Sunday, July 13, 2008

DeLane’s “Four Pieces Project”

WARNING: DeLane, if you are reading this, go away! Spoiler Alert!

Tomorrow is the July meeting of the Pandoras (a group of four fiber artists dedicated to thinking and working outside of the box), and our annual dye party. It is always a blast. It is also the unveiling of DeLane's Four Pieces Project. For this group project, we each selected a photo, enlarged it to 16x24", and cut it into four pieces. You could cut horizontally, vertically, or any which way, as long as all the pieces were about the same number of square inches.

Then each person in the group gets a section. We were to recreate it at the same size, using any technique we wanted. The only rules were:

1. You had to use colors fairly close to those in the photo (no purple grass, for instance).
2. You had to use techniques or materials that would challenge you, or that you had not used before. It's that thinking-outside-of-the-box thing.
3. You could threadpaint past the edges of the photo, but you couldn't quilt past them. This was so that the owner could stitch all the pieces back together to create a cohesive image at the end.
4. You had to come to the meeting prepared to share your work, and talk about what you enjoyed (and hated) about the process of making it.

My photo was one I took in New Hampshire, a closeup shot of ferns. I got three of my four pieces back a few months ago (one of our members has had family issues that have not permitted her to finish some of the group projects lately). When I have all four pieces, I'll post a photo of them. It was so interesting to see how each Pandora recreated her section in a completely unique way. And they still looked so great together.

DeLane's photo features a statue of a pig in her springtime garden. Here's the section of the photo I was assigned. The whitish bit on the left is the start of the pig's rump:

And here is my section, which I made by drawing with water soluable wax pastels (and then wetting them to get a water-color look), then defining details with black thread and permanent Sharpie markers:

It's funny how photographic it looks now that it is done. I didn't do the darks as dark as in the photo, but I rather liked how it came out. One of the challenges I set myself was doing the thread work only in black. It gives it a harsh, graphic quality I like.

New stuff I love

I am totally in love with this new mechanical pencil (above) by Bohin, a French notions company. I had been using the Clover mechanical pencil, which left a nice narrow line, but the leads broke constantly when I pressed hard enough to leave a dark mark. When tracing around designs for needleturn applique, it is best to have a thin, dark line, and I think I've tried just about every marker there is. This is the best yet. I think this is a fairly new product. I tried it out at the Quilt Market this May, and loved it. I ordered mine online, because I have not seen any at local quilt shops yet. (I always try to buy locally when I can; have to keep those quilt shops going to support my habit, right?)

Here are the lead replacement packs. Leads come in white, yellow, green and silver gray, so there's something to mark light and dark fabrics.

I also adore their applique needles, which are very sharp and thin. I got some number nine long ones, and number 11 regular ones.

With the paper cutting I've been doing for my studio journals class, I got out my X-Acto knives and discovered they were a bit grungy and not very sharp. I bought this beauty by Martha Stewart at Michaels. You turn the part at the bottom to loosen and replace the blade. The handle is a bit squishy, more ergonomic than the X-Acto, and so much lovlier!

And this is the front of the journal I'm using for my class. I bought it at Barnes & Noble. It has perforated pages, so you can remove pages if you really hate what you did, or if you need to reduce some bulk because of all the stuff you've pasted inside. It was designed by Lindsay Neilson, an M.F.A. in fashion design (2006) at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD).

According to the information on the back of the journal, it is a project of Working Class Studio, a "product development venture of SCAD. Each academic quarter, students are selected as interns to form an interdisciplinary design team led by studio directors. Based on the team's market research and designs, the studio manufacturers a line of products which are then sold nationwide. This innovative concept for an educational institution marries function and fine art to deliver a well-curated mix of cutting-edge design. The ever-expanding collection includes striking journals, stationery, pillows and housewares in a contemporary palette."

What a neat idea... a great way for students to get exposure and to learn about the process of taking a design through the production process.

What a birthday party!

I just had to share a few photos of an amazing birthday party my neighbors down the street had for their 8-year-old son yesterday. They built a giant robot pinata (about 10 feet tall!) out of cardboard, and filled it with paper mache bombs packed with candy. I did not witness the destruction of the robot with a wooden bat (that would have been too sad!), but I understand that the kids had a blast, and no one was seriously injured. Except the robot, of course.

The creative geniuses behind this extravaganza are Dave and Kelly Sopp, owners of Wry Baby, a company that sells some of the most creative and warped baby stuff you can imagine. If you are looking for a baby shower gift that will stand out from all the cute pastel onsies everyone else is giving, look no further!

On the porch of their historic home, which Dave and Kelly are in the process of restoring inside and out, Kelly set out a nostalgic-looking spread of healthy and not-so-healthy goodies, including lemonade in big glass dispensers and sandwiches wrapped up in butcher's paper like you get at a good deli.

After they knocked the stuffing out of the robot, the kids went out back to play baseball and swing on an old-fashioned wooden tree swing.

What a party!