Category Archives: Fiber Goodness

Artfest 2011: Part Three

The last day of classes is often the most difficult because there is usually only so much energy and creativity that I can muster up in the course of one partial week. Luckily, I managed to do a good job with class selection and the last day was a meditative Rug Hooking class with Mary Stanley. I took this class specifically because I hoped to bring back a project for my students. I have a TON of burlap, yarn and what I thought were rug hooking tools. It turns out that there are a couple different types of rug hooking and the tools I had were for LATCH Hooking, not Rug hooking. I continued to be successful with finishing all my projects, so that was my goal again today.

The class was based on the subject of houses and I did like what the samples looked like and thought that it would be a good subject. However, I got to the class and was feeling rebellious and didn’t want to do a house. I decided to go smaller so I could finish in time and made a little heart. I just clicked with this medium though and cooked right along on the technique, flying quickly through my little project. So then I expanded my heart to include wings and managed to finish the whole project, even adding  the backing to finish it off.

I SWEAR I was not trying to be a show off or a teacher’s pet, but I came up with a technique to better hide the folded burlap edge by couching a strip of felt along the edge while sewing the heart to the felt backing. Mary had suggested coloring it with a sharpie or black acrylic paint. I thought my method gave a more polished look so I showed her as I was working on it and once it was complete she had me share it with the class.

Mary shared a lot of resources and some of the history of hooked rugs and it was quite interesting, but most of the traditional styles and patterns are not really to my liking. There are plenty of people out there being modern and cutting edge with this old technique.

I enjoyed yet another small class (all three of mine were under 10 students) and while I know this makes it harder for the teacher to finance their trip, I appreciated the additional assistance and level of intimacy that it adds to the class.

Today Mandy, Lisa, Jen and I managed to have lunch with this super funny gal. Poor Mandy fell on the floor when her heavy back pack caused her chair to tip over. This girl shared with us that she had had a similar experience in middle school that had been very traumatic. Then she told Mandy, “Your falling over didn’t traumatized me in the least.”  Perhaps you had to be there, but we were all laughing pretty hard, and loud enough to attract the attention of a few other tables. We invited her over for drinks that evening, but she didn’t make it. Oh well, it was a fun lunch!

That night was the big fest Show and Tell. Usually it is pretty crazy, hot and packed. But all of artfest was a little lighter than past years. I put my work out like everyone else and was excited to notice many people stopping to photography and comment on my Monster Doll projects. I decided to throw out the handful of business cards that I had in my bag and they were all snatched up in moments. After looking around at all the work and noticing a couple of artists that I want to keep on my list for next year, I decided to pack up and head back to the dorms.

It took me another 20 minutes or so to manage that though, because I was mobbed with questions and comments and was even obliged to pose for some pictures. I had some very interested buyers of these lovely creatures and will be following up on that plan. Even Andrew the teacher came over to snap some pictures and chat. I feel a little weird offering my dolls from the class for sale, but people were really into them. I plan to make my future dolls a bit differently so as to not directly compete with his sales, I hope.

When I got back to the dorm I was really missing my dogs and my honey. I called home and chatted with Shawn, but it didn’t help. After a little wine I ended up doing some performance art, imitating my dogs and their silly habits. Darn everyone and their I-phones too, because there is proof of this silly behavior.

MUCH later that night I woke up to find Mandy awake and cleaning the common area at 3:30am. I was awake enough that I decided to stay up and chat with her for a while. Which was nice, but not sure if Rita thought it was so nice.

The next day was time to pack up and hit the road. As usual it was a wonderful time, but I was anxious to get back home and see my puppies. On the ferry home I had time to jot down some ideas that I have for some more dolls and even wrote the plan for a class I would like to teach.

It was hard to get ready to go back to work, but it was a wonderful break and I am so happy to get back my artistic mojo.

Artfest 2011: Part Two

We had amazing weather so I went for a little jog in the morning. I enjoyed the coffee made by one of our dorm mates, Colleen, and appreciated the fridge as I ate some yogurt, granola and fruit.

Friday’s class was Monster Rag Dolls with Andrew Dyrdahl. This was a recycled materials, doll sewing class and I was looking forward to using some fabric scraps. I brought my sewing machine, luckily being able to drive I can bring something heavy like that. It was great that Andrew planned ahead and worked with a local sewing shop to have some extra machines on hand to use and then students could even purchase them for a small “show” price. This was very thoughtful of him and the students that had to travel on the plane were quite thankful. Although this project could be made entirely by hand sewing, it was much easier and faster to sew the body and limbs with the machine. When we went around the room doing introductions, there were several fairly inexperienced sewers in the bunch, despite that everyone in the class successfully finished one or MORE dolls within the day.

The main ~new~ things that I learned included how to use coffee to stain fabric (the key is using vinegar to help set the color), I discovered a great strap turning tool that I didn’t have (and had to go buy on my way home) and heard some fun thrifting secrets for finding good fabrics and prints. I busted out 3 quick doll bodies before lunch, which was the goal. We needed to coffee stain them before lunch so they had time to dry before stuffing. At home, of course, you can toss them in a dryer, but not at the fort. Luckily, we had sun and old fashioned radiators to speed along the process.

