Friday, October 23, 2015

Found objects and photography

Today my son asked me "Mommy why did you get interested in smashing things?"

"Well Joshua, do you remember the Steampunk wall hanging that I'm making?  Steampunk involves a lot of gears and wires and instead of buying them at a craft store I thought it would be more fun to smash apart an old electric knife cutter."  (This truly makes my art pieces one-of-a-kind)
Today I decided to go back to these railroad tracks that I explored a few months ago to look for more found objects.  These tracks are about an hour away so I don't make it up there often.  When I was there a few months ago I remember finding A LOT of railroad nails.  I picked up a few last time, and again this time, but what I was really there for was other rusted metal pieces. Rusted metal = steampunk look!
I am a very quiet and "to myself" kind of person so walking on railroad tracks by myself, enjoying the beautiful autumn weather is pure heaven for me.  I have always liked railroad tracks.  Maybe it's the idea that they could take me to different places that intrigue me.  Maybe it was the 1986 movie Stand By Me that turned me on to railroad tracks.

While I'm looking for rusty metal and taking pictures of these beautiful tracks today I remembered that photography was my first love, my first artistic expression.  So here again two of my artistic interests cross paths.
If you'd like to visit my Steampunk board on Pinterest you can find it here.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Two of my "in progress" art quilts

I cannot believe my favorite upholstery store is going out of business!!  This store was a hidden gem for me.  When one first enters this shop it seems pretty small, then there are swing doors to the second part of the store.  The first room housed most of the upholstery, the second room had mainly trims and tassels.  Then there was a third room in the back!  This is where I get super excited because they have bins and bins and bins full of remnants... CHEAP!  When I started making art dolls years ago I would use these remnants as their clothes.  Some upholstery is very textured and rich in colors and there are different types of patterns that you can't find in a traditional fabric or quilt shop. 

Since my artistic endeavors change like the wind I can usually find various uses for my art supplies.  Sometimes if I'm working on two different projects in two different mediums they will overlap, hence my love of art quilts.  Art quilts combine traditional quilt methods with a modern twist, usually adding unexpected objects to beautiful wall hangings. And this is where my ideas overlap... I could use my upholstery remnants as a base to creating unique one-of-a-kind art quilts!

This was one that I started a few months ago:
Of course it was 2-D until I added beads, yarn, ribbon and puffy paint to it.  I also made some of the centers stand out by using extra upholstery and stuffing it with cotton.
Then I found some of my old sculpey beads that go almost perfectly with these colors!  I probably made these in the early 90's.
(circular bead in the bottom right hand part of the photo)
Again this is not finished yet.

Last week when I went to this upholstery shop again (they aren't closing until at least December) I found this remnant that I fell in love with!  The moment I saw it it inspired me.  The dark brown part of the leaves are velvet and feel oh so soft!  Here was the picture I took a few days ago after quilting it and hand sewing a row of gold beads:
As you can tell by the photo there are gold accents on the beige background part of the upholstery.  When I quilted over this it seems to disappear so I wanted to make that stand out again... fabric markers to the rescue!  I have also added decorative yarn and turquoise beads.

I have a huge collection of beads and usually I can find the right colors to go with my projects.  Here is a photo of everything I've used so far:

As with the first one posted here I like to work on these for a while then walk away for a few days. This is why I could never be on Project Runway, sometimes they only have one day to complete a challenge!  Anyway, when I return to a project it is with "new eyes" and I am able to be inspired again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Steampunk and it's after effects

It all started with a show called Steampunk'd.  This is Wikipedia's definition of this genre:

"Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.[1][2]  ...steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power."

I'm not sure why I'm intrigued by this form of art, I think I like it because it's so different than any other art I've done. (I'm also starting to get into Shabby Chic but that's a whole different blogpost).  Steampunk has to do with gears and mechanical objects usually powered by steam.  
This photo is from a wallpaper app on my phone:

I love creating one-of-a-kind art quilts and the theme of steampunk lends itself really well to an art quilt.  With an art quilt I can attach gears and leather and paint a Nerf gun to look "post-apocalyptic" to add to the 3-D effect.  Believe it or not steampunk fabric does exist but I had to order it online.  

(photo to come!)

Another idea I had while creating this is that I could easily find gears and parts if I take apart other electrical things.  Thrift stores are my best friends so off I went!  I have two boys and when I asked them if they wanted to help me smash things they said "SURE!"  We had so much fun that day smashing a "boom box/CD player" from the 90's.  Joshua (blue shirt) is still working on the radio while Jacob (yellow shirt) and I moved onto breaking out the glass from an old window pane for another project (again Shabby Chic for the window pane),

After taking apart a few things and looking on Pinterest (small addiction) I stumbled upon "Assemblage Art".  This art form is called by many different names like upcycled art and junk art.  If you click on this link it will take you to my assemblage art board on Pinterest.  I am now working on two different projects (actually three, paper quilling, but again for another blogpost) so please stay tuned because there will be plenty more pictures in the next post.  

On a positive note...

Tomorrow will be my last day of work "outside the home" which will now give me more time to focus on my family and my art.  I am already signed up to do two arts and crafts shows in the next two months and I'm thrilled!  I will be reopening my Etsy shop and will be posting a lot more on Instagram plus I will be able to blog more often too.  Life is good!

Friday, October 2, 2015

About my personal life, sadness on so many different levels

I normally don't share a lot of my personal life on this blog but tonight I need to.  I need to let my readers know why I haven't posted since June.  During the last week of school my younger son (age six) was hospitalized for six days with pneumonia.  Because of my baby being in the hospital I was unable to go on my "mommy getaway".  Two weeks after school ended my older son (age eight) came down with pneumonia also but did not need to be hospitalized.  I will not talk about everything that has gone on at work but let's just say it has added to my stress level that I wasn't prepared for.  Because of work I decided not to go on our family vacation.  

I live in Portsmouth, Virginia and as I type we are getting pummeled with rain from Hurricane Joaquin (pronounced WaKeen).  The hurricane isn't projected to hit land anymore but there is major flooding in all cities around me.  Today I was supposed to be setting up my artwork for the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife this weekend.  It was cancelled, thanks Joaquin, NOT! I have been preparing all summer for this once-a-year festival.

And finally the worse part of these last few months?  This morning I had to put down my pet.  She was the sweetest and kindest and most gentle animal you could ever meet.  I loved her so very much.  She is not in pain anymore but I miss her tremendously.
RIP Duchess, my little girlie: