Sunday, September 30, 2007

The last Sunday in September

Sunday morning, and playing hookey from church. Not really--Dylan still isn't quite up to par and I don't want him around any more germs than necessary. He did not have strep however, just a viral throat infection. He's been sleeping late, eating what he wants, and just generally taking it easy. Back to school tomorrow, though.

I have used my time this weekend to good advantage, finishing up some PMC pieces and making them into finished wearable jewelry. More pendants to show today, in various permutations. The long piece on the left had to be fired twice, but it turned out well, I think. I've used liver of sulfur to patina all but the fern pendant; on that I used Black Max.

I've used either rubber stamps or rubber texture mats to do these pieces, which I shall take to Artful Taste of Autumn in October. That's only two weeks away. Yikes! Good thing I've ordered more PMC.

I'm planning on taking my digital camera to Artful Taste of Autumn. I want to post photos so I can share a bit of the evening's events with people online. It really is such a great time, and the setting is absolutely perfect.

Lastly, here's that elusive Romeo, in his little kitty bower on the deck. My DH wants me to tell you that, appearances to the contrary, Romeo does indeed have a tail.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

bad blogger

This is only my second post this week and I can't even use the excuse that I've been spending the rest of my time in the studio. It's just everything else that's happened intruding on blogging and studio time, and to an extent on sleeping time, too.

Dylan is with my mother today, having gone home from school with what may be strep throat. Ick. We'll know later when we get the results of the strep screen at the doctor's lab. At any rate it will probably mean a round of antibiotics for him.

I fully intend to spend a great deal of time creating this weekend, and will post photos of the results, whatever they may be. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 24, 2007

photo extravaganza

I thought you might enjoy seeing some pics I took at Scottish Festival this past weekend. At the left are a few of the young ladies from Corry Academy of Irish Dance. I have watched for seven years as many of these girls have come up through the ranks of dancers to emerge as really fine artists, continuing a great legacy and keeping alive traditional Irish dance. Below are two of the girls in action.

Here are the Wichita Scottish Country Dancers, led by Andy Aitken, the gentleman facing the camera. Sorry this photo is so dark. We were in a large tent.

These are the Sunflower Stompers, a clogging team from McPherson who travel all over the state and even out of state performing at all kinds of venues.
On to other things. I had promised some photos of the PMC jewelry I've been working on, so here they are. These are all pendants.

This piece was made using a rubber stamp of an angel. I have captured the head and one wing. I used liver of sulfur to give the piece a patina.

Another piece taken from a rubber stamp. I like to use the rollover method of construction because it provides the piece with a built-in bail for threading the neck chain. I treated this with a product called "black Max" which gives a very dark patina.

I've made a couple of these pendants, again from a rubber stamp. This has a loop bail on the back and no patina.

This is rather dark but you can get the idea. I made this on a rubber texture mat made for use with PMC. Another example of a rolltop bail, plus this includes a champagne colored CZ stone set into the piece. Again, patinaed with liver of sulfur.
I have a few pairs of earrings also in process, plus one or two more pendants.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

a busy weekend

This is Scottish Festival weekend in my town. We have an extra 6000 or so people in town to enjoy our 13th annual festival. My husband and I spent several hours there today, listening to great music, perusing vendors' wares, and eating at the mobile food court. It was a great time as usual. I played today, because tomorrow I have to "work" (if you can call it that), hosting a tent featuring Scottish country dancers, Irish step dancers (lovely, lovely), and a 100% American clogging team. Clogging, for those who may not know, has its roots in Scots-Irish folkdancing which becomes quite obvious when viewed alongside Irish step dancers. Lots in common.

I have managed to get one or two PMC jewelry bits made and fired today, in spite of my jam packed weekend. So far I've done two pair of earring dangles and four pendants. After I've got everything fired and patinaed to my liking I'll post some photos.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Opera House and other items

Thought it might be interesting to post a photo of McPherson Opera House where The Gallery at VAAM is located. The Gallery occupies the lower right hand storefront of this fine old building. You can read more about the building's history here:

In other news, I'm looking toward getting ready for a Visual Arts Alliance of McPherson fundraiser, Artful Taste of Autumn, which is such a great evening. Held at the rural home of a VAAM member, this annual event features the work of various artists for show and sale, plus an opportunity to taste different wines paired with delicious tapas made by one of the hosts, chef John Hershberger. He and his wife, Chris Petrucci Hershberger, have turned their old farmstead into a bit of Tuscany right in the middle of the prairie, making it a delightful venue for this thoroughly enjoyable evening. Last year's event was absolutely great, the weather was perfect, ambiance was lovely, and the participants were such fun. That's coming up on October 13; I'll take some photos to post. I plan to feature my handmade jewelry at the event since it's very portable and people really seem to like it. Which means, of course, that I have to get on the ball and make more pieces since I was kinda depleted after the last fundraiser, Art in the Garden. Which also means I'll have to make some room on my crowded studio work surfaces. Like Rosanne Rosannadanna said, it's always something.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stormy weather

Hey, it's my birthday. That means I get to go to the DMV and renew my driver's license. Fun, fun. Got waked up by a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. The windows were open because we've been having nice cool weather, so I got to hear the thunder in stereo.
I'm working on another patinated papier mache piece, using what I learned during my first experiments and applying it to a hanging mounted on a black panel (I think). So far, so good.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday night--finished and unfinished projects

Blogging has been lighter than I would have liked this week, but sometimes real life intrudes on the blogosphere.

This is the bowl I reworked because I wasn't happy with the gilded finish. I think it is much improved. I understand the patinating process a lot better after experimenting with it a bit, and the metallic highlights are under much better control.

This angle catches some of the gilded interior of the bowl, which is just gold metallic rub-on over matte black acrylic paint. Amazing what you can do with some old newspaper and a bit of glue. Click on images for closeups.

This bit is for my friend Jules. I've got the bare bones of the photo project going here, with blue dupioni silk for the background and marbled handmade Thai paper in the fore. Obviously a long way from complete, but you can get an idea of the colors.

I want to say thanks to Jules for continuing to look at my blog and contribute encouraging comments, and to Maggie G. for answering my technical questions at her blogsite and for being such an incredible inspiration. Also, thanks to my hometown friends and fellow artists who are dropping by my site nowadays, and also to my mother who always thinks whatever I do is wonderful. Love you, Mom.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I'm working on translating a beautiful photo into a fiber piece, the first time I've attempted such a thing. It's actually (so far) composed of dupioni silk and marbled, handmade paper with a fabric feel. I like the effect thus far. I'll take photos as I progress.

I'm also working on another papier-mache piece, this time a hanging piece possibly in three or more separate parts. I'm not an artist who plans everything out step by step. I'm very much a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type. Not just in art, either; it spills over into other aspects of my life and I have to watch it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday comes too soon

The weekend zipped by, filled with trying to catch up on housework and laundry and other things that have waited too long (paying bills!). I didn't get as much time in my studio as I would have liked, however I did make another attempt at the patinated bowl and am much happier with the results so far. I'm waiting to receive a different copper metallic paste via FedEx which I will apply to the bowl, then take some photos to post here. Maggie Grey suggested a gilding wax different from what I have been using, which I shall try to find a US source for.

My UK pen-friend and photographer Jules has graciously given me permission to translate one of her photos into a fiber piece, probably something involving machine quilting. I'm anxious to get started. I will, of course, post the results here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hooray for Friday

It's Friday, which means I can look forward to at least a couple of uninterrupted hours in the studio. I have been playing with modeling foam and some metal pieces, plus some scraps of earlier projects that I couldn't bear to throw away. Maybe they'll magically turn into something nifty.

This is the bowl I've been working on. See what I mean about too much gilding? I love the colors, but it seems a bit heavy. I think I'll start from the patinization process again and rework it from there. Otherwise, I like the shape of the bowl and the stitching detail. The inside is matte black with light gold gilded highlights which give an interesting sheen.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cat blogging

I know Fridays are the usual days for cat blogging, but I'm getting an early start. Here are two of my three 3-month old kittens. Tiger is on the left, Rusty on the right. Romeo was not in the mood to be photographed. Maybe later.

New Projects

I'm feeling a bit at loose ends since I'm done with the push for the fiber show. I did manage to do some sorting out and putting away yesterday, although my work table is still a disaster. Seems like I never have more than about two square feet of actual workspace with stuff piled up encroaching on me from all directions.

