Its astounding that more than a year has gone by since I last posted here. It certainly wasn’t because I didn’t have anything going on! After 14 months of putting together all sorts of details that go into running a Main Street Gallery and hosting different art shows every month, organizing classes and websites for others, I found that I was doing a lot…but with more stress and less and less art. The owners and I had different goals, and came to a parting of the ways.
I learned a great deal, and will take it all with me to the next gallery or retail emporium in my future. I’m already checking into several different ways to integrate creative arts, instruction, and sales into a space in my community, and that’s where the focus will be: creative connections. I love having music, art, film, writing–all sorts of creative things going on, and I love sharing the buzz that you can get going with creativity. Creativity makes every day a little brighter. Perception and communication are my goals, and I promise to keep sharing them, here, there and everywhere.
I’ve moved my studio home just in time to take advantage of the upcoming warmer weather, and I’ve got outdoor classes in shibori, dyeing for textile artists, fabric painting, metal etching and polymer clay coming up. I’m also working on more dolls, and have a new PDF on creating ball joint dolls with polymer clay that is available EXCLUSIVELY through the Polymer Clay Adventure. I’m also back to work on the video for that, now that the studio is set back up at my house.
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Actually, it involves LOTS of splashes and lots of colors–I think we had 43 colors this year at our Annual Dyeing Days event.
As always, it was a marathon event, spanning 10 days of mixing, dying, rinsing, washing and of course cleanup!
This year we added a pole vaulting event. That is to say, we raided the vault which is our garage full of precious stuff–like old pvc pipes–and did some shibori arashi.
This form of resist dyeing (shibori) is done around poles to create an effect that can look like rain in a storm (arashi).
Or it can look like feathers, or leaves. You can see the shibori arashi designs we did this year on garments and fabric yardage in the tiedye slideshow.
Our friends come to dye along with us at these events. Here’s Susan shown unwrapping a shibori arashi dyed shirt.
Here’s the pattern it created on the shirt.
This year as always I dyed lots of fabric–cotton jersey and kona cotton this time as well as some lovely cotton gauze. I also did lots of doll bodies, silk handkerchiefs and lace for making up more Spirit Doll kits, and this time I even did feathers. They took the dye beautifully!
Judith and I are the two and the show is the 37th annual International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas at the George R. Brown Convention Center, October 14-18. We’ve done this show for several years now and love it. The fabrics, tools, embellishments and beautiful work are astounding in amount and variety!
We’ll be there in booths #1848 and #1850, with Fun Polymer Clay Jewelry By Judith Skinner and Sarajane’s Polyclay Gallery. We’re bringing jewelry, beads, faces, spirit doll kits, face bags, dyed textiles, millefiore slices and cabochons, paper dolls, and of course BOOKS! We’ll even autograph ’em.
We made a vow at this show last year that we’d have all our files converted and be globally distributed through Ingram Book Company, and we got it done. Now they are available through sources like Amazon.com and PolkaDotCreations.com and of from us directly.
Learning how to best use the right software like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator as well as Microsoft Word has taken up most of my creative time this year but now we are ready to go forward with new books, like Judith’s “The Art Of The Blend” and my two books on polymer clay masks.
I did manage to get in a few weeks of dyeing and fabric painting while on break between semesters, and it all does seem to add up, particularly when I try to pack it all into the luggage and haul it around! There are thousands of booths with an incredible variety of vintage and new items, and the explosion of color and creativity there is incredibly energizing and exciting. I’ll be sure to talk about it here in upcoming posts.
Please do come and see us at the show if you are there and say hello!
We’ve had rain all the first part of this week, and we needed the moisture. It is beautiful in a sunny way today, and we’re starting into the annual dyeing days! Today is prep day–I’ll be mixing dyes, and getting them into the bottles. I just ran off the sheets of labels for the plastic bottles. This year we have:
#03 Golden Yellow
#05 Soft Orange
#8A Pagoda Red
#13 Fuchsia Red
#14A Hot Pink
#21 Teal Blue
#23 Cerulean Blue
#27 Midnight Blue
#45 Jungle Red
#97 Citrus Yellow
#111 Black Cherry
#312 Strongest Red
#510 Basic Brown
We use Procion MX series coldwater fiber reactive dyes. We’ve found that labeling the bottles after mixing them up makes it easier to tell what’s what, when you have lots of colors. We also have bagged swatches (that’s the picture at top) so that we know how the color is going to come out, mostly.
Another good tip I’ll share with you is to mix your dyes with water and then pour through a coffee filter into the bottle, that way those pesky little red or turquoise spots are not a problem.
This year I’m dyeing lots more pieces of turned wood, because I LOVE how last years batch turned out. No ribbons this year–I did a lot of them last year.
They went into the current crop of Spirit Doll Kits along with the cotton and silk fabrics, and polymer clay faces. I’m selling them on Etsy.comwhich is an on-line site presenting handmade and vintage items. I’ll be adding lots more items in the upcoming weeks as I clean out the studio and help fund upcoming shows and projects.
I’ll also be dyeing some t shirt dresses and shorts for my own summertime wardrobe, and backdrop and curtain fabric that will be used in the Aunt Acid Show. They WERE beige muslin–how drab!! They were great when I did out door shows and needed backdrops that did not compete with the displays. But for this particular show, we can take LOTS of color. I’ve been gluing mosaic set pices, and things are coming along splendidly in a visual sense. Now for another big dose of color, and we’ll be onward into the Summer of More Love…and we happen to love art and music and humor, so I’d say these good times to “Be Happening”.
Speaking of summer time fun, I’ll be teaching a week long seminar on using dyed fabrics and polymer clays to make spirit dolls, icons, and masks this summer at Tougaloo College Summer Art Colony. July in Mississippi is time for some HOT ART!!