Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Felt Slippers - Round 1

Last Christmas, while visiting in-laws in Illinois, my mother in-law showed me a felt slipper pattern in Martha Stewart magazine.  I thought it was pretty neat, and since then have had it in the back of my mind for something to try.  Over the summer, a coworker of mine gave me a fleece from her flock of sheep, and I said to her, "I'll make you some slippers!".  Well, a year since I saw the pattern, and 6 months since given the fleece, I'm finally going to make good on my promise.

In the summer I washed, dyed, and carded the fiber:

Willie sporting a sexy shaved leg post ACL surgery.  Poor guy!

Carded wool

In the fall I wet-felted the fiber and tried some physical resist dyeing techniques:
All tied up and ready for dyeing

Each side was very different!

Two weeks ago I cut the felt into pieces using a pattern.  There was enough for two pairs of slippers:

I tried using my sewing machine to stitch some patterns into the felt, but broke three needles before deciding it was just too thick for that type of technique.  Henry helped me prep some fiber I used for needle felting the seams.
Felting assistant
 And here are the finished slippers.  They are extremely thick and feel pretty luxurious on bare feet.  One pair for my coworker, and one pair for...?!  You'll find out after Christmas!  Hope the recipients like them!

The slipper on the right has some machine stitching, but I gave up on that before getting to the other slipper.  I guess that makes them truly one of a kind, right?

(Belated) Show Update

Here are a few pictures from my show in New Hampshire a few months ago.  It was a fun experience.   Most of these works are now for sale in my Etsy shop, as well as on display at the Emile Gruppe Gallery (thanks, Mom!)!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Something to Remember Me

One of my mentors from my college days at UVM is moving on to another position out of state.  I attribute her with piquing my interest in aquatic ecosystems, and she also hired the man into her lab that eventually became my husband.  So, needless to say, she's had a big influence on my life.  I stopped by the other day to say goodbye, and gave her this Gyotaku fabric/rice paper collage to remember me by.  The fish are printed on rice paper, and sewed onto a back drop of very light rice paper that I tinted with watercolor.  A piece of orange fabric with bubbly blue dots underlies the entire piece.

The little fish are smelt that once lived in Lake Champlain.  I embellished them with some beads.  The big fish lurking in the corner is a Brook Trout that once lived in the ECHO Lake Aquarium.  It's giant for a Brook Trout, and is posing as a Lake Trout to be more lake ecosystem appropriate.

These are my chops and signature.  The square cop translates to "Water Art and Life", and the circular chop represents the stylized initials of myself and Brian.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Show of My Own

I haven't posted here in a while, but it's because I've been busy.  For the past four months I've been spending most of my "free" moments (which are very few and far between) working on new pieces for my first ever show of my artwork.  Exciting!

Although the show is a pretty low key affair in a cafe in a state I don't even live in, it's kind of a big deal to me.  Besides being the first public display of my work, the process of generating a body of work for a specific purpose within a finite time frame was a new experience for me.  It was satisfying to set a goal and reach it.

This show will feature all Gyotaku pieces.  My new work is Gyotaku fabric collage and rice paper collage.  My SDA critique group is primarily comprised of artists working with fabric, and their work and ideas have served as fuel for new directions in my own work.  Here are some pictures of some of my new creations:

I called this one "summer school".  It is comprised of three 8 X 11 panels.  I created it as one piece and then cut it into sections, sewed a border on each, and stretchd them over wooden stretchers. This was my first experiment with Gyotaku fabric collage.  Much of it is machine stitched, but there is also some hand stitching on the fish, which are yellow perch.  All of the material except for the green is from a stash of fabric in my mothers closet that has accumulated from projects over the years.  It was fun to remember some of the clothing, quilts, and other projects from my childhood rummaging through these fabrics.

Some detail of each of the panels:

I call this 10 X 10 collage "The Blues" - again featuring a school of yellow perch.  The background is silk offered up from an SDA critique group member's stash.  As soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect for water. 

Some detail:

This one was originally going to be two panels, but many people who saw it in progress encouraged me to keep it whole.  I call it "Yushoku", which is the Japanese word for "dinner".  I quilted the background and added several beads to the fish and other elements.

 This one is an 11X14 called "Ghosts in CPOM".  When I told my husband Brian the name, he said "Wow, that's nerdy".  He was referring to the fact that CPOM is an acronym commonly used in the aquatic ecology world for "coarse particulate organic matter".  AKA little bits of leaves and wood you find in the stream environment that serve as a food source and habitat for macroinvertebrates and other creatures.  Yeah, I guess its kind of nerdy, but this is what the leaves in the background fabric reminded me of -- what the bottom of a pool or the edge of a lake might look like in fall, with ghostly fish slithering by.  And I like a name that needs a little explanation - and something that draws the science into the art.

This one is also an 11 X 14 and called "We Are Family (Percidae)".  Also a bit nerdy, I suppose -- all of the fish are from the family Percidae.  Actually truth be known, they're all yellow perch.  But when I was working on this piece, in my head I was singing along with Sister Sledge, "I got all my sisters...".

This is the last fabric collage piece - a small 8 X 10.  I call it "tradition" given the black and white color theme with red details.  It doesn't show well in the photo, but the background is actually two different shades of white and heavily quilted.

In addition to these new fabric collage pieces, I also created some rice paper collages using similar techniques.  These all feature yellow perch, my favorite species of fish to print.

The show will also have a few more "traditional" fish prints and some of my colorful batik prints.  This rockbass is one of my favorites.

So, in case you find yourself in Rocherster New Hampshire the month of September, stop by the Portable Pantry and check out my work!  Details can be found here: