Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Workshop!

At last my Harvest Queen is complete. She's a 3-Dimensional mixed media canvas based textural collage and will be offered for the first time as an on line workshop at Joggles October 13th. Now I have to figure out how to mount her to a frame or shadow box because I can't wait to hang her in my kitchen! Well... as soon as those clouds across the moon dry completely anyway...

She looks extremely complicated but only because there is so much going on. Broken down into steps and done bit by bit, almost any skill level may complete this project. I offer a template for the face as well as a face lesson so don't let that frighten you off. And you can always change the color scheme... So many options... so many dreams... I hope you'll come and play with me at Joggles.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Harvest Queen in Progress

Lately I've been working on this canvas board collage creating the Harvest Queen for a new workshop to be on line this fall at Joggles.
The Queen is a handmade "paperdoll" placed over the textured and colored background with 3-D hair and embellishmnets added. She still has a long way to go. She'll be holding a golden challice trimmed in copper, still needs her "make-up" including eyelashes, lipstick and nail polish as well as majestic eye shadow, and a few mini swarovski crystals on her tattoo. I expect I'll add more bits and bobs to her hair as I go as well because she just keeps commanding me to give her more. Courteously, as she is a kindly Queen, but she is still royalty after all. Who am I to argue?

I also think the harvest moon need a touch more red/orange and maybe a cloud or two drifting by...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Discworld Was Divine

My Son Shawn and I took a week and went to Madison, WI for the North American Discworld Convention, stopping by my sisters near Chicago to brake up the nine hour drive to and from NADWCON. Miles and miles of windmiles are pretty but one's butt gets sore and eyes get really tired after so many hours, you know? I had created Errol, my Swamp Dragon as a prop for my costume and learned we had to do a mini skit for the masquerade. You can see Shawn's fabulous work below, his leather legionaires skirt, leather vest, leather pouch and leather wossname for his sword to slide into. Yes, it's a real sword, he collects them. He's also a leather smith and made his whole costume. But since his character, Sam Vimes, the Captain of the City Watch wears a steal breast plate he had a friend teach him how to make that out of real steel as well. He detests fake costumes. Shawn helped me char up my apron for Lady Sybil Vimes, who is an Aristocrat but thinks that's hogwash and would rather raise swamp dragons, which she does and lets the estate get over grown. My hair is a mess, I have charcoal rubbed all over my clothes and face and the apron is burned and torn. There is actual blood splattered on the apron from where I had cut myself in the hotel room so I flicked blood all over it when the bleeding wouldn't stop. This added not only color but nice character since swamp dragons are notorious for periodically blowing themselves up when they hiccup and such. We won an award for workmanship, and were quite thrilled since it was our first con!
Discworld is a book series created by Sir Terry Pratchett and quite a funny SciFi/ Fantasy realm where just about anything can happen and does. He offen takes a commonly know story like Shakespear's Macbeth, and tweaks the snot out of it and twists it all around so you don't know which end is up and you laugh so hard it really doesn't matter. I took a group of dolls to NADWCON made by different artists from members of DOLL STREET representing characters from any of the 40 books in the series and 1,000 attendees voted for peoples choice. There were some fabulous representations there. I felt quite honored when my Errol got the most votes. Needless to say getting that and the masquerade award helped me to enjoy NADWCON even more, but it was awesome all by itself. I suggest that you check out the books if you like humor and don't mind a parallel universe that may include wizards, witches, trolls, werewolves, vampires, and other human variations. It's a great way to talk about things such as racism when the group for dwarves is called the "league for equal heights." No one is offended and yet the point gets across to all the readers clearly. See what a mean?

I suggest you might begin with, "Guards Guards" as a first book. You don't really have to read them in order, but it's a great place to start. And Errol is in it so he thinks so too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ta Da!

Presenting Errol! Finished in plenty of time to get a full nights sleep before packing and driving to WI and the Discworld Conference. He's currently hanging upside down to let his eye brows stiffen upright. He's on the back porch airing out from the spray sealer. Errol has three different leathers, a variety of paints and his browns are made of Tibetan Lamb stiffened with Spiking Glue my son left when he moved out. His brows really are almost as big as his wings! This has been a blast to construct but my next dragon will be much smaller.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Original Errol

This rendition of Errol was drawn by Paul Kidby, official artist of the Discworld books. I used his illustration for reference when creating my leather Errol for the Discworld convention.

Errol Continues...

Errol is getting his skin. I bought a supple, thin lime green leather at Tandy for his belly and underlayers and his face. I am totally in love with his face! Because of all the nooks and crannies I had to apply the leather in sections so he appears to have jowls and smile wrinkles around his eyes and other litte serendipitous surprises I didn't plan for. The process has been like riding a bike - though I've not created in a long time it's all coming back naturally flowing out of me. I'm so excited about the process and the upcoming convention where I can share him with others who will recognize him.