I've been perusing various of my wonderful books looking for new worlds to conquer. I think I'll play with some techniques I haven't tried before. Maggie Grey's Workshop on the Web has some wonderful ideas on things to do with metal. I've had metal sheets laying around my workshop for a long time and have only recently begun fiddling with it. Maybe that's where I'll start. Beryl Taylor is another very innovative artist who pulls in materials you'd never think of and utilizes them in intriguing ways. One thing she uses is Crayola's Model Magic, stamping into it to give texture, then painting and gilding it. Turns out cool. I've done a bit of that myself, so I'll try to post some photos of my efforts.

The bowl I refered to earlier is shaping up, although I think I went a bit overboard on the gilding. I used Shiva Paintstix (or Markal, if that's what you know them by) and I think I was a bit heavy handed. Oh well, that's what practice is all about.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Gallery at VAAM

This is the hanging I was working on last weekend, now part of the fiber show at the gallery I'm a part of. I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

This is an art doll, "Dream Girl", along with one of the felted
wool bowls I posted earlier.

This is my real-life "art doll", my youngest son Dylan. He's 7 and was helping me take pictures yesterday. He had a peppermint in his mouth so his face looks kind of funny.

Here are my collage book, a PMC and fiber bracelet (in the case) and two small handmade books bound with colorful fibers.

And finally, several views of The Gallery, taken from various angles.

The Gallery is located in a corner of the newly
restored Opera House in our town. Originally built in the late 1800's, it has been an ongoing process of many years to obtain the funds to go forward. Now however, it has been fully funded and the storefronts, office area, grand ballroom, and lobby areas (3 stories altogether) have been completed. Next on the agenda is restoring the auditorium itself, and turning the previously unfinished basement area into a community arts center. We're excited!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

back to reality

It was lovely having three days to be in my studio uninterrupted by having to go to my day job. However, since I enjoy my place of employment and co-workers it isn't really a hardship to go back.

I didn't accomplish too much in the way of cleaning up my studio (I know, naughty me) because early in the process I discovered a half-finished papier-mache bowl and decided to embellish it with an interesting patination process a' la Maggie Grey. Thanks to her wonderful photographs and descriptions of the process, I think it is turning out pretty much as it should. When I'm exploring a technique new to me it helps me to make something close to the original idea, then branch out from there. So Maggie, when I post a photo that looks a lot like your original, understand that it will be used for my personal edification only. Anything I put for public display or for sale may be based on your techniques but won't look like a copy of your work. I'm wondering, too, how on earth you figure out some of the processes you use. You seem to have more of an understanding of chemistry than I do. You're one intrepid woman.

Monday, September 3, 2007

the hanging is hung

Whew! I finally finished the last piece for the fiber show at about 8 this morning, having been working on it since 6:30 after being up stitching til 11:30 last night. I don't have a photo to post yet, but I'll take the digicam to The Gallery when the exhibit is up and photograph it in situ.

This handmade collage book is in the show, too. Here are photos of the front cover and a couple of the inside pages.

I included four hand torn signatures in the book, embellishing only the first page in each signature. The rest of the pages are blank for journaling.

Here is another felted wool bowl, embellished with beading and stitch. It is really more fuschia than either of these photos show. By the way, the faint check pattern visible in these photos is my mother's kitchen tablecloth showing through the drape! I'm such a professional photog, you know.

I'm afraid now it's time to clean up my studio although that's a relative term, to be sure. My studio isn't ever really CLEAN. How on earth would I find anything? :-)

Thanks so much to Jules, my pen-friend of many years standing, for visiting and making kind comments, and for promising to put a link to my blog on hers, which shows her lovely photographs. She's the real professional photographer, believe me. Check it out at And hello to Dianne from "downundah"! Thanks for visiting my humble blog.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day weekend

This long weekend couldn't come at a better time for me because of everything I need to finish for the fiber show.

Julie, thanks for your warm welcome to the world of blogging. I'm loving it so far! Maggie H., thanks for the tips on handling posting photos. I really appreciate it.

Another thing I enjoy doing is making jewelry. The piece at the right is one I sold recently. I love how the borosilicate beads just glow in the light. I have also recently discovered precious metals clay and have used it with pretty good success for someone who usually hasn't the least idea what she's doing until she's in the middle of something.