Fabric memories 2

I’ll continue with recounting a few memories associated with photos I found in my archives a little while ago.

These pictures show me at the Lansdale Festival of the Arts in 1998.

This festival is one that I have done since 1996. I attended 2022’s version this past August (below).

A lot of things are the same in these pictures. I am still using the same racks today, but I have replaced the rack covers since 1998, and I have a different tent, though in the same style.

And I still set up the racks in the same configuration, a U-shape – I’ve tried others over the years but in the end, I always come back to this one, because it allows a nice open view of the work.

The park in which this fair is held looks very much the same now as it did 25 years ago, and that many of the same people who organized the show back then are still doing it today.

I love this show and it has a special place in my heart. I won my very first prize ever here in 1996 (I broke down in tears when they brought me the ribbon). And without fail I have always had a wonderful welcome from organizers and patrons alike.

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All right, here is another picture from the same show, Lansdale, but a different year, 1999. This piece, “Along the Beach Road”, was done in raw edge applique with machine free-motion stitching and it won Best of Show.

Well, thank you for going along with me on this little trip back into the past. These photos have reminded me of how much I have enjoyed doing shows and how much the art world has given to me – not just the artwork and awards/recognition, but the friends and interesting times along the way. Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this road.

Fabric memories 1

I was going through some old photos a little while ago and came upon a grouping from several shows I did back in the 1990’s. They feature my fabric work, which was the first medium I exhibited.

As background, I started making fabric wall hangings in 1994 or so, and at first, I concentrated on making house portraits. I built up a little business doing portraits on a commission basis and also sold them through a local shop, along with some items on spec.

In the beginning, I worked totally in hand applique with edges turned under. Later on, I learned to do free-motion machine applique and I then switched to raw edge applique.

These first pictures are from a show at New Hope, PA, probably in fall 1997. I date it this way because most of my work here is still hand applique. Also, I am no longer using my homemade display set up; I have the professional racks, but no tent.

Next, here I am in May, 1998, at the Roxborough (Philadelphia, PA) Festival of the Arts. I can date these photos because I won Juror’s Choice at this show. I was thrilled at the recognition and also flabbergasted at the size of the prize, which helped me buy my tent with money left over.

Here you can see that almost all the works are raw edge applique done with the machine.

I was also amused to see the sign on my display signifying that I accepted credit cards. Back at that time it was costly and work intensive to do so, but I remember that at a show the year before, I had almost missed a sale because I didn’t take cards and the buyer didn’t have enough cash (we figured things out, thank goodness).

So I had moved up in the art show business world with this step. To remind you how things were, I used paper receipts and a “knuckle-buster” machine, and after the show I had to take the slips to the bank and deposit them to get credit.

I’ve got a few more reminiscences that I’ll share in another post!

Small Artist Sketchbook 2022 – Pages 24 and 25

We are on a journey through another one of my small artist sketchbooks. As with all my books of this type, I take a sketchbook and fill it with whatever I feel like doing at the time. No planning, just enjoyment.

This book was done between August 2020 and February 2022, more or less (I date each page as I do it).

I don’t go through the book page by page in order, though in general the earlier images are at the front and the later ones following – but sometimes I skip pages and come back later, or do some other thing. No reason, that is just how I do it.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s today’s page spread. The first one is from a photo I took in Allentown, PA: the second one is a view from my living room into the dining room, with me standing behind a chair.

Here are individual views of the pages.

If you have any questions as to the materials or techniques I used, let me know. I love to answer questions!

A Teeny Tiny Abacus You Can Wear Around Your Neck

Back in November 2022 I took an online workshop at the Smithsonian called Wirework Workshop: The Abacus Pendant. It was taught by Mia Vollkommer.

(As a note, the i should have two dots above it, but I don’t know how to do that in this post; and you say her name, Mya.)

You may remember I took some jewelry classes at a local art center before the pandemic. Remember these projects?

I enjoyed working with the materials but some of the techniques (the torch! terrifying. The saw! I break blades at breakneck speed) were not so good. I did love hammering and twisting and stamping metal.

And I like seed beads. So, when I saw this class advertised I figured, three hours, one afternoon, why not try it?

I assembled my supplies. I needed a couple of inexpensive tools which I ordered online, and ordered from Mia the small amount of wire we would need for this class. I chose seed beads myself, also online.

The day came and we got to work. I want to say right now that Mia is an excellent teacher. She had clearly-written instructions for us and her class presentation was equally easy and clear to follow.

Here are the two pendants I made. One in silver and one in brass.

Basically, you bend a thicker wire into a U-shape. You use a tool to make the rings at the end for the necklace to go through (I am very proud of how these look, and it all happened like magic with the right tool!).

Then you wrap wire all around the U-shape. And then you wrap wire across the shape and incorporate the beads.

I made the brass one first and then the silver one, and I can see already my skills have improved. I was worried that my eyesight might make it too hard for me to do this technique at all, but I learned that a lot of it is done by feel, and a magnifying glass helps with the rest.

I enjoyed doing this project and I like the look of the finished result. Maybe I will get enough skill to give some of these as gifts sometime. I do not think I will be embarking on a jewelry career anytime soon, but I did buy some copper wire and plan to settle down and try some more of these. I believe they will be a good evening-TV time activity.

