Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tiny Works in Paint and Stitch

Working tiny is so satisfying. 
Below are a few Spring inspired tiny projects I've been working on in both paint and stitch...

Little bird and bunny studies I did around Easter.

Some pretty little embroidered beads with cornflower blue flowers.

A little mouse house complete with a mushroom chimney.

Another trio of pretty little beads, this time with pink blooms against an aqua background.

Four little imaginary birds, each perched inside their own 2" x 2" square.
(I think they each reflected the mood I was in when I painted them.)

More spring time blossoming beads. 
Obviously, this style with the flowering vines are fast becoming my favorites to make!

                                 And if Mrs Mouse gets a house, then so does Ms. Ladybug!

And speaking of tiny...

When my youngest daughter came home for Easter she asked me to accompany her in getting her first tattoo. She had been thinking for sometime about getting these words, "You inspire me." placed on her arm. They come from a letter written to her, about her, by my father when she was 8 years old and shortly before he passed away from cancer. She has carried that letter with her ever since, holding on to the lovely things he spoke to her in his written words. The tattoo artist captured my father's handwriting precisely, right down to the tiny hook on the "u" and that tiny curl on the "s". I was beyond honored to be asked to witness this. I know that when my dad wrote those words to her, he hoped with all his heart that they would whisper his love for her, for all the passing years she would grow up without him around. Now they truly are a part of her, and I think he too, would be honored.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fabric Beads 1, 2, 3, and 4

Real job and real life seem to keep encroaching on real studio time, and often by night time when all the must do's are done, I just want to sit on the couch with a heating pad behind me and a blanket over me. Happily though I am able to stay creative while relaxing by stitching up some of my fabric beads. 

I've been focusing on four styles...

Style #1 are these assorted Hand Quilted Fabric Beads made from various Japanese Chirimen fabrics, shown above and below.

One of the keys to a successful fabric bead, (at least in regards to the type that I make) is to take one's time to carefully build up the edges with layer upon layer of stitching. Doing so creates a solidly sculpted shape. 

Here you can see the stitched edges of the beads as well as a peek at their inner fabric core lining. 

Style #2 are these Frayed Fabric Beads...

Unlike Styles 1, 3, and 4, which basically follows the construction method outlined in my 
Quilted Fabric Beads PDF Tutorial Pattern, this style of bead uses a different method that I am just starting to play around with.

However they still utilize the same sculpting method of building up the edges with lots of slow stitched layers.

Style #3 focuses on beads inspired by the rough patching and stitching of Japanese Boro...

Made from bits of shot cotton, the beads feature lots of rough hand stitching while wrapped bands of heavily stitched strips act as my boro inspired patches.

The bands of stitched fabric strips give each bead it's own unique "figure" and shape.

I like to think of each one of these beads as little sculpted works of textile art.

While doing these boro inspired style beads, I started morphing them into my 4th style.

This bead above and the one below show a bit of the morphing where I am beginning to incorporate more "pretty" embroidery stitching into these previously rougher stitched boro inspired ones.

And then finally, in Style #4, I have started embellishing the beads with just the "pretty" embroidery stitches as shown below...

I've just begun making beads in this 4th style, and need to play around with different stitches to see what I can come up with, but I really enjoyed doing these simple little flowing vines and always love making french knots.

I generally make the beads in two sizes as reflected below...

And that's the fun of having various styles... one of these styles always seems to fit my mood! If you'd like to see which beads are currently for sale you can go here. Note that some of the beads shown have already sold, and that as time allows I will hopefully be listing more beads. And who knows, maybe more styles and variations will emerge.

Oh, and while I like to just wear 1 or 3 on a ball chain or a cord, here's a more decorative necklace that I made using some of my Japanese Chirimen beads as well as little colored glass beads and vintage buttons...

(I would love to have enough to make a bohemian beaded door curtain, but I don't think that is going to happen any time soon... or ever. That's would take a whole lot of beads!)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Yesterday was an honor and a privilege and a day that I will never forget. So grateful to have experienced it with women I love and admire. Here are a few photos...

It began with a blurry but happy photo of myself and my sister, (who came all the way from Texas) on the bus at 6am, excited to begin.

After arriving, we all walked to the metro which would get us to the march and the speakers. On the way we passed this amazing woman who joyfully reminded us of the strength and ability that so many women of this world possess.

Here I am with my wonderful daughters and my one daughter's good friend. All three of these young women are shining examples of strong, intelligent, creative, kind, responsible, and passionate people. It was such an honor to be with them and share this experience. At this point we had been standing and listening to the speakers for several hours. There were so many people... old and young, women, men, children... that we actually were unable to march for some time. It took a good 90 minutes, (maybe more?) for there to be enough movement at the opposite end of the march, to trickle down and allow us to unpack ourselves like sardines and begin marching, too. Despite this, the crowd remained kind, peaceful and supportive towards one another. I was in awe.

We now are marching up Independence Ave. These are the folks behind me.

Loved the artistry and message in this political poster.

I wanted to capture the protest with the flag in the background. It's a simple visual reminder that this America belongs to all of us, (as this poster also emphasizes, Wahine being the Polynesian word for women. I had to look that up, but now I know). It is the government's responsibility to listen to, represent and care for all of its people, not just a select few.

I'm not sure where we go from here except that we must keep going. We must stay active in having our voices heard. For some it may mean becoming active in their local and state politics. For others, such as myself, it will be to continually call their representatives, on a daily basis if need-be, and certainly a more then once a week basis, to insure our voices and concerns are heard. The number of people that came out to march yesterday, in DC, around the United States and across every continent brought me to tears. To see such goodness and compassion for our sister and fellow beings gives me great hope in an otherwise very scary time.