Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 8 of 365 Days of Art Challenge: Dia de los Muertos

March/April CPS mixed-media magazine cover
The week goes by so fast!! Not sure where the time goes. I did get another sketch done, but thought I'd have more than one by now! I received the March/April 2014 Cloth Paper Scissors (CPS) mixed-media magazine this week. (You can find out more about CPS here.) They are having a reader challenge: a mixed-media Skull Challenge for Dia de los Muertos.

For those unfamiliar with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, you can read more here on Wikipedia. Briefly, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico, the American Southwest, and elsewhere. It focuses on gathering to pray for and remember friends and family who have died. The celebration occurs October 31, November 1 and November 2, similar to the Christian All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Traditionally, altars (called ofrendas) are built, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these gifts. Possessions of the deceased can also be left at graves. Skulls (calaveras) and skeletons, usually depicted as enjoying life,  appear everywhere during this holiday.

To enter the reader challenge, you need to create a 6" x 6" (or 6" x 6" x 6") mixed-media skull or calavera. Photos need to be submitted by May 9, 2014. CPS will feature some of the finalists' artwork in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and/or on their website.

So I thought I would practice drawing skulls this week and doodling them. Unfortunately, I only got one completed.

6" x 6" calavera ZIA (Zentangle-Inspired-Art) with tangles, flowers, and doodles.
Sakura micron pen (0.1, 0.5, and 0.8), and pencil on mixed-media paper.

I was happier with it before I added the printemps (spiral) tangle pattern around the eyes, upper cheekbones, and bridge of the nose. This tangle didn't leave enough open space like the rest of the skull has.  My shading doesn't show up as well as I would like, either, and I want to play more with the exact shape of the calavera.  But that's why I want to practice, until I get a design I'm happy with and from which to create a piece of mixed-media.  I also need to experiment with mixed-media techniques to decide what I want to include in creating a mixed-media calavera.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 7 365 Days of Art Challenge

Last Saturday was the second class at Jerry's Artarama to finish the leaves sketch that I started in Week 2 of the 365 Days of Art Challenge.. Unfortunately, I was unable to take this class, where we would  have used colored pencils to add color to the pen and ink sketch from the first class.  I went ahead and  finished it on my own, as I didn't want to wait until her next class in March! I've already waited long enough to add color!!

Fall Leaves, 8 1/2" x 11", pen, ink, and colored pencil on 80 lb toned tan sketch paper. 

I found it was harder to achieve depth with the colored pencil, as the value was laid in with pen and ink. Although the instructor had told us in the first class that you can't add pen after adding the colored pencil, I had to find this out for myself.  I wish I had added some more pen marks in some areas to achieve more depth. By the time I realized that, I already had the colored pencil added - Oops! 

I have mixed feelings at this point about pen, ink, and colored pencil. I want to try pen, ink and watercolor, too. Then I can compare the two methods. More experiments and sketching!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Noriko Endo's Silk Fiber Elegance - Cherry Blossoms class at the AQS Show in Phx, AZ Feb 2014

Noriko teaching the silk fiber class. 
Finally, the third class I took with Noriko Endo was her Silk Fiber Elegance - Cherry Blossoms class. Again the photo of her sample for the class drew me to the class, as well as, working with silk and silk fibers. I had no idea what to expect from this class, either. I found silks and silk fibers hard to find in the Phoenix area, so chose to order a kit from Noriko for the class.

I was having trouble with my camera in this class, so I didn't get photos of several of Noriko's samples before figuring it out and getting it working again. Following are just a couple of the samples.

Silk fiber scarf. Approx. 18" x 60". You can't really tell from this photo, but 

this scarf is sheer. 
Silk shoulder covering. This piece started as a rectangle. Noriko took tucks in it and folded a

curve under on one end. She added beads and other embellishments. She attaches it with a 
brooch to the shoulder of a jacket or blouse to dress them up. The photo I took of Noriko 
wearing this over her shoulder did not come out. This picture doesn't show the beauty very well. 

