Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the Way to Get Buttons

Today I went to the fabric store with a friend to get buttons for my nuno felted jacket. I was so excited to finish it to see how it would look. However, something even more interesting and "symbolic" happened on the way to the store. Along the way is the state prison. And beside the prison runs a creek by which a large number of Canadian Geese have taken up residence. The geese have now lived through several generations and have become very comfortable living along "their creek" by the prison, right beside a very busy street. Traffic travels fast, but of course, the geese don't. There are signs along the street telling folks that the geese cross, but who reads signs when busy getting here and there so very quickly these days. And the geese cross the street very slowly and distractedly whenever things look better on the other side, or a buddy goose calls them over. Yesterday, as we were traveling along the street at a pretty good pace, I came upon the spot where the geese were located. At first I thought that there had been an accident, but on getting closer and hearing all the honking, I realized that all of the cars were stopped on the street to let at least five geese cross. The cars were honking to get the geese to cross faster, which had no effect, but also to get other cars like me to stop. This was a ritual that went on daily in order to keep the geese and their goslings safe. I also took up the honking, not blaring honking, but just a signal to fellow drivers to watch for the geese. The geese seemed to know what this meant, because as we sat there honking more geese decided to cross. Pretty soon another and then another goose decided to cross. I have to say that this small wonder, of all this traffic stopping for all of these geese, made my heart swell. It was so symbolic that this was happening right next to a prison that housed folks who had done some horrible crimes. The very goodness of people who go out of their way to save geese against those who have committed heinous crimes against humans and animals. The later are the things that we hear about day in and day out from the media. How many times do we hear about the small wonders of people developing signals to save geese. I think that our media has it so upside down about what we really want to hear. Let's hear it for the 
geese and the people who keep them safe.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playing With Paper

This weekend I participated in the Paper Arts Festival in Newport, Oregon. This festival is an opportunity for people who enjoy working in paper arts to get together and learn from each other in a wonderful coastal setting. It is a fairly small gathering as these things go, and the people who come are ready to laugh and have a good time while they work on their projects. Over the weekend I learned how to make three new journals-journals which I will most likely never write in because so far I haven't written in one yet. They are far too pretty and too precious to mess up with print. I know, silly. Pictured at the top is the first journal that I made on Friday. It was fairly simple. We probably could have rushed and completed it in a half day, but we were more relaxed and took a full day to complete it. I put my own decorations on the cover and painted it with Mod Podge.

Saturday's journal demanded much more. There were so many steps. We glued several textures to the covers of the book, back and front, and then put Gesso over all of it. While this was drying, we cut and made pockets in pages, put Gesso on the pages, painted them and used the dry covers to stamp the pages with luminair paints. I felt like a kid playing in mud at times-what fun. When all the pages were finished we painted the covers. The final step was to bind the book. Writing about all this goes quickly, waiting for all this paint, glue and Gesso to dry took a lot of time. I felt like I was rushing to catch up all day long and I ended up taking this project back to my room to finish during the evening so that I could get it right. This will be a fun one to do several more times with friends so that I can think about it more. The finished product can be surprisingly beautiful, though it doesn't sound like it when I write about it.

On Sunday we made a wonderful leather journal. (Let me take a moment to clarify that there are more classes than just journal making classes. I just happen to like to make journals and gravitate toward those sessions. One could take classes in Coptic stitching, making jewelry applying many fun metalics to papers, fun decorative boxes, felt making, paper making, and much, much more.)

The leather journal was another all day task. We began by painting the outside pages for each signature with wonderful, colorful, water based paints. This gave our books some contrasting color. I designed my journal around a button that I had purchased in Sisters, Oregon the weekend before. So we painted, measured, made templates, punched holes in our leather, and stitched the leather together to make a pocket. We then folded the signatures together and sewed them into the journal, adding beads and decorations as we wanted. (It is always amazing to me that no matter how many people you have in a class, no one will produce anywhere near the same product. We are all so individual.) As I said, I decorated around my button, something I would not normally do. So I chose greens and reds, and put a lot of stuff on my journal. I happened to have some ribbon with greens and reds, so I decided to change the design of my journal and let the pocket show and put two buttons on it, one in front and one in back, why not??? All of the colors worked.
This was a great weekend! I ended up with three great journals that I will just look at and love. If I make more of them, which I have done, I will write in some of them, or give them as gifts. The main thing for me is that I have experienced again, " MORE GREAT FOOD FOR THE RIGHT BRAIN."


Monday, April 19, 2010

Beauty Is In the Eye

I made some new nuno felt the other day out of rose and teal wools. This time I put some teal colored lace in between my layers of wool, and only put a light layer of wool over the lace. I love the way it turned out, however, my camera never takes a picture that does the colors justice. To me the piece looks very vintage, due to the colors and the lace, something you might find in an old attic, but not all bleached out. Some of the ends of the lace had come out of the wool so I just powered up my sewing machine and did one of my fancy embroidery stitches around all of the little lace spots so that it would look like I had planned it the whole time.  I put rose colored stitches around the rose and teal around the teal. I didn't want to spoil the piece by making it look gaudy. I am going to make another piece just like it and then think of something to make out of it. It will have to be something small, like a vest.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Day

A while back I shared that I made this lovely blue nuno felt fabric and wasn't sure what to do with it. I had 4 long pieces and I am no seamstress. However, I didn't let that stop me. During the last week I have been making it into a jacket or shirt or something. The problem is that it has unplanned holes as nuno does where the black silk chiffon shows through and this looks a little funny in a jacket. But, oh well, if you are going to wear nuno silk fabric, you are going to be a little out there anyway.
I was interrupted in my endeavors by going to this fabulous Italian lunch in this great old historic house with a friend of mine. I had shut myself in my home for so long that I had forgotten how to get out and smell the flowers, so to speak. The company at the lunch was so enjoyable that I forgot all the projects waiting for me at home, at least for a little while. There was a Japanese lady there who was a fruit grower from an area many miles away. She had come to town to learn about alternatives to chemicals for pest management for her fruit trees, and her daughter had treated her to the lunch. My friends adopted her as she had no one else there that she currently knew.  Wouldn't you expect that she would sit next to a woman who had grown fruit trees. Another lady at the table came from the south of France. She told us a story about her grandmother and her pet pig. She intends to write a children's book about her pig. We all encouraged her. By the end of the lunch, we had all become friends. Life is so full of wonderful discoveries!
When I got home, I was recharged with energy for my own projects. I had stopped and enjoyed the  flowers both  literally, and the ones blooming at the table at which I sat.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sisterly Support

This is a table runner that my sister in-law purchased from me. As with many wonderful experiments in art, this project began as an accident. I threw the felt into the dryer to dry it faster and the end of it caught on itself, causing all kinds of interesting things to happen before I found it. I cut off the messiest parts and left the most interesting sculpture. I loved it. But if you try to do this on purpose, forget it, I tried, and the result looked nothing like the original. It was supposed to be a shawl, but my sister in-law purchased it as a table runner. I have to say that she had a great idea. It looks great as a table runner, much better than it would have as a shawl.
What would we do without the wonderful support of our families. My family applauds everything I do. Perhaps that spoils me, but I love it. I can't wait to show them my latest projects, and give them things that I have made. They also purchase items from me, allowing me to support my habits. After purchasing this table runner my sister in-law asked for another one and took me to several retailers pointing out the colors that she wanted in it. The colors that she chose are some of my favorites and it was hard to give this one to her, even for the agreed upon price. Oh well... She showed her table runners to a friend who got excited about them and wanted one made of greens, reds, and other earth tones. When I got back from my trip last Monday I started work on it. She is very excited to get it. I am hoping that when she sees  it she will be equally excited. I think that it turned out well. 

If I were making my living at this, I wouldn't be making my living. But happily I am retired and have the time to play, especially for family and friends. I make enough to pay for materials and that is all that I care about.  I am finally getting to feed my right brain, and it has been starving for years.