Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day Eight of Experiments

Oh my, time flies when you're having fun!

Well, mostly fun.  Sometimes fun.  Most of the times, though, these experiments are fraught with me wondering if I'm doing what I need to or should do to find a way forward with my images.  And the images I make will (at least some of them) become tapestry designs.

So here are some of the experiments--some wonderings along the way:

So, yesterday I began this large drawing on 300 lb watercolor paper using a couple of pieces of partially burned wood from the fire pit:

Fire pit here at Lillian Smith Center

A couple of "tool for drawing" I pulled out of the fire pit.

My wondering about this drawing is "What am I wanting to show here??"  I started with bold marks using the charcoal tools and then added grays by using a water-filled brush.  Not much time was spent with composition for this quick drawing but there were some things I liked about it so I though I'd take it to another stage.

Here's where I left it yesterday afternoon:

This morning I decided to work with some of the acorn dye I've cooked for three days and the rust solution that's been developing over the past couple of days.  I used a 22 x 30" sheet of 300 lb wt. watercolor paper to work with, taking some leaves from the yard and spraying over them with acorn dye.

Here are leaves laid out to be sprayed with the acorn dye...
... and after initial spraying with dye...
... and now the leaves are removed and the acorn and rust mixture is added by pouring it on...
Here it is after working on it with a brush for a few minutes.
Later in the afternoon I worked on both this and the painting I'd started yesterday.  Here's where I left both of them today:

Yes, I flipped it over... in fact, I worked on it from all directions today.  I kind of like it this way.

Here's the leaf painting that I started this morning, now with earth pigment added.  I need to do more work with it but like it pretty well, so far... at least, parts of it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Experiments continue...

I'm doing several things during each day... all leading somewhere, I think hope.

I'm still working with earth pigment processing.  I now have 13 colors ground, sifted, mulled and stored in small jars.  Here's what I have so far--these are from what I collected at Hambidge in July and in the past days at Lillian Smith Center.  I have a few more colors to do and will get them done tomorrow:

It was chilly here today; low 50s by mid-day but the studio where I'm working didn't really warm up.  Here's my solution--fleece vest, hoodie with hood up, coat, scarf and dust mast (for the earth pigment, not for warmth's sake).  Plus, rubber gloves.  So wrapped up that way and moving around while grinding, sifting, and mulling the pigments kept me plenty warm enough!

I'm also cooking the acorns I smashed up yesterday.  They've been in the crock pot quite a long time now--from noon yesterday to around 10 p.m. I turned the pot back on today about 8 a.m. and will continue to cook on low until 10 tonight.  The recommendation in the Organic Artist book is for three days in the slow cooker so I'll continue tomorrow.  Here's what it looked like earlier today.  The bit of paper I'd dipped into the dye shows some of the color that's developing.  It's very similar to the black walnut but has a bit of difference in the warmth of the color.

Yesterday afternoon I dipped more papers into black walnut dye to tone it.  And I drew on one of the sheets with a bit of charcoal from the fire pit, using a hickory leaf I found in the yard as the model.

Later in the evening, I used some of the earth pigment to enhance the color of the leaf.  The yellow ocher color of pigment I'd found at Hambidge earlier in the summer was perfect for the beginning of this little painting, I think.  I'll work on it more tonight with some of the newly made pigments.

The Center is glorious with the early fall colors and it's hard to keep focused on the studio with views like this just outside the door.  But I keep trying!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I'm at Lillian E. Smith Center for a few days and I'm trying out some things that I don't have time for while at home.  A couple of directions are pulling me while I'm here and I'm trying my best to go in both of those, spending part of the day in one focus and then shifting to another for the later part of the day.

So here's some of what's happening while I'm here.  I'm working with natural materials and how they might be used for my art work.  No, not unique explorations, I know.  But they are a bit new for me.

First, earlier in the day I worked with drawing on paper that I'd dampened, using a stainless stylus.  I then dipped the paper with drawing into black walnut dye that I'd cooked yesterday.  Here's the dipping and the results.

Dipping into the dye...

I'll work on this more later with earth pigment paints.

I worked later in the afternoon with earth pigment paints, using Sandy Webster's book, Earthen Pigments,  as guide.  I also referred to The Organic Artist for info:

Grinding some earth pigment...

I've collected 15 bags of different colors of earth and here are some of them laid out to dry:

... mulling the earth pigment to grind it smooth to use as paint.

So far, here are the colors from the earth pigmets.  Five of the fifteen I've collected.
More experiments soon as I try acorn ink, using the suggestions from The Organic Artist as guide.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

This and That

Well, fall is definitely underway here in north Georgia!  Cool mornings and warm afternoons abound.  It's too dry, though.  We're needing rain but none seems to be in the forecast except for maybe a few showers later today.  Fall colors may not hold the usual brilliance because of the dry conditions... a few more weeks will tell the color tale, though.

We picked up my tapestries from the Piedmont College exhibit on Thursday.  Everything is temporarily stored in our dining room.  I'm still trying to find a venue for an exhibit of my work during 2017 or 2018 but so far nothing has come up.  However, I do have tapestries to be included in several shows, either now or coming soon.

Currently a couple of my tapestries are in the Blue Ridge Fiber Show, NC Arboretum, and a collaborative piece I did with Diane Getty is at the Southern Highland Craft Guild members' exhibit at the Folk Art Center--both in Asheville, NC.  I also have a small tapestry being shown at the Australian National University along with the work of artists from Australia,  UK, and USA.  The thirty tapestries in the exhibit, Elements: earth, fire, air, water, will travel to each of the three countries over the next year and a half.

During November and December will be Time Warp--and Weft, an exhibit of woven works by several of us who do time-passage weavings: Jan Austin, Geri Forkner, Janette Meetze, Kathy Spoering, and me.  The exhibit is at NOTO Arts Center, Topeka, KS and is up during the same time that ATB11 is on exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum, in Topeka. We'll be exhibiting our time works together again in 2017 at Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens, GA.

Getting art work out and into exhibits is a challenge!  Yet, it's something that most of us who make work want to do, whether the works are for sale or not.  Sharing about one's creative process is important to most everyone who makes art, I think.  Having an idea and bringing it into a visual reality through whatever means one uses goes to another level when others see it and engage with it.

Sharing about process is something I want to do, whether it's through exhibiting my work or teaching.  I also occasionally share through writing.  I mentioned a few posts back that I have an article in the Summer issue of Surface Design Journal.  Here are a few photos from the issue:

The article was about the value of artist residency times.  Here's the pdf of the article.

I've written quite a lot in my blog before about how important times away are to my art making process.  Right now, I'm beginning to work on ideas for the next large tapestry and I'll be spending some time at Lillian Smith Center soon to concentrate on that goal.  In the meantime, the October tapestry diary grows daily... here's where it's gotten to today, October 15:

More from Lillian Smith Center later!