In this class, we worked with silk hankies (or caps) to create our own fabric. We laid the fibers on a water soluble tacky stabilizer. Then we added silk cherry blossoms that Noriko had die-cut for us for this class, silk fabric strips for branches, twigs, or just other embellishments to our designs, and finally spooled on heavy silk and metallic threads for further embellishments. Over this, we laid another piece of water soluble stabilizer and then free-motion stitched the layers together with silk thread. The silk fibers are held together with thread, so they need to be heavily stitched. When we get home, we were to soak the "fabric" in warm water to dissolve all the water soluble stabilizer.

The first few photos are from other students in the class.
Student stitching her "fabric."  Approx 8" x 20".  
Student almost done stitching "fabric." The heavy silk threads can be seen in the 

upper right corner. She's added silk fabric for the stems under her cherry blossoms. 
She has added sun rays with her free-motion stitching. Approx. 12" x 14". 
Student has used silk fabric of various colors for hanging branches of cherry

blossoms. She has also spooled some of the thick silk thread, as well as,
a few other threads before free-motion stitching the "fabric."  Approx 6" x 10". 

These last few photos are my project.  I did a small project about 6" x 10". I added silk fabric for branches and loaded them with cherry blossoms. I added several colors of metallic and holographic threads, in addition to the heavy silk thread for embellishments. The first photo is the "fabric" encased in the water-soluble stabilizers. The stabilizer has been dissolved away in the second one.

My "fabric" with stabilizer. Approx 6" x 10". 
Stabilizer has been dissolved. Approx 6" x 10".  I have a few 
cherry blossoms that didn't get stitched down well. I also plan 
to add some beads and other fibers for more embellishments. 

Noriko, again, taught another fun class. This one was similar to wool felting, but without the "felting". We used the silk hankies similar to how wool roving is used. Another very different, fun class. I'm excited about the creative possibilities using the silk fibers. I picked up more silk hankies and silk cocoons at the show from one of the vendors.
Noriko (right) and myself (left) in front of her silk scarf sample. 

Copyright of samples belong to Noriko Endo and to the students creating them. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Noriko Endo's Painting with Needles - Possibilities of Free-Motion Quilting class at AQS Show in Phx, AZ Feb 2014

The second class that I took with Noriko Endo was her Painting with Needles: Possibilities of Free-Motion Quilting. I had no idea what to expect from this class, but her sample on the AQS website looked interesting, so I signed up for the class. I also figured I could always use more practice with my free-motion quilting.

These are the samples Noriko showed us for the class:
Thread painted portrait enhanced with paint by Noriko Endo. Approx 30" x 45". 
Maple leaves by Noriko Endo. Approx. 35" x 20". 
Feathers and Doodles by Norido Endo. Approx 20" x 16". 
Feather motif by Noriko Endo. Approx. 20" x 16". 
Noriko Endo in duster length vest thread-painted  with a feather variation, enhanced
with paint. Noriko painted the fabric for the vest and then quilted it and filled in the
quilted motifs with more paint to help the motifs stand out. 

Noriko had us pick a motif and quilt it in various sizes on our quilt sandwich. She encouraged us to use a variegated polyester thread. Depending on the motif, she had us either echo it, fill the motif, and/or go over the stitching 2-4 times to emphasize the outlining. After stitching the motifs, we then picked areas to paint with acrylic paints. Noriko doesn't use any special fabric paints on her quilts, just acrylics. She said sometimes we'll want to paint the quilt first and then quilt and other times, we'll quilt first and then paint, or a combination of the two. When we get home, we will finish painting the motifs and then fill in the background with more free-motion quilting.

I chose a pink batik for my background fabric. It is a fabric that I hand-dyed. I don't use pink much and wanted to do something different for this class. Choosing the motif(s) was about the hardest part of this class, followed by how to lay out the motifs to get a pleasing composition. Once I started stitching, things just seemed to flow. I had never done so many layers of feathers within one feather design or stitched such a small pebble design. It was challenging, but fun, too. I was surprised when I saw my piece after getting to a point where I was ready for painting. I couldn't believe that I did this sample!

My sample, approx 18" x 16". I decided to stitch feathers and swirls with pebbles, 
similar to one of Noriko's samples. Noriko had me fill in the feathers with more two 
more sets of feathers inside my original ones, in a different color variegated thread. 
loved the way they turned out. Then I filled in the one set of feathers and some

of the pebbles with blue acrylic paint.  When I have time to finish this at home, I

plan to fill in the other set of feathers and more pebbles with another color of paint.
Then I will fill in the background with more free-motion quilting. 

Following are a couple samples from a couple other students in the class. I didn't get too many photos of others' work, as by the time I finished, most of the other students had already left.

A fish motif in the process of being painted.  She was pleased with how it was turning out, as she

had never done any fabric painting before. She was very tickled with the paint on the fish lips. 
Done painting the fish! 
A seascape quilted and painted by another student. She had done a similar seascape for 

her very first quilt some 20 years previously. She was planning to compare the two once

she finished this one to see how much she has progressed since she started quilting.

Quilt designs copyrighted by Noriko Endo or the student creating the quilt.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Noriko Endo's Naturescapes from Scraps 1/2 Day Class at AQS Show in Phx, AZ 2014

I took three classes with Noriko Endo, an art quilter from Tokyo, Japan while attending the American Quilters Society (AQS) Show in Phoenix, AZ at the convention center Feb 5-8, 2014.  I became interested in Noriko Endo when I first saw her work hanging in the International Quilt Show in Long Beach, CA about 4 years ago. I watched her do a demonstration of her confetti landscape technique during the Sampler Class. It was so different from any quilting technique I had ever seen. It reminds one of the Impressionism art movement of the late 1800s, early 1900s. She captures the scene by "painting" with small bits of fabric, adding details with paint and thread.  Ever since then, I've been wanting to attend a workshop with her. She was one of the many instructors available during the AQS Show this past week.
Confetti Naturescapes by Noriko Endo, copyright 2011.

The first class I took with Noriko Endo is her Naturescapes from Scraps. Noriko also has a book published with this technique, Confetti Naturescapes: Quilting Impressionist Landscape. She offered this class twice - one a half day class and the other a full day class. I chose the half day class, as I figured with taking two other classes, this would be all I could manage with my health issues.

These are some of Noriko's samples for this class. She also had a quilt, Cherry Blossom #7, 58" x 32", hanging in the show. It can be seen on my blog from yesterday of the quilts in the AQS show.

Noriko Endo's sample of trees and path. 8" x 8". 
Noriko's sample of flowering tree branches overhanging water. 20" x 30"

Noriko's sample of a summer or spring forest. 25" x 20"
Noriko's sample of an autumn forest. 25" x 20".
Noriko's sample of cherry blossoms overhanging water. 25" x 20". 

I thoroughly loved the class. Noriko is a gracious teacher, gently encouraging each person to create a small art quilt of a landscape. She adds bits of confetti fabric before you quilt it, to help the colors pop and explains why she adds these colors to your quilt. She added bits of black, as she said black is in everything; though our eye may not see it, our brain picks it up, so add black to make your landscape look right. Then she added turquoise, as she said this helps the colors pop. She also added bits of bright purple and pink to mine, since I had those colors in my landscape. These seemed so bright when she added them, but they really did help the colors pop. After taking her class, I viewed the Tentmakers of Cairo exhibit. They used bright colors, like turquoise and orange and white accents. These made the colors pop in their wall hangings. It really helped reinforce this lesson from Noriko.

Here is my small quilt sample that I completed in class. I was getting frustrated while free-motion quilting my sample, but realized that I just needed to relax and enjoy the process, which I loved. It was so much fun to just cut the scrap fabric pieces into confetti and then scatter them (strategically) over the batting to create a landscape. I found it to be very freeing - I tend to work very tight and am always trying to loosen up. This technique definitely encourages that!

My sample. 10" x 10". 

Some of the other students in the class, allowed me to take photos of their projects. I think everyone had fun creating these little pieces of art. As Noriko said, they look better when viewed from a distance (5-6 feet), like you would view masterpieces in an art museum. You don't look at them closeup, unless you want to examine the brush strokes. In these samples, the brush strokes are the small pieces of fabric.

Student sample of flowering trees. Approximately 9" x 9".
Student sample of trees and flowers bordering a lake. Approximately 10" x 10". 
Student sample of trees and flowering bushes.  Approximately 8" x 6". 
Student sample of red roses and other flowers. She plans to applique one
 red rose and stitch more red roses in the red area. Approximately 9" x 9".

All quilt designs copyrighted by Noriko Endo or the students in the class. 

AQS Quilt Show in Phoenix, AZ continued

Following are more photos of some of the quilts at the AQS Quilt Show held in Phoenix at the convention center last week. These quilts are ones that spoke to me for one reason or another.

These first five quilts are in the more traditional category.

Upper Body Workout Improved by Laura Trenbeath of Pavillion, WY. 45" x 50".
First place Wall Quilts - Traditional. The quilted Victorian scroll work in metallic
thread was beautiful. The added crystals made it sparkle. 
Civil War Bride by Judy Elliott of Edmond, OK. 70" x 72". The pattern
is Corliss Searcey's Civil War Bride pattern.  Wall Quilts - Traditional category.
I love Baltimore Album quilts. They were done generally as part of a trousseau to
show off sewing skills. Some year I will finish the Baltimore Album quilt I'm creating.  
Kootenay Peony by Dawn Fox Cooper. 45" x 45"  Second Place in the
Wall Quilts - Traditional category. I enjoy the red-and-green quilts of the 1800s.
This one is beautifully done. I love the ruched ribbon peony.
Oh, Mexico Beach by Jane Zillimer of Mercer, WI. 85" x 85" Honorable Mention
in the Bed Quilts-Innovative category. I love the cute sandpipers and other
shore birds she's added to the traditional fan pattern. It's a fun quilt.  
Mistaken Identity by Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison of New Lenox, IL. 83" x 83".
First Place in the Bed Quilts- Traditional category. The 21 point blocks are a Sunburst
variation. I love the movement the radiating quilting design adds.  
Mistaken Identity closeup to show the beautiful, radiating quilting pattern. 

The rest of the quilts shown are in the art quilt category. Some are innovative, fun or just plain whimsical!

Climate Change by Gail Garber and Kristin Vierra of Rio Rancho, NM.  42" x 52". I love the curved
piecing and flying geese in this quilt. I took a workshop with Gail Garber to learn these techniques.
She's an excellent teacher and made the class fun. I'm excited to add these techniques to my designs.
Giant Panda by Anne F. Zick and Joyce Freehill of Hinsdale, IL. 37" x 38". The design source is
from Endangered Species Quilt Project by Rob Appell. I think pandas are beautiful creatures. 
Quilteenies 3: Going Ape! by Carol Steuer of Brooklyn, NY. 54" x 59". This is just such a fun, whimsical
quilt. The apes are quilted individually and then attached to the border.  This quilt just made me laugh!
Dancing to the Sky by Janet Haefner of Tucson, AZ. 41" x 64". I live in AZ, so this quilt
really speaks to me. I love the various Kachina figures, celebrating on the mesa top and down
in the pueblo. Unfortunately, the photo does not show the dimensionality of the figures. 
Okanagan Sunrise by Naomi Pearson of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. 30" x 30".  The design
for this landscape is so original. I like how the sunrise radiates out from the mesa or mountains
and the fields radiate downward from the mountains and are represented by a diamond block . 
Sweet Nectar by Barbara Kilbourn of Ann Arbor, MI. 31" x 31".  The quilt was inspired by a
photo taken by her daughter. I love how large she made the bee, bringing us into the bee's life.
I could go on for pages with photos of the quilts at the AQS Show. It was wonderful to see. Another special exhibit was the Route 66: Honoring Main Street USA, which was fun and whimsical. Bobby Troup's song encouraged all to "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". Nearly 50 artists created a personal favorite memory to honor this highway and the communities it went through. Route 66, also known as Main Street USA, connected Chicago to Los Angeles. The exhibit was curated by Kelly Gallagher-Abott and Patt Blair, who also created a wonderful painted backdrop to which the individual quilts were attached. It included 6 panels approximately 90" x 85" each.  If you get a chance to see this exhibit, go to it. It's worth seeing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

