Monday, August 30, 2010

Art Mimics Nature

Art takes nature as its model. (Aristotle)

Often artists get inspiration from nature. I find that to be true when I am dying fabrics and ribbons. Color schemes are nature oriented and in this example I show some shibori dyed ribbon that mimics a flicker feather.

A while back my friend Linda and I had driven to Big Sur where I delivered some of my dyed scarves to the Local Color Gallery. After lunch we decided to walk the Andrew Molera State Park Headlands Trail. The trail snakes through ancient oaks, a meadow of native grasses and vines, ending where the river creates a lagoon and flows into the ocean. Along the path you pass a cabin that boasts to be the oldest standing structure on Big Sur's coast. This property was a successful dairy in the late 1800's so the paths have names like "Creamery Meadow Trail".

As we walked along I spied some downy feathers and soon came upon this Northern Flicker wing. The body of the bird was off to the side. I assume it was attacked by another predatory animal. I am known to collect feathers, seashells, and acorns so of course I picked this wing up and carried it home.

I soaked the wing in salt water for several days to kill any mites and when I was looking it over in my studio I realized I had dyed some ribbon that was similar in color and the shibori technique creates the chevron pattern that looks like the pattern of the flicker's.

I truly think artists must observe nature and get their inspiration from it. How else would one create?

Often I dye something the color of bark, the blue of a robin's egg, the color of a terra cotta pot, and many autumn leaves. Once I visited my sister in Colorado and brought home some rocks I collected in the mountains that were colors of grays, rusts and tans. I warp painted silk yarns in these colors, wove the fabric and made a series of vests from it.

Nature has been mastering itself for some time now, and it is an honor to be able to capture its beauty. (Justin Beckett)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Road Home From Sedona and Songs

Leaving Sedona with Bakersfield as my destination to spend the night I was in awe of the scenery. Those pillars of weathered red rock, Bell Tower, and the Vortex make this a magical place. After leaving the hills I was driving through the desert landscape again. I would see nothing for miles and then pass small towns where I wondered what people who lived there did. You could see the green areas surrounding these towns where water must be but is it piped in from somewhere else or is there a deep well, an oasis if you will? I passed abandoned cafes and one bar I swear with nothing around it for miles called "The Honolulu Club". I wish I could have stopped to take a picture but I flew by before I could think to stop. Maybe that's why it didn't succeed, no one could stop in time.

I thought of music again, songs that I play on the CD player as I drive along and often times sing with at the top of my lungs. I thought of the Native Americans who used to inhabit this land and I shoved the Indigo Girls "Rites of Passage" CD in and sing ..... " I used to search for reservations and native lands before I realized everywhere I stand there have been tribal feet running wild as fire some past life sister of my desire"..........

I come upon signs for Lake Havasu and then I see a sign saying "London Bridge" and an arrow. I'm driving and couldn't snap a shot but did get this one and put my own sign on. Hear this song to relate. Sort of. Well they mention London Bridge.

I was traveling on 40 West and saw signs for Flagstaff, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino ..... well of course 40 parallels Route 66.

As I crossed the state line of course we have to go through inspection stations, "where are you coming from" "Sedona" "do you have any fresh fruit or plants?" "No" "Okay have a nice day". But I was in a line I had to wait a while because there was an Olympic Racing Sailboat being towed in front of me with Massachusetts plates. They did a thorough inspections under the boat, around all the sides, etc. I wonder where that boat had been.

As I head farther north and west in California I start seeing corn fields and then the orchards, cherries, almonds, peaches, apricots. Closer to Gilroy I see some fields of flowers and roses. And then I'm almost home.

My journey is over and now I'm planning my next one which will be a long airplane ride to Paris.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Joanne's "Poetry In Motion" Duster Jacket

I mentioned at one point about having been commissioned by a friend to "upcycle" a jacket for her. She sent me the garment and it reminded me of a classy "smoking" jacket to wear around the house. Golden satin with a pointed lapel and little fake flap pockets with matching fabric covered buttons. I removed all the buttons, removed the flaps, and cut the collar off. Next I began draping fabrics and laces I might want to use over the shoulders. I actually sewed many of these down using a machine and pinned the yoyo's on, then stepped back to take a good hard look and decided this looked like a clown suit. Geez, what was I thinking? I was very unhappy with this.

I fretted and wrote friends for advice and meditated on it a bit then I took the seam ripper to it and started over. Once I muted the palette and took a different design approach it all came together wonderfully and I was very pleased. I used silk fabrics I had painted faux script on and used that as inspiration. Upon completion I called this "Poetry in Motion".

I gave the garment to Joanne at Art Unraveled and I think I saw some tears well up in her eyes which made me feel very good and relieved that she liked it so much.

I regret that I didn't get any pics of her wearing it and I had the opportunity. When we met Jennifer, Angie, Martha, and Fran for dinner she had it on and it was the perfect photo op but I didn't have my camera with me. Sigh. Anyway here are some snapshots I took before I packed it up and hopefully Joanne may post some pictures of it after she gets back home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Part II of Road trip to Phoenix-Art Unraveled

After arriving in Phoenix on Thursday I had an uneventful evening with a well needed rest. Friday after breakfast Jennifer and I took off to SAS fabrics. This year we went to the one on Indian School road because we found out it's air conditioned (what a concept). It's not as large as the one on 19th but that store doesn't have AC and believe me in Phoenix in Aug. it's much more pleasant to shop where it's cool.

After purchasing many bargains of fabrics, trims ($1.00 a spool/bag), and sundries we took off in search of a bottle opener and silicone spray. Both items should have been easy to find but really we went to several places before we found either of them.

Finally arrived back at the hotel where I thought I would mix dyes for the class on Sunday but decided I needed to rest more since I had a class that evening. Drawing Lab with Carla Sonheim. Fun drawing exercises to get you going. I'm posting some of the things I did and hope this doesn't discourage anyone from taking classes with her. BTW she is offering an online class. Note that these little drawings were done quickly, some with my left hand, some by not letting the pencil leave the paper, some by just scribbling the shape of object in. I was wanting to jumpstart back into drawing and this really did help me.

Saturday I was up early to set up my vendor booth. I always get keyed up for these events and it's helpful when people actually come buy your wares and especially for me when a garment finds the perfect home. For instance on this lovely and sweet young woman. Could this dress fit her more perfectly???

Here are a few more samples of items I sold.

Me in my booth.

After vendor day was over and I had packed everything back to my room, Jennifer & I had some dinner (and well deserved adult beverage) and then I spend a couple of hours mixing the dyes for class the next day. The class was successful and I posted the results in an earlier post. "wayward blooms to dye for" and I think they are!

Monday morning I got my car packed up (again). I have to broadcast that the hotel staff at the Embassy Suites in Paradise Valley are the best!! They are always so helpful. They know me now and not one of them goes running when they see me arrive. It's a good indication of their compassion to help.

Around noon I was headed for Sedona to spend a couple days with dear friends.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First Leg of My Road Trip to Phoenix in Songs

As I left home with my car all packed and only room for me as the passenger seat was also full of stuff I headed toward LA. I was to meet my friend Sharla to have a beer, a swim, and some dinner in that order. I always think of this song when I take off because I know I'll be on the highway "Out with the truckers, and the kickers and the cowboy angels".

Leaving the 5 to get on the 210 on the outskirts of LA as I took the ramp and rounded the bend I hit gridlock. I thought I was making good time but then it took over 2 hours to go 90 miles. Pasadena to San Bernadino and on into Redlands to spend the night. During this slow trek this song came to mind "I've come a long way, I've come a long way, I've gone 500 miles today, I've come a long way, I've come a long way and never even left LA". Now I digress but want to call your attention to the fact that in Southern California highways are called "the". The 10, the 405, the 210. Somewhere along the way I have picked this up. In Missouri growing up it was highway 67, etc. In Texas it is Interstate 35 or I35, etc. When I moved to California I just said "you get on 880" but now it's "the" 880. I said I was digressing sorry, now back to LA. I stayed in a decent hotel with a fabulous hole in the wall Mexican food establishment (they seem to be the best) next door. The hotel had free beer and wine so I grabbed some tacos to go and a Stella Artois from the bar and went back to my room to savor.

My friend Sharla did not show as she came down with an awful sore throat. I missed her but did not need to get her germs either. (Sharla, I still love you!) I headed out bright and early the next morning to get on "the" 10 and head to Phoenix. Again "Grievous Angel" came to mind and of course this song as I saw the signs to Tonapah.

As the scenery changed and the cactus appeared on the hillsides this song from an old favorite band, The Austin Lounge Lizards, began playing in my head.

I made it to Paradise Valley and checked into my hotel room with no mishaps and then met my friend Jennifer and we had a beer in the bar before she took off to have dinner with a friend and I retired to my room.

More to come with next post.

Friday, August 13, 2010

wayward blooms class at Art Unraveled

I started a travelogue of sorts when I ventured out on the road from my mountain top home to Phoenix to teach at Art Unraveled and to vend. I want to edit my writings before I post it here and I need to find time to download all my photos to post along with. For now I will show samples of the flowers created in the "wayward blooms" class Jennifer Whitmer and I co-taught. I think everyone was pleased at their beautiful creations!

I'm sorry I don't have names to go with particular flowers. Well to be honest I know very few names of the students who were in the class. But I do remember faces!! If you are reading this and one of these flowers is yours let me know.

Every time I teach new people to dye cloth I am amazed at the enthusiasm! Really once the magic of coloring silks captures you, you just want to do more and more, try different techniques and colors to see what the end result it. I wonder if I should put disclaimers on my handouts "Dyeing can be addictive"?

I was thrilled at the beauty of these and hope to be able to teach this class again in the future.