Monday, March 31, 2014

Field trip to Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, and Kearney

Allen and I went to visit Allen's son Arthur and his girlfriend Haley in Champaign-Urbana.  We had a lot of great food while visiting. Haley's dad made some awesome smoked ribs, and we also went to some great restaurants.

One day we went to Chicago.  The sun was shining but it was awfully cold. We swung by the "bean", then headed to The Art Institute of Chicago.


They have a great impressionist area.  I am working on a project with waterlilies, so I checked out Monet's.

We also went to the Museum of Science and Industry.

I liked their model of Chicago.

Then we went for pizza at Gino's East, which was super delicious.

A road trip isn't complete without some shopping.  We went to The IDEA Store in Champaign, which is kind of like a thrift store for teachers and artists.  A lot of things are sold by the pound.  I got all this stuff (some kind of orange fabric that has sewn seams, embroidery books, four old sewing patterns, an old zinc Hotel stamp, a small bag of metal bits, some slides)  for $3.70.  I really felt the need to buy more because it was so cheap, but I was good and did not.

I bought these fibers for felting projects. The blend on the left was not cheap, but it will look so great in a project.

 On our way into Kearney, NE, the sun was shining rays through the clouds.

Kearney is the Sandhill crane capital, and we were there during their migration period.  Tons of cranes in the skies and in the fields nearby.   They sleep by the river at night, but we did not go at dusk so see them flock there. There is always next year...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Denver field trip

Since I will be moving to Nebraska sometime this summer, I thought I'd take some time over the next few months to take some photos in Denver.

My friend Melanie is a photographer so we decided to go out on the town Sunday afternoon.  But our plans were somewhat changed when we found out there is a new "Modern Masters" exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. It was a really good exhibit, briefly touching on the different art periods (Surrealism, abstract expressionism, etc) from 1880-1980. They had quite a few nice examples of each and I thought it was well put together. 

Included in the price of admission was entry to the Clifford Still Museum next door. They had a special exhibit of some of his work, somewhat replicating a gallery show he had in 1959.  I like Still, but am not a huge fan.  Melanie said some of the paintings reminded her of cow hides, so I said I liked the Holsteins (black and white ones). The architecture of the Still museum is cool and very concrete. I love this patterned ceiling that lets the light in.

I left the guy in this picture to show the size of these paintings. They are massive. Clifford Still left the art scene in the late 50's (I believe the 1959 show was one of his last) and when he passed away a few years ago (?), he had 3000 works that were to go to a city willing to build a museum for them.  Somehow that ended up being Denver after the decision making. Still must have had a huge warehouse to store 3000 enormous paintings!

City skyline (McNicholls Building in the foreground).  Across Civic Center Park from the museums is the McNicholls Building.  I had never been in it before, but knew it was used for art-related events and it had huge welcome banners so we went in.
They have two exhibits which are free to the public.  One exhibit is 25 years of printmaking. There was a wide range of prints on display and it was quite a nice show. There were a lot of pieces that used photography in their printmaking process, which I didn't find quite as interesting as the others.

If you don't know, I love the artist Nick Cave. One of his screenprints was included in the show.
Nick Cave screenprint
The other exhibit was "The New West" and it had a variety of different art expressing this idea. I really liked this painting (I forgot to write down the artist's name, sorry!). I thought both shows were definitely worth checking out, especially since we were in the neighborhood.

 Meininger's is one of the big local art supply stores. This orange-ish building downtown was their original location.  It's been empty for over 10 years. I thought the contrast between it and all the high-rise hotels was interesting.

 California St

 The big blue bear.

 The Corner Office, nice swanky bar for a drink before a show at the Buell.

 Buell parking garage stairwell and theater entrance.

 Sam's #3, good Mexican food.

 16th St Mall

By this point, our feet hurt and we had to go to the Rio for some refreshment and a snack.  We didn't get very far in our photo adventures since we were distracted by all the art exhibits, so we are planning another adventure soon.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marbling on fabric

Marbling on fabric, check out this beauty! My method to create this is below.

I prepped everything Friday to do some fabric marbling on Saturday morning. I am using Jo Fitsell's technique. She is a local Denver artist and I have taken a surface design class with her at the Denver Art Student's League.  She was on two episodes of Quilting Arts TV, the link to one of the episodes is here. She has also done a full length video for Interweave on her marbling techniques.

I made my carrageenan liquid following the instructions on the package (I used Jacquard brand) on Friday late afternoon. The package said to make it 12 hours before and leave it at room temperature. Since it was longer than 12 hours, I put it in the refrigerator until 11 pm, then took it out. It needs to be at room temperature to use it. I didn't want to wait until the morning to take it out, then have to wait for it to reach room temperature.  I also soaked my fabrics in an alum solution for about a half hour, then hung them out to dry.  I did a solution of 1 3/4 Tbsp alum (all I had in the house) and a half gallon water. Next time I will use more alum. Alum is available in the spice aisle of the grocery store, but for larger quantities, it will need to be ordered online.

Here is my set-up. I am using Golden Fluid Acrylics. I mixed them roughly 50/50 with water (will probably add a little less water next time). The photo tray (roughly 14x16) has my carrageenan mixture in it. I have newsprint on the right to put the fabric on after marbling. I spread a drop cloth on the floor to put the fabric/newsprint on to dry. I would have done this outside if the weather had been nice, to give me more space for drying.

Here are some of the fabrics I used. There are some ice dyed fabrics, Setacolor puddle painted fabrics, white cotton, blue woven, hexagon commercial print, gelli printed fabrics, etc.

 I forgot to take process photos, but basically I used droppers to drip different colors of paint in the pan, then laid the fabric down on top. I lifted it up and put it on newsprint, and then the drop cloth, to dry.

Here are photos of the fabrics after they were dry, before they were rinsed to remove the alum and carrageenan. Above each photo, I note what type of fabric was used.

Hexagon commercial print.

Poly sheer (left) and ice dyed cotton (right)

Dark blue woven (left) and black mottled (right)

 Grungy green fabric from last marbling session (left) and ice dyed (right)

 Grungy green fabric from last marbling session (left) and ice dyed (right)

Gelli-print (left) and white fabric (right)

Ice dyed linen

 Previous marbled fabric (left) and gelli print (right)

Gelli print (left) and dark blue woven (right)

Gelli print (left) and white fabric (right)

Silk organza (left) and gelli-print (right)

Ice dyed fabric (this was a pink/purple color)

These were strips of acrylic painted canvas that I had sewn together. It was an orangy red with blue blotches.  I did not think it would marble well, since it had different layers, but it turned out great!  I am going to make some more "patchwork" type backgrounds to marble on.
 After rinsing the fabrics, I hung them out to dry. It was nice to see such cheerful fabrics on a gloomy afternoon.

I did have a problem with some of the paint getting removed (just a bit, but enough to notice and annoy me) from a handful of these during the washing process. Next time I am going to put more alum in my soaking water for the fabric at the beginning, to help with paint retention. I also will be a bit more gentle when washing them out. I did it in the kitchen sink, but put them all in and squished them around pretty hard. I would do them individually and just soak briefly in soapy water, then run under the tap. I am thinking of touching some of them up with watered down acrylic or I could do another layer of marbling.

After the prep work, the actual marbling of two dozen pieces took 2 to 3 hours.  The carrageenan was down to maybe 1/4" deep (started at roughly 1-1/2" deep) and looked pretty gunky from all the paint so I didn't bother to save it.  If I had more left (with less paint gunk), I would have put it in a container (for art use only) and put it in the refrigerator. It will last a little while in there (a week?).

After seeing the results, marbling can be pretty addictive. Now I need to make some art quilts with these!

Update: I did some more marbling in May which you can see here. I put a second layer on many of the pieces in this post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Aspens" in the Fiber Celebrations Show, Ft. Collins

If you are in Ft Collins this Friday evening, please stop by the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild show, Fiber Celebration 2104. My wet-felted piece "Aspens" (below) is in the show. The opening reception is Friday from 5 to7 pm.

Fiber Celebration 2014
Lincoln Center
417 Magnolia Street
Fort Collins, CO 80521
March 14 through April 26, 2014
Opening reception and awards ceremony - March 14, 5:00 to 7:00 PM