it easiest to take it in bits or go to explore something specific on exhibit.

Above are examples of some of the incredible bead work both traditional and contemporary and below are arrowheads and the back side of the “gold” exhibit (I love the patterns created by these groupings).

Below are some amazing examples of feathered head dresses and Day of the Dead skulls as well as the quirky contemporary mask made of utensils and of course I had to include an Ikat weaving.

On the several occasions I’ve gone, I usually spend a little time wandering through each exhibit and each time I drift over to whatever draws my attention to learn a bit more.  For example, did you know that some of the Caribbean islands have American Indian heritage?  Did  you know that Mohawk Indians were the main steel workers that built the World Trade Center and are now rebuilding the new ones?  This museum explores American Indians from all the “America’s” and the definition is broad and fascinating!  I hope you get a chance to go in person but until then maybe this virtual field trip will serve to give you a little more insight as to what this “New” Smithsonian museum has to offer.  The museum website has extensive information available such as the Online Exhibits as well as PDF catalogs you can download of the temporary exhibits, check it out.

There is also a great temporary exhibit on display through next August called “Vantage Point” which is a collection of contemporary art by Native American Indians; even more beautiful work there!  One last note, this museum has an extensive gift shop and the museum “cafeteria” has had rave reviews so I hope to have a bite to eat there on my next visit.

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September 20, 2010

Great things coming this way!

by heatherkp

Literally!  If you live in the DC Metro area there are some exciting events related to craft coming our way soon.

First, on October 2nd is the 7th year of Crafty Bastards in Adams Morgan.  I am not sure I will be able to attend this year but I’ve enjoyed all the vendors in the past several years.  Here are a few shots from some of my favorite vendors over the  last couple of years. 
The Small Object

Carlybird Weaves

Biggs and Featherbelle

In addition to great vendors there are always some fun DIY craft projects to get your hands on as well as music, b-boy battles and other great entertainment.

The second event coming to DC in October is the “Crafting A Nation” conference at the Smithsonian American Art museum.  This event is FREE and it’s in conjunction with American Craft Week 2010.  There is a great lineup of speakers and discussion panels and this event will be going on over 2 days so you can attend one or both days.  If you can’t make it to the conference check the website out for events in your state.  This event runs October 1-10 and there seems to be something going on in practically every state.

The last event I’m going to mention is the Sugarloaf Craft Festival at the MD State Fairgrounds on October 1st-2nd and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on October 8th-9th.  This festival is always fun for me to attend (even though I won’t be going this year) because I grew up in the area and have attending this event many times and I have fond memories of dreaming of becoming a crafter one day.  Dreams can come true!