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Archive for the ‘Monoprinting’ Category

I will be showing my collage interpretation of The Way of the Cross March 29 through April 11.  

One piece will be shown each day along with the scripture passage or passages that go with it.  This is the project I am completing for my Creativity and Spirituality Doctor of Ministry Class at Wesley Theological Seminary.  

Please do not copy or post these images in any other place without my permission.  

The choice of scripture passages and translations are from Megan McKenna’s The New Stations of the Cross, based on a revision of the traditional stations of the cross by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

A few people have asked for a little more explanation about the symbolism in these pieces.  You can find a brief explanation here.

Jesus Is Crucified

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Mark 15:22-26

When they brought Jesus to the site of Golgotha (which means “Skull Place”), they tried to give him wine drugged with myrrh, but he would not take it.  Then they crucified him and divided up his garments by rolling dice for them to see what each would take.  It was about nine in the morning when they crucified him.  The inscription proclaiming his offense read, “The King of the Jews.”

Luke 23:32-34

Two others who were criminals were led along with him to be crucified.  When they came to the Skull Place, as it was called, they crucified him there and the criminals as well, one on his right and the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”  They divided his garments, rolling dice for them.

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For the month of May Sharon B issued this challenge:

What do you call yourself, and why? 

This question has a very specific focus with regard to those of us who work with fibers, fabric, color, design, etc. 

The challenge color palette uses these colors:

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At first I wanted to make some kind of garment, either a jacket or a clergy stole, because it would be a very visible symbol of “what I call myself”, and carries the theme in my faith tradition of “putting on” a new garment or name to fully describe oneself after a period of transformation.

However, I knew that would be pretty hard to design and complete well in one month, so I’m setting that plan aside and will work on it later.

I decided instead to make another journal using a gel print on cotton that I had made before this challenge, but seemed to fit.  I added hand embroidery and beaded sequins to this flowing ribbon design.  The ribbon design came from a series of doodles I did that came out like ribbons.

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It’s one of my favorite doodle motifs, and is a motif that symbolizes much of my life:  like a flowing, shifting, floating, turning ribbon, that has a different appearance as it flows, yet is still the same ribbon.

To illustrate what I call myself, I used this ribbon, then embellished it with fibers that flow around it, adding beads and sequins for sparkle and texture.  I continued the flow of the ribbon beyond the cover bounds with an organza ribbon tie.  With the journal cover alone I think I can explain to people who ask what it means to be a fiber artist.

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I have resisted for a long time calling myself an “artist”, thinking of myself more as a skilled craftsperson.  However, as I have moved more and more into the realm of creating pieces from my own designs I feel more comfortable with the term “artist”, even though I am pretty much self taught and have some trepidation based on my lack of formal knowledge of art technique and history. 

With that said, I believe artists bring together elements in ways that haven’t been brought together before, often bringing order out of chaos of element and arrangement, producing design. 

It is, I believe, the creative character of all human beings, in many different endeavors, that gives us the deepest connection to the divine.  When we create, we transcend the mundane–even when creating with mundane elements–and we sometimes, thus, are able to glimpse our true selves.  That transcendence does not come without struggle, however, if it is true creation.

I chose to make my gel printed embroidery piece into a journal cover that encloses pages for recording quotes, ideas, and goals that are bounded by signature covers of hand dyed fabrics.  On two of them I have placed triangles to symbolize the work I do with piecing and quilting of fabrics. 

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The inside cover and pockets (front and back) are also hand-dyed fabrics. 

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If I carry this journal with me and am asked about what I do, I can use it to tangibly show:  painting and printing on fabric, stitching with fibers and beads, hand dyeing fabrics, sewing, and quilt making.

Throughout this month’s exercise I have tried out different word descriptions of what I call myself and why:  craftsperson, quilt maker, embroiderer, artisan, textile artist, and fiber artist.

I keep coming back to fiber artist.  It’s the nomenclature I’ve most often used, and feels most comfortable rolling off my tongue, even though it means I usually must add an explanation.  In that explanation I am able to open people’s vision to a broader idea of what the word “artist” encompasses.

My palette is not just paint, but an entire array of textiles, fibers, dyes, beads, and even found objects.  Creations are usually multi-dimensional with both visual and tactile texture. 

I am also a writer in my professional career as a clergy woman, so placing my fiber art around pages for writing adds another dimension to the descriptive piece. 

In the same vein as this month’s challenge, I have begun to read sociologist Richard Sennett’s latest book, The Craftsman.  It explores what it means to do or make something well simply for the doing of it as opposed to as a means to an end.  He posits, I believe, that our post-modernist cultures have lost that value in many areas, while engaging it in other ways that are new and unexpected.

I’ve just begun the book, so I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes this theme.        

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On Wednesday Linda from my knitting group taught me how to spin using a drop spindle.  Boy, did I feel like a klutz.  However, she told me I was doing fine and to keep practicing.

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She sent me home with a spindle and some roving and I’ve been practicing a couple times a day.

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Yesterday I was actually able to roll off a ball of yarn.  It’s pretty ragged and uneven, and you can see from the picture that the ball of yarn is not much bigger than a US quarter.

But I’ve been trying the different techniques she showed me, and yesterday I made even more progress.  Still pretty uneven but I’m having more and more moments when I think I can actually feel how it’s supposed to be.  Hopefully the next ball will be a little larger. 

Tomorrow I’m heading up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for their Fiber Festival with Laura and Meredith from knitting group.  I’m going to be on the lookout for spindles and fibers.  I’m hoping for better weather than we’ve had here in Taos the last couple of days.  It’s been cold, wet, and windy.

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I finished the embroidery on the cover for the journal I’m making for the May TIF challenge.  It’s been hard getting any pictures to turn out well of this piece.  I had to tilt it at an angle so the colors and stitching would show better.  But the pictures are still not a very accurate representation.

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Last night my friend Meredith gave me a wonderful going away gift when our knitting group gathered over pizza.  Although I’m not moving for a couple of weeks yet, we wanted to share a meal together before I leave.

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Meredith totally surprised me with this gorgeous cashmere scarf.  I think she said the lace pattern is Crane’s Nest.  I’ll have to check with her again to be sure.

We’ve been watching her knit on this for several weeks, and have been admiring it.  I was so surprised and feel so blessed to receive such a gracious gift.  I know I’m going to wear it a lot–it’s my color–and it will be such a nice reminder of a good friend I’ve made through knitting in Taos.  Thank you, Meredith! 

I worked a bit yesterday on my May TIF project which has been neglected most of the month.  I knew I wanted to add some embroidery embellishment to this gel print I made on cotton fabric, but couldn’t quite figure out what to do.  Size is 9″ x 13″.

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I was going through my beads and found some dark blue sequins.  While dark blue is not in this month’s palette I decided to add them anyway.

I just picked up the piece and started putting them on without any plan.  Then I started adding some seed stitching.  It’s kind of hard to see on the photos.  Even the close up doesn’t show the stitching too well, but I’m using a sort of amethyst shade plus a light blue.  If you really look hard you can see the amethyst stitching. 

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You also can’t tell from the picture that there is a lovely sparkle and sheen to this piece from the metallic copper paint I used on the gel print.

It’s much prettier than the pictures portray, and I think I’m going to really like it when it’s finished.

I’m going to add a little more of the light blue and some medium blue stitching, also.  This piece is going to be the cover for a small journal that I will use to show what I mean when I say I am a fiber artist. 

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On Tuesday I put out a little teaser about the gift I made for my MOM for Mother’s Day.  Of course I couldn’t show it then, could I?  Then it wouldn’t have been a surprise for her.

Well, now she’s received the package, opened it up and . . . I can show it to the rest of you.  I just finished talking to her and she really likes it.

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I used Sue Bleiweiss’s tutorial for a padfolio, using the “expertise” I gained in her journal making class last month.  I was pretty sure my MOM wouldn’t use a journal, but I know she’s a list maker, so I thought this would be a better choice for her.  The dimensions are about 6″ x 9″.

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I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out.   I took a piece of my hand dyed fabric, shaving cream marbled it with metallic silver and bronze, and pearl white paint, and made it into the cover for the folio.

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Inside I used two more shades of hand-dyed blue.  There’s a pocket for the pad of paper and pencil, and a slanted pocket to tuck in miscellaneous things.

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The closure is a perfect button I found at Common Thread along with some super sparkly metallic ribbon.

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I even found a mechanical pencil with a blue cover decorated with a silver swirl to put inside with the paper. 

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I have to admit this is one of my favorite projects so far.  You can be sure I’m going to make one for myself.  Or, maybe two, because I’d also like a full size one for 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper pads.

I can visualize on of these done with a masculine touch out of the faux leather technique from Sue’s class.  Not to mention all of the other possibilities.     

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I have finished my third journal, and I think I liked making this one the best so far.  The covers were a little easier to work with as separate pieces as opposed to the single piece folded covers on the first two.DSCN1866_edited

For the cover on this one, which will be a gift for a friend we will be staying with this weekend, I used some of my faux marbled fabric.  It has shades of blue with pearlized white paint which adds to the sparkle provided by the organza ribbons which tie the whole thing together.

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Inside I’ve placed a pocket page with some tags I made with paper that was painted the same time as the fabric.  The inside cover is fabric I made when experimenting with adding black to primary colors.

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There are fifty pages of blue granite stationary interspersed with sheets of sheer artist paper and solid colored scrapbook weight paper. 

This is a very simple journal with dimensions of 6 1/2″ x 9 3/4″ that I think could be used for both journaling and for saving some special photographs. 

I hope my friend will like it.   And, lucky me, I  have enough fabric and papers to make another one.

P.S.  The grommets were very easy after following Sue’s great instructions.

On Monday I collected red willow branches to use for another style of this journal, but that one is going to have to wait until I can paint some fabric for the cover.  I want to use the reds of  red willow branches and the greens and ochres of sage and chamisa and tie it all together with the cut branches and twine.

Levels of Aspiration and Inspiration 

I’ve decided to occasionally link some other fiber artists who inspire me and challenge me to higher levels of work. 

This week I think the journals made by Terri and Heather are fabulous.  Terri hand painted her cover.  How I wish I knew how to do that!  And Heather used some really beautiful fabric she hand dyed.  She’s obviously way further than I on knowing how to dye.  Check out the other posts on their blogs.  Both of these ladies are sooooo creative and they give me lots of inspiration. 

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Last night I completed my sketchbook journal for the Journal Making class I’m taking with Sue Bleiweiss.  Students in the class are making some incredible journals, and many of us are posting pictures on a class flickr group for our friends and families to ogle.

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As I showed in previous posts, I hand dyed the fabrics for this journal.  I then monoprinted the front cover with one of my doodle designs.  I sprayed silver flecks of paint over all of the fabrics.  It’s not very visible in the pics, but it gives a neat sparkle to the entire journal.  You can see it a little better in the next pictures on the pocket.

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I made the inside pocket by piecing several fabrics together, then stitching channels for sections to hold tags and drawing tools.

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Page dividers and tags were made by spraying and washing diluted watercolors onto watercolor papers.  On some of them I smooshed plastic wrap, on others I sprinkled salt, to alter the distribution of the paint into interesting patterns.    

I’ve put in sections for drawing paper, watercolor paper, and pages with circles pre-drawn for drawing mandalas.  Overnight I thought more about how I would like to use this sketchbook and have decided to add two more sections.  One will hold graph paper for quilting and needlework design sketching.  The other will hold black paper which is great for drawing on with light colored pencils and pastels.

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I added shimmery ribbons to the spine for fun and a silver and turquoise button at the closure for contrast to the triangles of the monoprinted design.  As usual, my camera puts a blue cast onto pictures so these colors are not as green and blue as they look.  What looks like olive green is actually ochre. 

I’m quite pleased with the way this sketchbook journal turned out and am looking forward to using it. 

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