Thank you to Mia and my classmates for a fun introduction to wire-wrapping!

Not art, but insisting on recognition, anyway

What are these shirts doing? Well, they started out as regular old t-shirts for my husband, but since I bought cheap, they shrank weird. You know how they do, they stay the same side to side, maybe, but the length is way shorter than they started out.

I could have given them away, but I decided to grab them for myself – they could be nice exercise shirts, I thought.

But oh so boring. So I fixed them up with “slogans”. I grabbed my stencils and some acrylic paint and then I adorned them with these words, which are the ones that came to mind at that moment.

My husband asked me if the backwards E on New Ink P(e)n! was on purpose or not. Yes, it was – I felt the urge to flip it and so I did.

I’ve tried them all out in exercise sessions and they came through with flying colors. Go Dust Mop! Go Paper Clip! Go New Ink P(e)n!

And yes, that is my cat’s feet in the picture. He settled down just as I took the photo.

2003 Calendar – January

Here’s a project I did in 2001-2002 that I had forgotten about. Now, here in 2022-2023, I will take a trip down memory lane and show it to you, once each month.

Why this schedule? Because it is a calendar. For 2003.

I made three of these – one for my son, one for my parents, and one for my husband. It’s the last one that I am showing to you. They were all alike except for the covers.

I hoped this calendar could be a small record of a certain time in our family. I do not know if my son still has his version, and my parents now are dead and their things scattered and gone, but here is the one we still have at our house, a voice speaking up again from the past.

If you want to know more about this calendar, look here.

Here is the collage image I used for the month of January, 2003. It’s called “January Diversion” and was 11″ x 14″. I made this image from a photo I took when my son went skating with a school group at the Old York Road rink in Elkins Park, PA (He is the guy in green pants near the front).

I don’t think this rink is still in business, but I’m not sure. As a note, about a year later I decided I wanted to learn to ice skate, went hereto the first lesson, fell, and broke my elbow. The end of my skating career.

Here is the page in the calendar.

Happy January!

As to the notes, #1. Raquel and Jaspar were a couple of our cats, a brother and sister duo who lived another 15 years or so and died within 6 weeks of one another. As for all the others, you can see that this month, the depth of winter, required a lot of pampering activities to fight back the cold and darkness!

More figures emerge from the glue and paper…

I mentioned my experiments with papier mache figures a little while ago. Here is the next step in the process. Once again, I constructed a body framework for these women in the same was as I have been (though with practice I am refining my methods and getting better results at how they look and hold together).

This time, I made their outfits out of papers I had on hand. Each person is about 9″ tall or so. Let’s take a look at each individual.

This lady has a dress made of strips of painted paper, dictionary arms and legs, and paper bag head and feet. And you can see she has a more elaborate hair-do. That’s something I am experimenting with too.
This lady has paper bag legs, head, and shoes. Her skirt is painted paste paper. I used scraps of various failed or partial doodles/sketches/drawings in India ink on white sketch paper to make her abstract-patterned blouse.
This figure has paper bag head and shoes, dictionary arms, and India ink print legs. Her dress is made of overlapping layers of different papers, including a list of items, I don’t know what, but it might be groceries. Her hair-do kind of looks like a hat in this photo, maybe, so how nice, two looks in one.

OK, that’s where we are with figurines right now. I really like this method of finishing them. I found painting outfits on them a little tedious, but collaged outfits? Whole other story. We’ll see who comes along next!

Small Artist Sketchbook 2022 – Pages 22 and 23

We are on a journey through another one of my small artist sketchbooks. As with all my books of this type, I take a sketchbook and fill it with whatever I feel like doing at the time. No planning, just enjoyment.

This book was done between August 2020 and February 2022, more or less (I date each page as I do it).

I don’t go through the book page by page in order, though in general the earlier images are at the front and the later ones following – but sometimes I skip pages and come back later, or do some other thing. No reason, that is just how I do it.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s today’s page spread.

Here are individual views of the pages.

If you have any questions as to the materials or techniques I used, let me know. I love to answer questions!

Vial People Travel the USA

Remember these little people? I make them from the vials my eye drops come in. I’ve shown you how I create them back in this post from a year or so ago. Since that time I’ve assembled a lot of them and they have gone places.

These people are part of a group who have left Pennsylvania and are now living in California by way of North Carolina. What do you think about that?

Trying out a new persona

You may remember some earlier figures I made of papier mache.

Their creation was an outgrowth of the techniques I learned in various Tiny House classes, specifically, using papier mache. Like these small houses.

In both these cases I created the structure, applied papier mache, and then painted with acrylics.

The idea struck me that I could try something different. I could use the paper itself not only as the method of covering the structure but as the decorative element itself. I tried it out on this lady here. She is built the same way as the figures above but “dressed” in dictionary and magazine print. Her face and feet are from a grocery bag. She’s about 8-9″ tall.

I really think I’m on to something here, figurine-wise. I found it much easier to construct a look I liked in this one-step process as opposed to painting later on. I think I will have a wider range of choices about how the figure looks.

Hmmm, I thought. Next step – try it with some of the papers I have created myself.

Here are some more views: