Last night I hosted a group of long-time Herb Society friends at the Studio. I wanted to have a project for them that was easy, fun and useful, and not too labor intensive, so I chose Pocket Pendants. These are pretty little folded paper adornments to wear or hang from a twig or give as a small gift. Soooooo – your Friday Freebie is a pattern to make a Pocket Pendant for yourself. You can find it at this link on my website – cut it out, add stuff, and voila! Functional art! The pictures, below, will give you ideas – my friends did a fantastic job on their projects. They are good cooks, too – they brought food for a pre-workshop potluck supper. Yum. The plantains with brown sugar were particularly yummy. Thanks, Y’All!
So I joined the Fiber Artists of San Antonio in March under false pretenses – the only fiber I knew anything about came in my granola. But I am learning so much from this talented group – it started when I met Sherrill Kahn at the first meeting I attended.
Today I took the plunge and worked a bit with surface design on fabric. It was amazing! And fun! After about four hours steady work in the Studio, I completed three pieces (well, the surface part, anyway). I even had time to do some sewing on one piece. The materials I used were Gesso, acrylic paint, India ink (that may have been a mistake – it’s very intense and unforgiving – live and learn), pattern stamps, and gold leaf sealed with acrylic medium. I also tried a digital heat transfer on one of the pieces. Here are the results. i don’t know where I’m going from here, but I do know that I’m hooked on working with fabric and fiber. Look out, FASA 🙂.
Time for the drawing. . . . (drum roll) OK, first I gotta download my subscriber list – – now I go to the Random Number Generator – – now I match the number – – – Hey, it’s me!
That really did happen this time, so I randomized another number (fair is fair, after all) and the winner is my Etsy friend Denise Milledge! Congrats, Denise, and I have your address from Etsy, so this wonderful little tapestry from Uganda will be on its way to you today. Thanks for subscribing to SHARDS.
And thanks to everybody else, too – more Friday freebies coming up. Sound of applause! PS – Free Tip: Did you know that you can find and play sounds of applause and just about everything else on the site below for free? Think of the possibilities! My theory is that some people will search for the “pig, fart” sounds, and others will go the “robin, harp” route. Or maybe “robin fart” – geez, it’s been a long day 🙂 Have fun searching and listening: http://www.findsounds.com/ISAPI/search.dll
Things are so quiet here – our house guests, Pablo and Beverly Solomon are safely home, the Studio is back to its usual self, ready for workshops, and I just finished posting the video from the weekend (below). What great memories we’ll all have! These photos are from both evenings, and include some really great shots of guests posing with their original Pablo Solomon drawings, with Pablo and with his pet monster lizard creature, Diablo. Thanks to everyone who came and helped make this an artful and art-filled weekend!
When the Sacred Ground exhibit opened at Cathedral House Gallery in late May, I met a woman named Helen Schnelzer who sponsors a wonderful program called Threads of Blessing, an annual needlework workshop for the women of Uganda. These workshops are designed to encourage women to gather as a community, learn organizational skills, and help develop personal esteem. I purchased five of the embroidered tapestries and wanted to share one with a SHARDS subscriber as a Friday Freebie. This one was embroidered by Abby Thorciba, who writes in her statement, “I have orphans I care for . . .the Lord has given me this to feed, clothe and care for them and myself.” Look at the great expression on this face!
Here is the full tapestry – it’s about 18×18″ on unbleached muslin and could be stretched to frame or sewn into a hanging or a pillow. It’s signed by Abby Thorciba. I’ll wait until Sunday to do the Friday Freebie drawing but will let you know who the winner is Sunday night. All subscribers will have a chance to win, and I thank you so much for reading my blog.
And here’s the brochure – click on it to read it, and if you’d like to donate, you can write to The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, Attn: Threads of Blessing, PO Box 6885, San Antonio, TX 78209 (or just email me and I can give you more information – I’m not affiliated with the program, but I definitely support its philosophy and will continue to purchase these unique works).
Yes, you too can do this in July! Even the smelling part – the July workshops at the Studio are posted and ready for action. And the first one is something different. It’s an Aromatherapy Spa workshop on Wednesday evening, July 10. Here’s the description:
“I’ve taught classes in Aromatherapy since 1990 and would love to show you how to make your own beautiful, natural spa products using essential oils. You’ll take home bath salts, lotions, and linen spray as well as formulas and methods for extending your knowledge of aromatherapy.”
This should be really fun – and there’s a bit of art in learning how to do some creative packaging, especially with the bath salt envelopes.
BUT, WAIT! There’s more. Another new workshop (Wednesday, July 17, 6-8) involves the ancient Asian arts of Sumi-e and Gyotaku. I taught these two techniques for years at workshops for art teachers. Come discover the serenity of Becoming One With the Bamboo and Playing With Dead Fish! This is one of those “you’ll amaze yourself” workshops. You’ll even get to take home your own Sumi-e brushes.
The last two workshops are popular favorites with a twist – I’ve learned a new Spirit Doll wrapping technique and look forward to sharing it with you on Sunday, July 21. And if you’re hankering to play in the mud again, I’m offering a clay workshop on shard faces and small adornments (I’ll fire them for you) on Sunday, July 28th.
All of the links are on my website, and there’s the Paypal page which is ready to take your loot. As usual, the tuition is a mere $55, all materials included – just show up and create, limit eight lucky souls. I’ll be sending this out to my mailing list but wanted SHARDS subscribers to get the word first.
Today my odometer rolled over to 69000 miles . . .wow, that’s getting up there. Birthdays are weird. They are not different kinds of days, really, but when you are getting older than you ever thought you’d be, it does give pause. Here’s a photo I took a couple of years ago of my old track shoes – nice visual metaphor. I walk to the track early every morning and have for years – it’s my meditation time. And here’s one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems. Seems appropriate. . . thanks for being part of the journey, dear friends!
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~Mary Oliver ~
My first evening workshop at the Studio began somewhatdramatically when a driving rainstorm started just before we gathered, but it turned out to be a happy omen because the creative workshoppers outdid themselves. There was something comfortable and cozy about being together in the Studio with rain on the windows and Mozart playing on the laptop speakers. See for yourself – the participants made the loveliest magnetic pins. I provided the materials, including the earthenware faces, but they provided the magic.
Being away from the Studio for two weeks meant playing catch-up when I got back. There were a lot of things I could do art-wise while I was gone, but creating earthenware and firing it was not one of them. Sunday was Clay Day – I made about 60 small and large face shards and small sculpture pieces such as pendants. Monday was hurry-up-and-dry-so-I-can-fire-the-kiln day. I loaded the kiln Monday afternoon even though some larger pieces were still damp (gulp). This is a huge NO-NO. I don’t want to see you guys trying this.
Do you see the little face on top of the big face? It’s completely dry – you can tell because it’s white, but the big piece underneath is gray. It’s damp, and anyone with any sense wouldn’t fire it at this point, but I propped the kiln lid open, let it stay on Low for a few hours, and crossed my fingers that it would dry out and not shatter in the firing.
There’s really nothing mysterious about loading and firing a kiln. Most electric kilns like my Skutt have a kiln-sitter that uses a pyrometric cone made of clay. The cone is designed to melt at a specific temperature (in this case, about 1800F). When it melts, a three-prong device trips and turns the kiln off. That metal rectangular thingy has dropped down, indicating that the #05 cone on the inside has melted.
The Kiln Gods were kind – nothing broke, amazingly enough. Here’s the first tray just out of the kiln, still very warm.
Here’s the bottom layer, waiting to be unloaded. If you look on the right, you can see the slumped cone and the tripping device with the middle pin in the down position.
Back at last from Boston with lots of inspiration and good memories! Look what was waiting for me on Facebook yesterday, just in time for Eileen Achorn’s beading workshop this Saturday at the Studio – two fabulous examples of cabochon beading using my face shards. These were done by Kathy Cosgrove from Round Lake Beach, Illinois. She wrote, “I purchased a few of your shards a few months ago and I wanted to share with you the outcome of my projects.” All I can say is, “WOW.”
This is an extension of the same technique that Eileen will be teaching, although she will (blessedly) start us off with the basics – if you’re in San Antonio, I hope you’ll consider joining us from 11-2 next Saturday the 15th at the Studio. Here’s the sign-up link. I had no idea that the little clay faces could be elevated to the kid of art that Eileen and Kathy do! And Eileen promises that even I, with little patience and no beading experience to speak of, can do this. We’ll see. I’ll send a report and pics after the workshop if you can be there in person.
Now, repeat after me . . . there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home . . . . .:)