Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cedar Swamp photo by Mary Kay Baum

Cedar Swamp #1 (7" mounted on 10" wood block)

Mary Kay Baum is my cousin who takes beautiful nature photography in her spare time.  She has led and is leading an interesting full life.  Click on her name to see some of her photos and to see what her real passion is along with her two younger sisters.

One of her photos inspired me to do a series of artworks.  I had this photograph in my studio for awhile, not knowing what to do with it.   In October 2011 I took a class with Sue Benner, a well known, highly respected mixed meda artist.  In this class we brought photos that inspired us, that we wanted to do something with.  I chose the Cedar Swamp photo by Mary Kay.  In Sue's class I learned more on creating  abstracts from nature.  I have taken other classes in the past from other talented women on abstraction (Yvonne Porcella and Cynthia Corbin), but sometimes you get stuck and need a refresher. 

There are four small studies, of which I only show 2 here, the other 2 are unworthy of completion (in my opinion).  #1 is shown above. 

Starting out small I made 4 small abstract versions about 7 inches square.  Some of my favorite fabrics are the rust dyed and in silk dyed with black walnuts.  When I dyed this silk fabric it really didn't take the walnut coloring, but sitting in the dye pot for about a week it developed mold on the fabric .  Luckily for me I loved the look of the mold blotches and it stayed in the fabric when I washed it.  This is used in the sky and the foreground. 

Cedar Swamp #2 (7" mounted on 10" wood block)

Cedar Swamp #2 is similar to #1, duh.  That was obvious.  You can see the tree in the mid-ground and the foreground are also rust dyed with tannin which gives it the beautiful greys.  Both of these pieces are heavily quilted, which you can't see in these photos.

Cedar Swamp #3 11"w x 14" h (unmounted)
Cedar Swamp #3 was fragmented and reassembled.  Although it hardly looks like the others, I like it and I think that's all that matters.  This one has some velveteen that has discharge markings as well as more of the rust-dyed fabric and other miscellany.
Then, on to #4 which is the largest to date.  This piece contains more of the same fabrics.  You can see in the first view the process used for all of the series was to fuse the fabric pieces down to the batting until I was satisfied with the composition.  
It doesn't look like much at this point, other than the dark of the sky at the very top and the rock type shapes at the bottom as the foreground.  In the mid-range I imagined the horizon.  I worked on the tabletop surface, pressing to fuse at this point. 
This is the overlay of trees using several discharge dyed fabrics along with some of the rust dyed.

Cedar Swam #4. Finished size is 22"w x 31"h, unmounted.
  All pieces are heavily stitched and bound with a facing.  This is #4 completed.   Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

See 'Nevermore' at the Waukesha Civic Theatre

Nevermore by Pat Bishop, part of the exhibit, "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
 "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", an exhibit by the Fiber Artists Coalition is now on display at the Waukesha Civic Theatre in Waukesha's historic downtown.  This exhibit is up through February 22, 2012.

The Fiber Artists Coalition is a group of fiber artists from the midwest, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan.  For more information and to see more of the art quilts on display click on the link on the left sidebar of this blog, the fourth one down is the Fiber Artists Coaltion blog for a peak at more of the quilts on display. 

To learn more about all the artists who are members of the Fiber Artists Coalition check out our website.

For information on the Waukesha Civic Theatre click here for directions and to see what else is happening at the theatre.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's happening in the studio?

The week after Christmas was spent partially in my studio, cleaning out non-related 'stuff' like yarn, paring down the books, tearing down all the notes stuck to the window frame, clearing off the work table, putting away non-essentials.  From this photo it doesn't look that clean, but it really is  a major improvement.  It cleared my head and helped me focus on what I needed to concentrate on. 
After cleaning up I made some last minute Christmas gifts - eight snack bags.  Yes, I know, these were made 'after' Christmas, but they were Christmas presents. These turned out great, really cute and I need to make some more.  They were quite simple, quick and non-irritating.  I started work on a commission that is just about finished as of today.  I'm anxious to get back to finishing my Cedar Swamp large piece.  I really love how its turning out and its almost done.  See?  This is the fourth in my Cedar Swamp series, and the largest.  My cousin, Mary Kay Baum took a photo of Cedar Swamp, which was owned by my grandparents and is now owned by my cousins.  The photo was so inspiring, though this representation, looks nothing like it.