Archive for the ‘challenges’ Category

Postcard exchange-May

For this exchange I made a postcard on the circus theme. I had trouble coming up with an idea for this one, because I didn’t want to do your basic big top tent or clown or anything like that, and I really liked the Ring of Fire piece that had been given in March for the circus theme. I considered an elephant of some sort, but wasn’t real inspired by that idea, so I tried to think of the more unusual parts of circuses and thought of the sideshow. My first though with a sideshow is the bearded lady or the strong man, but then I thought of the song Lydia the Tattooed Lady (which is all my mom’s fault because she likes to start singing it at me because of my tattoo), and that was an idea I could get behind. So I was thinking I would do a piece with some sort of tattoo design across it, maybe something geometric/tribal looking, and I took to the internet to find ideas. I didn’t find any geometric designs I liked but I did find some pictures of actual tattooed ladies and got some ideas from them. Then I was trying to decide what to use as the background to look like skin, and I realized that I have some leather I could work and leather actually is skin. After a moment to get over the slight yuck factor from that thought (it doesn’t seem gross until you really think about it, does it?), I got excited and started drawing. So, here are pictures of the whole process!

The postcards exchanged were again really awesome, and mine was well-received. A couple were exchanged at the April meeting, because the makers couldn’t wait to give them away :-), so I’ll include those in with the rest from May.

Calm was a very popular theme this time, and I can’t wait to see what people make next! At this point, I don’t have a plan for my next post, but I have a few projects in the works, so I’ll have to post about those as they get worked on. Worst case scenario, I’ll post the next exchange in July!

Advertisements

Postcard exchange-March

The new project that the Designing Quilters group is working on is an exchange of what we’re calling fiber postcards. Everyone who was interested in taking part in the exchange chose a theme that we wanted postcards made for us on, for example my theme is fractals, my mom’s theme is stitch, etc. Then we went around and everyone who is participating in the exchange got to choose six themes to make postcards for. We have to have one postcard done every other month, although several people have gotten way ahead, and we exchange the ones people have finished at those meetings (theoretically each person only brings one postcard to each exchange to give away, but those who have been working ahead often bring more). The postcards all have to be 5″x7″ and when we chose themes we had the option to choose if we wanted all the cards in the same orientation or not, although only two people requested a specific orientation. Other than that, there weren’t really any restrictions set, and it has been really fun seeing all the variations! I will split the postcards up based on each exchange, and since the first exchange was in March, I’ll post about those first.

The first theme that I made a postcard for was Calm. It took me a while to come up with a way to represent calm, since the things that make me feel calm (rock music, storms, the ocean, etc) tend not to appear calm on the surface, and things that look calm tend to make me fidgety. I had recently had an idea for a piece based on something my mom has told me several times in the past, which is that I am like a rock, calm and steady, which makes me laugh because that is not at all how I feel inside. So I had been thinking about doing something, possibly an embroidery piece, basically showing the contrast between how I feel inside and how I look outside. This made me think of how, especially in very chaotic situations, I have noticed that calm can sort of spread out from one person or point. So I decided to do an embroidered postcard where the background is full of all kinds of overlapping designs and looks incredibly chaotic but there is a ripple of calm spreading out from the center. The recipient of my postcard said she sees it as everything being sucked into the calm, which works just as well for me! Here are process pictures.

The other postcards were all really awesome. I tried to get good pictures of all of them, but we set them out on a table as we got there so there was a lot of coming and going as people set down new ones and picked up ones that were already there to look at them, so hopefully you can see them all.

That’s everything from the March exchange. We just exchanged more in May, so I will post about those, and some that were brought to the April meeting, tomorrow.

Favorite Holiday ATCs

Our final set of ATCs was originally going to be on the self portrait theme, but there wasn’t much enthusiasm in the group for that, so we changed it. We finally decided on the theme of favorite holidays. This one was kind of tricky for me because the closest thing I have to a favorite holiday is Christmas, and other than that I don’t especially care about most holidays, and we had already done Christmas themed cards. Thanksgiving was another option but I wasn’t thrilled or inspired by that idea, so I decided to try and come up with something unique. Everybody has days that are important specifically to them and feel more like holidays than “official” holidays, so I decided to think out what one of those is for me and do that. I considered my birthday, but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about my own birthday since about age 13 and choosing someone else’s birthday as my favorite holiday seemed weird. Then it occurred to me. My favorite holiday is the day that Andy came home from the hospital for the last time and we could finally focus on getting him back to healthy and getting our life back on track. For those who may not know, my husband (then boyfriend) Andy was diagnosed with Leukemia in December of 2011, and spent 8 months undergoing intensive chemotherapy, most of that time while also being stuck in the hospital. I decided to call this holiday Remission Day, and got thinking.

I decided that this was another time that my usual more pictorial style wouldn’t work, and I wanted to try to use inkle weaving to make the card, so I decided on an abstract design meant to show the feeling of moving from darkness and doom (because I can’t think of a less melodramatic way to say it right now), back into the light and adventure of every day life. So I warped up my loom with thread moving from black and browns into the brighter colors of reds and greens, but with a few blacks thrown in there because life isn’t all happiness and joy. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, at least that I can find, while I was working, so you don’t get any process pictures this time, sorry. 😦

There was a big range of holidays chosen, and the cards were all really cool, as usual. Some of the more unusual holidays included Holi, an Indian festival that involves throwing colored pigments, National Procrastination Day, and the Festival of Broken Needles, which is apparently a holiday specifically for seamstresses! There were plenty of more standard holidays as well, of course, including Independence Day, Arbor Day, and Halloween/Valentine’s Day (she couldn’t decide on one so she combined them!). Here are all the pictures.

Looking through my pictures I realized that I have 7 of these cards when I should only have 6… one must be my mother’s that I borrowed for taking a picture and haven’t gotten back to her, woops! This was the last group of ATCs, so next up I’ll post some wedding stuff, and then I’ll post about the Designing Quilter’s current project, a postcard exchange!

Fall ATCs

Remember when I said I would post about the fall ATCs soon? Obviously that didn’t happen, sorry. But seeing as my mother is the person who has been pestering me most to update again, and tomorrow is mother’s day, I figured now is as good a time as any to start posting again! And school is done, so I suddenly have more free time. First, the post about the fall ATC exchange, then more about life in general, and soon more posts about ATCs, my wedding dress (!) and new projects. This time I promise those posts will come soon, cause I’m going to write them today!

The fall theme was a bit tricky, because I usually work in more pictorial images, but all of my inspiration was scents, sounds, and colors. I knew I wanted to do something with fall colors, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing leaves or just abstract color combinations. When I really think about fall I think of the crisp feel and smell of the air, along with the damp smell of leaves and the scent of bonfires. So I decided to do something portraying bonfires. I didn’t just want to do a fire with logs, that was too boring and I was trying to do different things with my ATCs, so I finally decided to do a sort of close-up of a fire.

I have really been impressed with what Vicki and Donna do with the many, many layers that they put on their pieces, so I decided to play with layering to try to get the real fire texture. I figured that would be easier to do on a larger piece so I decided to make all the cards as one larger piece and then cut it up. It turned out to be sooo much easier in my head. First, I discovered just how hard it is to get a flat piece of fabric to lay in a way that looks like the motion of flames, or anything really other than a flat piece of fabric. Then I realized that I would need to sew down each layer at a time because there was no way I could stack all the layers up pinned down the way I wanted and then be able to sew them down without taking the whole thing apart, and I knew I would never get it back together correctly. So it became a matter of just slapping layers on and hoping they didn’t look terrible. I can’t honestly say that I really liked the piece for most of the time I was working on it. I managed to get it looking okay as a whole, although I probably would have started over again if I hadn’t left it to the last minute (procrastination is my favorite past-time). Then I sewed the lines for the edges of the cards on and cut the cards apart and decided all but a couple of them looked terrible. In the end, though, when I finished the edges off and added a few extra touches to some of them, I’m actually quite happy with them. They don’t look anything like I had originally pictured, but since I can’t remember now what I originally pictured, that’s not a problem! 🙂 The wonders of time. Here are my pictures of the whole process.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as many or as good pictures of the other cards for this group than I usually do. I helped to swap the cards into their groups, and then we got very busy discussing other things, so I didn’t have a chance to take good pictures of the cards before they were swapped and they didn’t get passed around after getting swapped. So I have good pictures of the ones I got, and some general pictures of the ones I didn’t. Here are all the pictures I do have.

There’s only one group of ATCs left to post, and I’m going to write that post right now, so it should be up in the next day or two (I’ve gotta spread them out you know, don’t want to spoil you). Now a life update. The wedding went incredibly well! No real hitches and no major disasters, which was amazing and also really relaxing. I’ll post pictures of the dress my mom made for me (it is such an awesome dress that I wish I had other places to wear it to!), the fabric flowers that Virginia made for us, and a highlight or two from the wedding soon. We also bought a house in October! Life has just been blowing up with things to do! Once I get my work room into more order I will post pictures of that as well (it’s getting there, but I still have boxes all over the floor and want to get that dealt with before showing anyone).

Summer ATCs

My ATCs for the summer exchange were a lot more involved than my spring cards. And the involve electronics! Sort of. Coming up with my cards for the summer exchange was even more difficult than coming up with the spring ones, because when I think summer everything I think of is smells and sounds and feelings (sunscreen, humidity, heat etc) which I couldn’t figure out how to make into images that I liked. Then it finally occurred to me that two of my favorite things in the summer are the smell of rain on hot pavement (I recently came across a word specifically for that smell but I can’t remember it now), and thunderstorms. So I decided I wanted to put a thunderstorm on my cards and I wanted the lightning to actually light up! They didn’t end up how I was picturing them originally, but they’re pretty darn cool.

I made the lightning light up using LEDs and watch batteries. I originally asked the fiancee if he could rig something up for me so there would be a little button or switch inside that you would push, but he wasn’t real interested and couldn’t come up with a real good way to do it and finally just sort of quit thinking about it. But when he was trying to figure it out he mentioned that it would be easiest to just use the LED and the battery straight (because you don’t actually need anything else because voltage on the battery is correct for the LED already, or some other electronics concept that I only vaguely understand) but he didn’t know how you could keep the leads (the two metal bits sticking off the LED) separate so that it was only lit up when you pushed them together. My first thought was a spring, but if it were a metal spring that would create a short and it wouldn’t work. Then I suggested foam and he said it might work, but he didn’t think the foam would hold up well. But I went hunting around the random junk in our apartment and found foam that worked! Then I had to figure out how to get the light and battery to stay in the right place in relation to each other and the rest of the card, while putting enough stuffing, or whatever I used, in the card so that the light apparatus wasn’t creating a great big bump on the surface. I ended up solving both problems by using multiple layers of timtex, two of which had space cut out for the light and battery to fit in to. To get the lightning itself, I ended up cutting the shape of the lightning out of the front fabric and putting a piece of nappy liner (my mom has some of the strangest and most useful things) behind that fabric so there was some sort of surface to the lightning. Then I painted gold onto a piece of this papery stuff, also from my mom, which went underneath the light to try and give the lightning some sparkle. Then came the layers of timtex, all finished off with another piece of fabric on the back. I sewed around the edges with the sewing machine to keep things together, and I can tell you that my machine did not like going through all those layers! Now, process pictures!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And here are all the other summer ATCs, there are some more really cool ones! I really like the one my mom made, and the flower garden done with the ribbon embroidery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next up: fall!

Christmas Artist Trading Cards

I am participating in an artist trading card (ATC) exchange. Its 6 cards every other month, and the theme for the December exchange is Christmas! Who ever could have guessed that theme? 🙂 The cards need to be 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ and can be made using any technique, and this time around I went with embroidery. I don’t know exactly how/why I decided to do hedgehogs, they’re not especially Christmas-y, but that’s what I did. Well, there is one rabbit too, but it’s mostly hedgehogs (I’ll explain the rabbit later).

Digging through my mom’s fabric stash, I found two fabrics that I liked for the background on the cards so I decided to make 3 cards on each fabric. I cut out strips from each piece that were wide enough for the long side of the card (I think the original strips were 5 inches wide but I don’t remember exactly) and long enough to fit three cards, with seam allowance, on each strip. And then I went to town. This was the first time I free-hand stitched things that needed to be a certain shape, rather than just a pattern along a seam, and I’m pretty happy with how it went. The hardest part was figuring out 6 different designs to do (they could have all been the same or just re-used several, but I wanted to make them all different) and still make the hedgehogs look Christmas-y. That’s where the bunny comes in. After the first hedgehog I was thinking I could do a couple different little animals, and thought a rabbit and a squirrel would work quite nicely. So I was thinking I could do one rabbit, one squirrel, and and one hedgehog with Santa hats on and then the same but with reindeer antlers and a red nose. I only had to get about halfway through the rabbit to decide that it was a much more complex shape than the hedgehog and I really didn’t want to do such a complex shape 4 more times. So I went back to just hedgehogs.

Once I got the embroidery done, I needed to finish the edges and put a back on the cards. My mom was quite helpful in that, as she usually is, and I’m happy with how they turned out.

The exchange is happening at the December Designing Quilters meeting which my mom and I will miss because we’re going to be in Hawaii (so excited!) so we have to send our cards along with someone else. Because of that, my mom made a cute little bag to put the cards in.

IMG_3914

I’ll be getting 6 cards back from other people and I’ll be sure to post pictures of those when I get them!

Beauty and the Breast, the Show!

I’ve been getting sillier with my titles lately, this one is a vague reference to Spaceballs, “Spaceballs the Movie, Spaceballs the T-Shirt, Spaceballs the Action Figure, Spaceballs the TV Show!” or something like that.  So, last Thursday was the opening reception thing for the Beauty and the Breast show (my previous posts about the show can be found here and here) and I actually managed to get the night off so I could go to it! I didn’t actually end up spending a lot of time there though, because I went to a talk with my dad that was being given at MSUM by the author Sherman Alexie (he’s one of my dad’s favorite authors). The pieces look even better all together, and there were some I hadn’t seen yet, not to mention I hadn’t seen the space at all. The pieces fit well in the space, and it was so neat to see all the different takes and thoughts about breasts, and how the same prompt gave everyone such different ideas. That’s one of my favorite parts about these shows, to see all the different things people come up with based on the same prompt/subject.

There’s not a whole lot else for me to say about the show (only one paragraph, amazingly short for me, I know!) so here are the pictures, with a few details in the captions, of course.

My next few weeks are going to be really busy cause I’m going to be out of town for three weekends straight starting in a couple weeks, so I need to get as much homework done ahead of time as I can. My point being that little to no fiber stuff is likely to get done, but I will try! And if anything does get done I will tell you about it! And if I think of it I will get some good pictures of my mom’s work room so I can start the series of posts showing studios/workrooms that I’ve been thinking about.

Two Busy Brunettes

two brunette sisters busy with crafting, cooking, teaching, reading and living

Glitchy Artist

Screenshots of the Universe

depression comix

a comic struggling to understand mental illness

The Geeky Hooker

Not THAT kind of hooker. The kind armed with a crochet hook.

carriescarr.com

technology explorer

MindMedicine Blog

Professional Golfer & Mind Coach in Life & Professional Sport...

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM

allmostrelevant

Want to see what an Instagram with no pictures looks like? @allmostrelevant

Kitchen Overlord

Your home for geeky recipes, edible art, and nerdy kitchen gadget reviews.

All Night Knits

Sleep All Day. Knit All Night.

The Blog of Knitted Fog

art, life and stuff

knitnrun4sanity

Running, knitting, crocheting and blogging along.

Keep Me In Stitchez: The Blog

Following my passion, one stitch at a time

Knitting, reading, photography, and maybe more

Explorations, procrastinations, imaginations...