Monday, January 11, 2010

January Pandoras meeting

Today was our January meeting of the Pandoras, my local fiber art group. It happened to fall on Grace’s birthday, so of course we had to have cake! Fluffy white cake with cream cheese frosting and lemon curd… yum! Grace’s husband interrupted our meeting every 10 minutes with a phone text message saying “Happy Birthday!” Very sweet, don’t you think? I love this photo of Grace, showing the cute little gap between her front teeth. She is very fun-loving and has the most amazing laugh. Happy Birthday, my dear friend!

Here is Grace in a more serious mode (below), working with watercolor pencils and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble Crayons crayons on fabric. She is experimenting with using them on one of her orchid pieces she is doing for our Fiber Art Options group exhibition next month. While we usually work on the same project (picked out by the host), this month we brought our own things and just worked side by side.

Michele worked on this lovely beaded fish piece. She’s done several of these beaded buttons, and they are to die for! Michele works in a very eclectic mix of needle arts… quilting, beading, needlepoint, doll-making…

Meanwhile, Alisan and I tried out Creative PaperClay for the first time, and followed instructions by Elaine Thomas in the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine to make folk art Valentines. (You can see Elaine’s wonderful work on her blog, her Flickr account, and her Etsy shop.)

Here’s how mine looked after I shaped the clay. The heart is built around molded aluminum foil, so it is very light. I’ll post photos of it once it is dry and painted so you can see how it turns out.

I really liked working with PaperClay. When I was in college, I made some pieces in porcelain clay while working at a YMCA camp during the summer. This has a similar feel, but has a little more spring or flexibility to it. It does not need to be fired, but simply air dries, and can then be sanded and smoothed before painting. It can even be wet again and re-worked somewhat.

I enjoy working three-dimensionally… guess I had forgotten how much. Must… resist… temptation… focus, focus!

Another embroidery piece

Last summer, I embroidered a piece I called Petri Dish Promenade. It was done on a piece of white fabric I had batiked with soy wax, and then dyed. I still have not decided what to do with it, but I’m leaning toward making a simply-quilted background and stitching it to that, rather than trimming it in any way (after some of my fiber art friends who saw it were aghast at the thought).

A few months ago, I decided to start another similar piece, this time using a piece of clamp-dyed shibori fabric I dyed last year. The black-and-white background gives quite a different effect, much starker. It is 18" x 20". And this time, I’m working with squares, diamonds and angles – quite different from the circles in Petri. It’s still in progress; I’m working now on the red patch at the bottom right.

I’m using all different weights of threads and flosses by many different manufacturers. The stringy bits are actually the threads that came out of my dryer after I washed quilting fabric (mostly hand-dyeds) for the first time. And a bit of hand-dyed silk hankie here and there.

I just love the simple hand stitching and French knots.

When I’m not working on a needleturn appliqué project, this is what I take to my kid’s soccer practice, piano lesson, dentist’s appointments, etc., to keep me busy. In between, it lives here (on top of this adorable child’s toy dresser) in this beautiful African basket:

I made the liner using a pattern by Clothesline Quilts. Inside is a little quilted bag with all my shreddy fabric bits:

… and below that, some of my embroidery threads: