art, art retreats, bloggy stuff, fiber art, Rebel stitching, Slow cloth, Upcycling, weaving

Latest news from moi

Suddenly I feel like Miss Piggy today. Couldn’t tell you why.

A lot of things have happened since I last posted. I stopped paying to have my blog ad-free and the ads are pretty disgusting, so I may break down and upgrade to a paid account. I hate to do it, because between that and paying for my photos to be hosted on Flickr, that adds up to over $100 per year. I can’t really let the Flickr account go because I have linked most of my photos to that account. That would be an enormous amount of work to correct that. Plus, I really am attached to my domain name. I’ve had it since 2005. The thought of letting it go has become more intolerable to me.

I am going to convert this over to more of an artist website, and my postings to Facebook and Instagram should appear on the sidebar. But that will take a while. Maybe over the winter break. I’ll have made a decision about whether the cost is worth it by October.

^^^Pablocito, studio assistant, and the reason why there is aluminum foil everywhere. (He doesn’t like it.)

I took a week’s vacation at home in late July because it was slow at work and I have a lot of vacation time built up. It was marvelous. Really, I almost preferred it to traveling.

The first thing on my agenda was to warp up this “new” Beka rigid heddle loom for a sakiori workshop later that week. It was not anywhere near as simple as I thought it would be, and by the time I rewarped it and got the tension right, it took three days and some help from a friend! However, now I know some things I should and shouldn’t do with this type of loom. For one thing, I doubt that I will put three yards of warp on it again.

This patchwork from Jude Hill’s online class (see below) really scratches an itch for me. I love that it is portable. The only problem is my hands can’t take as much hand sewing as I would like to do. My sewing machines (plural) are a constant pain in my ass to keep running and maintained, but I did abuse them pretty badly when I was doing the denim and t-shirt quilt projects. It still amazes me that you can buy a new cheap machine for as much as it is to repair one.

Anyway, bitching aside, I LOVE making these little “puzzle pieces” and putting them together in different ways. It reminds me of my favorite toy growing up, which I think was sold by Tupperware. It was like Legos, but with tiny little pegged pieces in different shapes that could be pushed into a plastic grid. I constantly played with it sitting on the den floor, and I still have a box with the pieces somewhere. It drove my father nuts because he was always stepping on them.

Later that week when I felt like dealing with warping a loom again I caught up on the Rebecca Mezoff/Sarah Swett “Fringeless” online class that I began LAST SUMMER, and by the end of the week, I had this Mirrix loom warped and ready to go. The warping method produces a four selvedge tapestry that is ready when it comes off the loom, no sewing in ends or hemming edges required. To be honest, it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it.

Then on Saturday, I went to the sakiori class that was taught by Dawn Hummer of Saori Song Weaving in Chapel Hill, and sponsored by the Triangle Weavers Guild in a great space that they rent on an ongoing basis in an old school near Durham. I didn’t really learn that much, and I don’t need any encouragement to cut loose and play, but it is always good to hear how and why other artists do what they do. I got to see Saori looms and how they work, and that was really cool. It was fun and that was the whole point. I decided to make some pieces to use as book covers. Here is the first one. There is room on the warp for many more.

In other news, I’ve had to learn how to live without air conditioning for a few days. I hope it won’t be much longer. It is good for me to be reminded not to take this for granted. Work is revving back up with the fall semester classes beginning in only two weeks. The Tapestry Weavers South retreat is in nearby Elkin, NC on Labor Day weekend, so I have that to look forward to. After that, I doubt I will be able to afford any other art retreats or workshops because I am going to have to dip into my savings to pay for the Ireland trip before January, and to be responsible I will pay my savings back. It will be totally worth it to go back to Ireland, where I belong.

art retreats, book arts, Focus on Book Arts, Nature printing, Oregon

Focus on Book Arts – Surface Design on Metal and Paper

I have so much fun with Leighanna Light’s techniques that I decided to take both of her classes at FOBA this year. I took a break on Friday because I have finally learned that I cannot go full charge for five days at an art retreat without falling apart before the end. Kathy went home. So that was the day I roamed around town by myself and took photos. Susanne and I sent three boxes full of stuff that we bought or no longer needed for classes back home by Priority Mail. I repacked everything and left the suitcase with one wheel in the garbage can.

On Saturday, Judy joined my class, so it was nice to reconnect with her. She gave me an accordion flag style book she made with her handmade paper and photos she took of the textures at Yellowstone National Park. Such a nice memento of our time together there. I’ll post a photo later. Also sitting at our table was Virginia Sumner, attending her first art retreat. She was kind enough to give us a ride back to the MAX line station so that we didn’t have to lug bags too far. You can check out Virginia’s artwork here. I love making new friends at art retreats, even though I didn’t try very hard at this one.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

phototransfer

^^^On Saturday morning we concentrated on the techniques that would have to dry for a while. The first thing we did was make gesso photo transfers on metal. It’s a very simple technique but I always have problems with any kind of photo transfer. I think that I will try to rub a little more paper off.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^I had some extra tin so I played with gesso and stencils again.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^We went out and picked leaves to do leaf prints on copper and brass. This is a technique that Leighanna developed. The brass turned the copper a bluish color where they were stacked – or was it the copper turned the brass blue – aw heck, I’m mixed up, but it was cool. I think that the brass is the bigger piece.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^We spent the afternoon painting and stenciling and stamping watercolor paper with gesso, let them dry, then painted over them with dyes and chalk paint. I could do this for weeks and I don’t know why I don’t do it more when I am at home. I am resistant to getting paint on my hands and I hate gloves so I guess that is it, but if I am somewhere else in a workshop I am happy slapping wet stuff on paper and getting it all over me. I kept going back and adding more color here and there.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^The following day we tore our papers into signatures and bound them into a book with a canvas cover with a longstitch binding. I can make three more books with the extra signatures I made.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

^^^Then came the tough decision – what metal plate to use on the cover? I would have been fine with several of these. It helped to cut down the leaf prints into smaller sections. Once I did that, one stood out and I went with it.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

We attached the metal with a metal punch and little nuts and bolts. I originally bound the book with red thread to give it a pop, but after I attached the plate I rebound it with black thread. Part of the look was to hang ribbons and yarns and odd bits to the threads hanging off the spine. I like that kind of thing, but I didn’t go for it with either of my books. I preferred the simple look of the plain black thread on the spine, so I brought the ends of the threads to the inside as in a pamphlet binding.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's Surface Design on Metal and Paper class

I still need to glue the back and front papers to the cover, but I’m very happy with the results I had in both workshops. I don’t expect to come home with something that I am so satisfied with, because the idea is that I am learning and playing, so this was great.

Susanne and I flew back on the redeye from Portland to Greensboro late that night. PDX is a great airport, with good shops and restaurants at normal prices. I end this series with the amazing banh mi from Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, which I washed down with a “Made Marion” marionberry cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. I will miss the food and drinks in Oregon.

Bahn Mi at PDX

art retreats, book arts, Focus on Book Arts, Forest Grove, Oregon

Focus on Book Arts – The Construction of an Art Book

My first class at Focus on Book Arts was with Leighanna Light, titled “The Construction of an Art Book.” Susanne and Kathy joined me for this one. For two days we collaged, painted, and stenciled a strip of canvas that was folded and glued into a book. We also stenciled onto metal pieces and applied chemicals for a “faux etching” effect.

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^The process

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Painted canvas strips drying

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book

^Photo by Leighanna Light

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^^^My book and each page spread

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Faux etching with stencils on copper and tin

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^photo by Leighanna Light

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

^Leighanna with the students’ books

FOBA- Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book  class

FOBA - Leighanna Light's The Construction of an Art Book class

art retreats, book arts, dyeing, Mixed media art, North Carolina, North Carolina beaches

Ancient Wisdom


A couple of weekends ago, Susanne, Sandy, and I went to Topsail Beach for a long weekend. Sandy hung out by himself mostly while Susanne and I took a workshop with Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller called Ancient Wisdom. We stayed at the Jolly Roger Inn and Pier. The weather was a bit chilly and cloudy and it rained really hard one night but we got out on the beach a little. We had oceanfront rooms and that was nice.

We drove down on Thursday evening and ate dinner at the Beach Shop and Grill. With that name we expected hamburgers and hot dogs but it was a very expensive and wonderful restaurant. Sandy saved us by picking up the check. He had crab cakes that were divine. I am not sure that there was any bread in them at all. Susanne and I had shrimp and grits and I think that they might now be number one on my list of favorite shrimp and grits places.

In the morning, we indulged in doughnuts from the Fractured Prune. At this point I knew that there was no hope for my diet. When we went back to the hotel room, Susanne and I walked on the beach and picked up stuff, as you do, and after we went up to our rooms this guy showed up drawing fabulous runes on the beach in front of our hotel. Our own personal installation artist.

Friday afternoon was spent cutting our windows into bookboard and wrapping the covers with plaster gauze. They had to cure overnight.

When we got back to the hotel, the artist had finished.

Then we drove to Wilmington and ate dinner at one of our favorite places: Indochine. The rumors of its demise during Hurricane Florence are not true, thankfully.

The next day was dyeing day! Leslie had eight different natural dye pots going in her backyard and we spent most of the day dipping our book pages in them. What a great opportunity for overdyeing! I have never had access to so many colors at one time so I went nuts. I could not tell you the combinations on a lot of my pages, but I used indigo on most of them. Turmeric, avocado pits and skins, black walnut, and turmeric made good combinations too. Other dyepots held madder, yellow onion skins, red cabbage (which fades to light gray) and blueberries (also light-sensitive and fugitive). Honestly, I never guessed that you could get such beautiful natural dye results on paper.

We forced ourselves to stop and paint our plaster covers so that they would be dry by the time we bound our books the last day. I cut my mica too close to the edge because I was thinking that the plaster would be covering it. Stitching it that close to the edge ripped out through the sides so i improvised. Those sea oats were picked up off the road after the hurricane, by the way; no illegal picking of sea oats happened here. I scratched and stamped circles into the plaster to honor the art work I had seen on the beach – this is still a work in progress.

That night we ate at Sears Landing in Surf City near the bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway. This is a place where I will definitely return. All the weight I lost and more came back by the end of the night.

After dinner we went to Quarter Moon Books and Wine Bar  where the three of us and Pam, a friend we met at the workshops down here, had drinks and listened to some great acoustic music by The Doug McFarland One. (He is a hoot.)

On Sunday we bound our beautiful colorful signatures with longstitch (for using as warp for weaving later) and then put the whole shebang together with coptic stitch.

We didn’t have time to do the woven binding but I drilled holes in the back cover and I am working on embellishing this book further now.

Thanks, Leslie Marsh and Kim Beller for another exquisite workshop experience! Also to Bee Shay for spending her lunch teaching a few of us to wrap stones with macrame stitching for hanging. What a sweet weekend it was.

art retreats, book arts

Email to the Triangle Book Arts group

(Posting the email below since I think it got blocked as spam to the Triangle Book Arts group. So many links, and it would be a shame to waste the work in putting it together! Anyway, some others might find it interesting too.)

Hi everybody,

I came home from the TBA Holiday Party so happy, and believe it or not I am NOT a party person so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

A lot of you were interested in the three books that I brought. Each was constructed in a workshop and I promised to send information about those workshop teachers. I am an art retreat addict, which is why I still drive a 1996 Chevrolet.

**************

Leslie Marsh is a book artist and natural dyer who lives on Topsail Island. She teaches workshops all over the country, and now she lives here in NC! Her website is http://www.leslie-marsh.com/. I plan to take the Ancient Wisdom II class March 8-10.

The book with the leaf and indigo printed pages is from her Zhen Xian Bao workshop that I took in June this past year. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about it:
https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/06/12/zhen-xian-bao-by-the-sea/.

Ruth Smith did the research to bring this book structure to the States. A link to a PDF about the structure is here:

http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf

**************

I took another class in this structure at Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. This book arts conference is held in late June every two years. For its scope and quality it is one of the least expensive art retreats out there and well worth the trip. Here is a link to FOBA and a link to my blog posts about classes there:

https://focusonbookarts.org/

https://slowlysheturned.net/category/focus-on-book-arts/
(Keep scrolling for the posts about the actual classes I took. But Forest Grove is a pretty cool little town, about a 30 minute drive west from Portland.)

I save up for and do everything I can to attend this one every time it is held. This year I hope to take at least one more class from Leighanna Light, but the calendar is not up yet. The sneak peeks are up.

*************

The little box/book with the tiny books inside was constructed in Sharon Payne Bolton’s “Hertel” class, part of the Stamford, Connecticut “Talk Story – Eat Cake Create” art retreat. This is another great art retreat for mixed media and book artists.

Here is the link about my experience in the class with photos of other students’ books:

https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/10/14/talk-story-eat-cake-create-art-is-you-movement-stamford-ct/

The art retreat info: https://www.eatcakecreate.com/ which should be updated for 2019 soon.

Sharon’s workshops: https://www.sharonpaynebolton.com/workshops-in-the-works-coming-soon

***************
The deck of painted playing cards was painted in the 52 Card Pick-up workshop by Seth Apter and it was held here in Greensboro back in February. He also is a educator for Eat Cake Create art retreat and holds workshops in smaller venues all over the country. Helluva nice guy, too.

My thoughts, with a lot of other personal journaling you might want to skip:
https://slowlysheturned.net/2018/02/10/saturday-morning-coffee-pot-post-96/

Seth’s web site: http://www.sethapter.com/

All these instructors and retreats have Facebook pages.

I hope you enjoy going down these rabbit holes! Have a great wintry weather weekend!

Laurie