After lunch, we stuffed and embellished the dolls and finished the day with a show and tell. I was amazed at the work that came out of this class. Each doll had some personality from the artist but they all looked like they could be in a show together too.

That night was vendor night, which I checked out briefly, after a mediocre Thai dinner in town with Jen and Lisa. Then, I finished up my own dolls that evening while hanging out with all the girls. We read silly yearbook entries from some 1920’s vintage year book. They were very odd and seemingly snarky. Someone decided we should all write a yearbook entry for different camp members, so we drew names. But this project seemed to fizzle out by the end of the weekend.

I am not sure if it is the unfamiliar beds or the fresh sea air, but I had really weird dreams every night. But I still managed to get enough sleep to be refreshed each morning and ready for more art.

Artfest 2011: Part One

I wish I could remember all the years I have been to Artfest, all I know is that I have been on and off every year since it started. (I guess I could look carefully at all my journals and bags to see the years.) But I think this year was the best year ever! All my classes were perfectly wonderful, I didn’t have any weird or overly horrible experiences. Although I got a budding migraine everyday towards the end of each intense class. Luckily, it quickly went away before it was time to enjoy the wine and company of the evening activities.

On Wednesday after finally finishing my packing and taking the dogs to the park for a last long run, I hit the road to Port Townsend. I was rained and hailed on and the week looked like it was going to be a cold and ugly one. When we checked into the dorm I was astounded to discover some new fancy furniture, 2 fridges and a stove in the kitchenette. I am not sure how we managed to get such nice stuff, because I scouted around and did not find any similar upgrades to the other dorms. People started rolling in quickly but I decided to head out to the grocery store to pick up a few things to cook in our new kitchen. I skipped the opening thingie, it was about chakras and I was not interested in that! I enjoyed my first evening visiting with old friends and meeting some new ones.

Thursday morning was Paper Mosaics with Ty Schultz. Marcia was supposed to teach the class along with him, but since there were only 5 students she went off to make wigs instead. The basic technique for making paper mosaics was nothing mind-blowing new for me. The thing that was different was the papers we used for the project. Ty and Marcia had painted tons of scrapbook and painted papers with a thin coat of resin. It gave them a raised, glossy surface that when cut into tile like bits it really looked like a tile mosaic. But the real magic was when we painted in the ‘grout’ (which was just a colored paint pen in grout like colors) He provided us with a couple of different adhesion choices, both double stick tape and a liquid glue in a tiny tip bottle. I preferred the tape because I just hate getting my fingers all sticky. I quickly finished a couple of little mosaics and began a larger one. My goal with each class was to start small and finish everything in class. I was pretty successful, almost to the point of annoying my class and dorm mates. Today’s muse was the hand so each of my little works of art featured that as the subject. Unfortunately, making the special resin papers was not part of this class, which was disappointing to everyone in the group. “Take my resin class,” was the main answer when we inquired. Granted it was great to get right to the tile mosaic without waiting for thick goopy liquids to dry first, but it was still disappointing to not really be able to go back and replicate the look in my studio. I did end up buying some Pitt pens on my way out of town so I can finish my last piece from the class. Ty was a great instructor, very helpful and good at balancing pieces of information with time to get working, along with handouts that I can look at again.

One fun little bit is when one of the parents of one of my art club students came by to say hello. Her daughter had overheard me talking about going to Artfest and knew that her parents would be going, so told her mom to search for me.

That night I cooked up some lasagna and garlic bread in the new dorm stove and we had a little evening in with all the girls. There was some evening “Iron Chef” activity that sounded like fun, but we heard that it tended towards a mob scene so most of us skipped it. The idea is awesome though. Each of the participating teachers was given a bag of art materials and found objects and they had a set amount of time to create a work of art using at least 5 of the items. These finished works were then auctioned off to create a scholarship for people to come to Artfest that need some financial assistance.

One of my favorite parts of artfest though is the evening dorm show and tell. We all come back from class and show off our various projects, dish the dirt on the class, teachers and other students. Then if anyone has an energy left, we journal or finish up the projects from the day while we talk into the night. Eventually people start to peel off to sleep, depending on their zip codes usual


The word I drew from my word jar yesterday was Cycle. I started by pulling a bunch of green fabric scraps. The idea of “cycle” just made me think of green for a bunch of reasons. For one, when I am out cycling these days there is SO much pretty green trees and plants. My allergies don’t care for it much but I love  looking at all the beautiful green. As much as it rains here, and I get tired of all the rain, it still makes our area so lush and beautiful. Another reason that green came to mind is the idea of cycles meaning growth and the seasons. Right now we are in the growing, green season. My garden is filled with green.

Then I cut all the green into circles. Circles make me think of my tire wheels… that are part of my bicycle. Also the idea of a cycle is that it comes back around from start to finish, so a circle is the perfect symbol for it.