AQS Quilt Show in Phoenix Feb 5-8 2014

The American Quilter's Society (AQS) held their first show in Phoenix this past week (Feb 5 - 8) at the Phoenix Convention Center.The show was great fun. I enjoyed the quilt exhibits, as well as, all the vendors. As I said in a previous blog, my favorite exhibit was the Tentmakers of Cairo.  I enjoyed the SAQA exhibit, too.  SAQA is the Studio Art Quilts Associates. They are creative art quilters. You will have to check out their website, as you cannot photograph any of the quilts in their exhibit, as they are all original and generally for sale. It was a wonderful exhibit and I enjoyed their quilts.

There was also a Quilts of Valor exhibit. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. One quilt really touched me from this exhibit.

Iwo Jima from the Quilted in Honor exhibit. (I'm not sure of exact name of 
quilt nor who made it. I didn't write it down. Sorry.) Except for the flag, the
rest of the fabrics are camo. This quilt really touched me because my father 
is a WWII veteran, serving in the Pacific in the Philippines. Our WWII vets 
are leaving us and their stories still need to be told. 

Some of the quilts from the Winner's Circle follow. The rest of the winners can all be seen here.
Best of Show Award - Isabelle by Kathi Carter of Vineyard, Utah. 93" x 93". 
Wandering 'Round My World by Beth Shillig of Columbus, Ohio,
60" x 38". 
Best Innovative Quilt Award - 
Hurricane by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, of Kollumerzwaag,
Friesland, Netherlands. 78" x 68".  
Best Wall  Quilt Award. 
 Spirit by Georgia Spalding Pierce of Seattle, Washington, 100" x 89"
Viewer's Choice Quilt Award - First Place Bed, Quilts - Innovative.

Some of the other quilts that I enjoyed can be seen here. I couldn't show all the photos I took as we'd be here for several pages!!
American White Pelicans by Velda Newman of Nevada City, CA, 
46" x 36". Wall Quilts - Innovative/Art.  I enjoy pelicans and the artist 
did a wonderful job painting this grouping. 
Autumn Fairy by Diane Hansen of Chandler, AZ, .31"x 31". 
Honorable Mention - Wall Quilts - Innovative/Art.  I attended
Patt Blair's workshop with Diane when she started this wholecloth
painted quilt. It's taken from a calendar by Linda Ravenscoft (with her 
permission). Diane did a wonderful job of painting and quilting. 
She deserves the Honorable Mention award!!
Autocar by Lynne Pillus of Oroville, CA 48" x 43".  Wall Quilts - Innovative/Art.

 This is a fun quilt. I love her expression of this vintage car. My dad is an 
auto mechanic and was always working on a car. This quilt brings
 back fond memories of helping my dad work on cars by handing him tool.s

Unravelings #2 by Judy Tescher of Pendleton, Indiana, 59" x 53".  

Third Place - Wall Quilts - Modern. I'm being drawn more and more to
the modern quilt movement. I like their simplicity, colors, and negative space.
More Than a Memory by Kathy McNeil of Tulalip, Washington, 62" x 52". 
Second Place - Wall Quilts - Innovative/Art. Her quilts are so lifelike. I 

enjoyed and learned so much in a workshop with her a couple years ago. 

Cherry Blossom #7 by Noriko Endo of Tokyo, Japan. 58" x 38". 

Wall Quilts - Innovative/Art. I first saw Noriko's work a few years ago
 at the International Quilt Show in Long Beach, CA. I love her 
landscapes -  they are so delicate and ethereal.