Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Other Creations from Last Week

There were a couple evenings last week when I just had to do something with my hands that didn’t involve turning a mandrel…so I made 2 different rings on Monday & Tuesday evening before going to bed.

This was Monday’s creation…

And here is Tuesday’s ring…

The other nights I dove into some lampworking books that Marjorie had brought for us to look at. I love books, and they were an excellent source of inspiration & knowledge. One of them I decided to buy when I got home was “Torchworked Marbles” by Drew Fritts. I don’t really have intentions of creating marbles right now, but so much of this book was full of information about setting up a studio and generally working with glass that it is going to be an excellent resource to have on hand.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I’m Home!

I had the most wonderful time!!! Marjorie is an excellent teacher! She is very patient and willing to share her knowledge with eager students. My brain is packed full of so much new information! Half way through the week I had to start taking notes because I was afraid I wouldn’t remember it all. I learned a ton, and she was very encouraging about my work too (which is always nice).

I feel like all I did last week was eat and make beads…with a little sleep sprinkled in here and there. It was so much fun! Here are all my experiments… (If you click on this first picture, it will enlarge a bit.)

Here are a few of the beads that I’m especially proud of…

I have some work left to go on the studio in the garage before I can get setup to make beads on a regular basis, but I’m anxious to get things done now! Anything to get back in front of that torch again!

I found myself dreaming of beads each night as I fell asleep…watching the layers build and constantly turning the mandrels to keep everything warm. I guess that’s when you know you’re hooked! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lampworking Classes

I’m so excited about my upcoming adventure! Next week I will in Smithville, TN at the Appalachian Center for Craft taking a weeklong glass beadmaking workshop with Marjorie Langston! Yippee!!!

I took a 2-day class several years ago and loved the process. It’s absolutely amazing to be able to play with molten glass in fire! :) Who wouldn’t love it?

After selling most of my letterpress equipment, I now have room in the garage to finally setup a lampworking studio. I really enjoyed making glass beads years ago, but I felt like I needed a refresher course (for safety & skill reasons) before diving back into it. Plus, being able to take a class from a different teacher might spark some new ideas.

I won’t have access to my computer until next Saturday, but there will be lots of pictures and stuff to talk about upon my return! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Whimsical Animals Workshop 2

Here is my finished little quilt. :) Isn’t it fun!

I especially like how the striped fabric creates a nice frame for the little quilt. It was my first attempt at a proper binding, and I really like the result.

I really enjoyed going through the step-by-step process, and I’m excited to try the technique out with some of my own illustrations. Sheila is such an excellent teacher, very encouraging, and always inspiring!

Thank you Sheila!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Painted Portraits

Well, I tried my hand at painting a couple of portraits not too long ago. Both of them are done in black & white oil on 16x20x1.5 inch canvases.

I started with a simple snapshot…

…and here is the finished painting.

I wanted the main focus to be on their faces, and I really like that the finished pieces are much larger than life. I remember the first time I saw them in person after painting these and thinking how incredibly tiny their heads seemed in comparison!

Here is the second photo…

…and here is the finished painting.

A few close-ups...

I really enjoyed creating these and will be offering custom portraits in my shop on Etsy in the near future. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in having a portrait painted!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bead Embroidered Cuff

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an active member of the Knoxville Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. Through this group, and more specifically one of the smaller interest groups within the chapter that focuses on beading, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of beading techniques.

We recently finished this bead embroidered cuff project that was taught by Gail DeLuca of White Fox Bead Studio in Maryville, TN. It was amazing to see how differently all the bracelets turned out and how everyone’s personality was evident in their work.

I’m really pleased with how mine turned out!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My First Fabric Bowl

More about the Smoky Mountain Quilters...If you’ve never been to one of their shows, it’s amazing! Overflowing with talent and loads of “eye candy”. My mom and I have attended their quilt show the past few years and have never been disappointed.

While we were there we saw a vendor demonstrating a technique for making fabric bowls, and I just had to try it out. Basically it is made by wrapping strips of fabric around cotton clothesline and zig-zag stitching it together as you coil it.

Here is my first bowl. It was really fun!

There is a book written about the technique, "It’s a Wrap" by Susan Breier. Check it out if you are interested.

My very, very first piece ended early on because I realized I wanted to use a shiny thread instead of plain cotton, my tension was off, and I didn’t want the lighter strips in it...but it makes a lovely coaster! I’ve been using it beside my keyboard, and it makes me smile.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whimsical Animals Workshop

Well, I stepped out of my little box and decided to join the local Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild. I wouldn’t really consider myself a quilter, but I love to experiment with different fabrics & fibers. And what a wonderful opportunity to learn some new skills from another group of talented women!

They have lots of workshops throughout the year…my first of which was today. It was taught by a very talented friend of mine, Sheila Rauen, who makes the most gorgeous, whimsical quilts. As soon as I heard about the class, I jumped at the chance to learn from her and find out how she works through a project.

Here is my little quilt so far…

All my pieces are sewn down and I’m ready to begin free motion quilting!

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's the meaning of all this?

I would like to consider myself an artist (or at least I aspire to be one someday). But I’m having a terrible time getting very far down this road. My hope is that by starting this blog and sharing my journey that I will be able to work through my issues, learn how to make beautiful art, and truly enjoy the process again.

At some point I think I decided I had to commit to something, become really good at it, and be happy doing that one thing forever. Maybe throughout this process I will actually find that one thing that keeps me going and gets me up in the morning…or maybe my thing is to create lots of different kinds of art. I really don’t know, but I’m anxious to get started and find out!

My plan is to experiment with lots of different materials and document my creative journey along the way. I’m going to give myself permission to dive into color, texture, and pattern, and simply allow myself to “play” again.

I’m new to the whole blog idea, but I think this “journal” will keep me accountable and force me to grow and create more than I have been able to on my own in the past. I want to challenge myself to keep going and set new goals for myself along the way.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little about me

I received a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2001. Since then I have worked as a Freelance Graphic Designer and a letterpress printer.

The letterpress obsession began in college. While at UT, we took a class trip to Hatch Show Print in Nashville, TN. I remember being overwhelmed by all the interesting “stuff”. Floor to ceiling carved blocks, drawers and drawers of old type, and beautiful, fascinating machinery.

When I got home, I started looking around online for a press. I just had to get my hands on one of those machines! While I enjoyed designing and working on the computer, there was something magical and so much more appealing about getting my hands dirty and working with vintage materials.

My dad, fiancĂ©, and I took a road trip to Canada to visit Don Black’s shop, retrieve my very own Vandercook SP-15, and handpick an assortment of typefaces to get me started. It was wonderful! My own wedding invitations were one of the first projects I ever printed.

During my senior year at UT, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to intern at Yee-Haw Industries. I was able to observe the day-to-day operations of a successful letterpress shop, and it was a thrill for me to just be around all the type and presses! Since then I’ve enjoyed printing wedding invitations and stationery on the side as time allows.

During the last several years I’ve been an active member of the Knoxville Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, and have thoroughly enjoyed my experiments in fiber and textile art. Beading is another passion of mine, and I’ve done a few paintings recently. I think I just like making things with my hands!

Well, to make a long story short, I found myself wanting to try a variety of other artforms and decided it would be ok to sell my press and make room in the garage for a lampworking studio. (More about this in the near future!)

I’m anxious, excited, and quite honestly terrified to start a new chapter in my life, and that is where this blog begins…