Before I left for Montana I bought a new watercolor pad, but ended up so busy stitching I never really used it. So I thought I would do a series of small paintings just looking out my studio window. The first one was on a sunny day with lazy puffs of clouds drifting by.
Monday, August 12
I arrived back home and then jumped right into teaching a week of Stitch and Surface summer intensive. I had a lovely group of ladies, including some familiar faces and some fellow elementary art teachers, so we had a great time learning and chatting. Sadly I didn't take a single picture!! However, I can share the samples I made instead. we started off with an easy symbolic stitch sampler, experimenting with new stitches on a personalized shape. We did a smattering of shibori experiments including pole wrapping and clamping. We tried gel medium photo transfer on fabric. And we created a 4x6 fabric postcard using a variety of the fabrics that had been created over the week.
I'm not a big fan of adhesives in fiber art. However, I knew a number of the students were collage and mixed media afficionados, so we tried gel transfers to create a photographic image on fabric. The trick is to paint a layer or 2 of acrylic medium onto a color photocopy and press and smooth it onto fabric just after painting out the last layer. We let them dry overnight, and then dampened and scrubbed off the paper to reveal the image adhered to the fabric. This technique does reverse images, so text is reversed, but I kind of like how that altered my graffiti transfer above. I think this technique would work better on a wood surface. However, it was interesting to have a different surface to work on in stitch. In fact, I may do more fabric postcards using the transfer technique..
Although this fabric postcard could probably be sent as is through the mail, I decided to protect it with a custom-made envelope cut from a brown paper bag. It's headed back to Montana as a thank you!
Sunday, August 11
I've been home for a week (somehow this week flew by in comparison with the week before). I thought I'd look back on the artwork made by myself and the other participants at the residency in Montana. It seems far away now, but I'm still feeling the restfulness that grew while I was there.
Tobacco Road Studios was a great location with 2 studio spaces in the garage, and a wrap-around porch where I made my workspace. Our hostess was working on an elemental series and cut a huge spiral in the lawn for "earth". The elements and trees around the property were inspiration for many of us.
Woodblock printing with ink and a brayer was a total failure as it picked up only the sawmarks instead of the beautiful rings. So I switched to oil pastel rubbings to capture the texture and age of about 8 stumps. After heat setting the pastel I experimented with walnut ink on a few, but didn't like the loss of contrast.
It was wonderful to have so much time to just make art and be surrounded by other creative folk. As artists and mothers and working people, so much of our time and mental power gets distracted by everyday life and responsibilities. It was a joy to let all those distractions fall away.
Sunday, August 4
There's too much to see and take in.
I flew back this weekend. a 2 hour jaunt from Montana to Minneapolis, a short layover, and another 2 hours back to Philadelphia. How could such an expanse that took 3 days to cross by train zip by so swiftly under my feet?
I hope I can hold on to the sense of relaxation and beauty that has filled me up over the last week.