Cycle B4 Beads

After I laid out the circles I decided they should become pea pods. The peas are one of the main crops I can harvest right now so there are lots of them around. But I was also thinking about the protective shell around the peas. I am in a fun, but sometimes difficult cycle of my year right now. As a teacher I have the summer to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. But without any structure I tend to get lost and antisocial and even depressed. This year I am  working on creating a protective shell around myself and my goals to provide some structure.

Cycle after beads

Using beads, ribbon and trim I grouped the circles into some pea pods. I added some buttons too as little peas within some bigger ones. I also like how the white trim with the green sequins ended up looking like a bike chain.

I meant for this to be a quick one day per word type challenge. More of a doodle art starter type thing. But I really enjoy hand sewing/beading work, which takes a lot longer. I am thinking actually that this might meld into my Beaded journal Project piece, since I am behind on those and really this is pretty much the same idea as the BJP.

Sometimes it is hard for me to decide when a piece is done, when to stop adding to it.  But I feel good about this one. Although I still have to figure out how I want to ‘finish’ it for display purposes. That part seems to hold up a lot of my pieces, so they end up just sitting around in piles in these not ready to display states.

WIP Beaded Journal Project

jan 2010 WIP Beaded Journal Project

The Beaded Journal Project has begun again. The third round of this amazing project begins with January 2010 and will end in December. The goal is to make a beaded work of art that is a visual journal representing that month. You can read more about the project at the website. This year there are hundreds of people participating. I am part of blog #3 along with 100 others.

So this is my January page in progress. Last year, I did alter style pages that were big (8″x 10″) and an odd size, which is making it difficult to finish them off in a professional looking manner. But it will be done, eventually! Meanwhile I move on. This year I thought about a doll shape either flat or 3-D. But I decided that would be pushing it again. Last year was really my first exposure to beading and it was a wonderful challenge. I decided on a small (4″x6″) size and a basic postcard shape. I learned quite a few things from Robin in her class, so these are not multiple layers with batting (like last year’s, which added to the complication of finishing.) Instead just a simple piece of paper backs the fabric.

I chose “Journey” for my guiding word for 2010, so these pages will hopefully be in tune with that word as well. But I have also been very interested in the tree as a symbol lately. I like the idea of growth, the protection of bark, the stability of roots, and even the element of annual life, death, hibernation and rebirth. This month’s page represents that symbol.

I still have quite a bit that I want to do on this page, but it is moving along smoothly.


Cathedral Window Quilt

Not that I need a new sewing project to start… but this is amazingly cool looking and the tutorial makes it not too hard looking. I have never seen a Cathedral Window Quilt before, but really love the rounded shapes. I also like the quilt as you go, no backing needed, idea.

I discovered this tutorial, after following a blog link from a comment here on my site. Sophia Aster commented on my ugly quilt post, where she had followed a link from my comment on the Quilting Gallery’s Ugly Quilt Contest (where I regret not entering my doggie car quilt) I just love the paths that the internet can take you on.

Maybe once I am done with rearranging my studio I will take on a little pillow using this technique. It will have to be all my doggie prints for the color parts.

Ugly Quilts

What was I thinking? – The Ugly Quilt Contest

I wish I had known about this contest in time to enter! I would have totally entered my doggie car scrap quilt. As much as I love it and it is perfect for the use I intended, however it is UGLY!


You can see more details of the different blocks in this set. Funny, because I think some of the quilts in this contest are very nice! Too bad, I could have won some good prizes with this ugly thing!

Beaded Journal Project Continues

Although slowly

Beaded Journal Project MAY 2009

Pictured above is MAY in progress. I did a really cool doodle at art camp in April. Then I scanned it in and printed it on fabric, now I am beading it using some new techniques I got from one of Robin’s books I ordered.

Beaded Journal Project April 2009

Pictured above is APRIL in progress. Experimenting with some different ways to make flowers. I did get to start gardening very early this year. These two months are focused on that idea.

Neither is close to being done and I still haven’t really done anything with March. Now it is already time to start June. Luckily, school is almost out and I will have lots of time to catch up on these.

Tree Sprite

This little Tree Sprite is finally finished… let’s review her creation.


Originally created for the Mythology Show of December 2005! I started her body and had plans to make her a Medusa based doll. She sat HEADLESS for all these years, because frankly the heads are difficult in this medium and I got interested in other things and time moved on.

She has sat on the shelf by my sewing area, so it is not as if she hasn’t been staring at me, headlessly, pleading for me to finish her.

Then there was the WIP show from this same time last year. So I entered  her in that show  more as a guilt trip for myself to finish her. But it has taken a whole year for it to happen.

The wings were created this past Christmas as I made doll clothes for my nieces’ dolls. I wanted to make them both fairy costumes for their dolls, because they are really into fairies right now. I had some extra trial wings leftover so I decided this doll needed to be a fairy instead of a Medusa.

The reason it has finally happened, is that I made a goal for myself to finish up and clear out all of my half-started projects. I even made a calendar determining which ones I would finish when, and how they might apply to a show.

Now showing in the 3-D Figure show @ EBSQ