Unfortunately dragons can be harsh beasts and I shan't make one this size again. The armature wire was painful to bend for my arthritic hands and still his hind legs are not as strong as I'd like them to be. So he won't be begging at someone's lap as much as I hoped. C'est la vie. I used Apoxie Sculpt over armature wire for the claws and either it was old or my hands are (or both) because it was also a challenge to work with and I alwasy thought it to be easy in the past. Stretching and pulling the leather into a snug position takes more effort than I planned as well.

But maybe this is like child birth. You forget the pain when you finally hold your precious baby in your arms. With a face like this one that's a good posibility... as long as I won't need my thumbs. LOL!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I leave in 6 days for the 2nd North American Discworld Convention, a gathering of 1,000 followers of the hysterical fantasy book series written by Sir Terry Pratchett, who will also be in attendance. My son Shawn will join me. We selected characters for the Masquerade and his costume is fantastic and practically finished. Mine isn't started. I chose Lady Sybil, who raises Swamp Dragons, which are about the size of a lap dog, give or take, depending on the breed. She'll wear a simple Victorian style dress, so no biggee pulling that together, and boots for mucking out the pens, but I'm focusing on creating one of her dragons. His true name is Goodboy Bindle Featherstone of Quirm, but was named Errol by Nobby Nobbs, because he lookes like his brother. Errol is a freak, even by swamp dragon standards, with a face like an anteater, gigantic nostrils, a pearshaped body and his wings are about the size of his abnormally large eyebrows.

I created a wire armature head, wrapped it in batting and made a functional jaw, then a wire spine, hips and shoulders and limbs with joints so he could stand and be posed. His eye balls were made seperately and will be permanatly set later when his skin is on. He currently has an underskin of muslin which I will cover with 3 different leathers to vary color and texture and I will start with the head to allow the Apoxie Sculpt I added to the claws this morning over the wire and muslin to harden. Hopefully more WIP photos to come and a finished photo before I go.

I will also be taking a doll display with me including about 25 dolls from my on line club Doll Street from a challenge I hosted featuring characters from Discworld. You can see many of the dolls there in the Art Gallery there, though a few new dolls have been added to the challenge.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Been Tanglin'

You never appreciate your health until it falters. I love waking up now. I love getting up and seeing even rainy days and feeling achy, arthritic joints because I'm still here. The last several months I've been blessed with rather large helpings of chemical depression and chronic fatigue - great illnesses that no one can see. Folks say "Just take a nap and cheer up" but there is so much more to it and I won't bore you with it here.

Now that my arms are working again I've been playing with some Zentangles. It's really the same doodles I did as a child only some brilliant chick gave it a title, copyrighted it and is making a fortune off of folks like me who need inspiration because they've lost their Muse and need to look at someone elses circles and squares to remember how to draw those simple shapes together. But it's working and in the past week I got a few drawings done on 3" square cards. That seems like a small canvas but this is tedious work particularly for someone who couldn't easily raise her arms a couple weeks ago. Some are better than others, and I don't recall the order of creation but, if anything, it kept me from lying in bed all day. I hope you like them. It's all done in Micron pen and pencil.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Valentines

This has been a blast creating Valentine Postcards for the Doll Street Swap. The one above has a winged heart made with an old brown bag and white glue technique to create faux pewter.Using paper foil rubbed over a special tacky glue I created the vines on this parchment heart above. Crystals are spaced on the border.
I used Paper Foil again to create this purple heart with butterfly wings. The dot's on the wings are another layer of foil.
This last Valentine combined fabric, paper, a crochetted doily and peel and stick letters all covered in pale pink organza fabric. I hated to send these beauties all away because I loved them so much but I can always make more! I finally understand the craze of creating fabric books!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Valentines

Creating fabric postcards for Valentines has been a blast! The one above has hand dyed fabric, treated with salt for texture and the lacey hearts are created from Tyvek, painted, brushed with Perfect Pearls and topped with a light touch of gold Rub n' Buff to accent the raised surfaces. A little embroidery with cotton and silk ribbon top it off to create a vine of bleeding hearts framed with lace appliques colored gold. I'm having trouble sticking to which Valentine is my favorite!
This black and white print in French and English was too wonderful to hide so I topped it with layers of Organza hearts hand stitched in place. Lots of hand stitching time but hey - what are good movies for?
This last Valentine (not FINAL, just last this week) was created using a stencil, oil PaintStiks, sequin waste and a collection of bits and bobs for embellishments. Since the finished postcard must be no more than 1/4 inch thick I had to use only flat embellishemnts and even stacking and layering some this will be able to be mailed. All bits are glued and sewn in place to make sure it arrives safely via the post, even without an envelope. The class is still running at Joggles and a total of 12 Valentines are in the lessons, but I don't think I'll be able to stop making these. I may have to create a little fabric book for myself... they are just wonderful eye candy! To think I can add a message of love and snail mail them to a loved one makes them even better! What in the world took me so long to catch this fever?!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Fiber Delight! Valentine Postcards is a new workshopI'm teaching at Joggles just in time to create some homemade love for those special folks in your world. In this modern age of instant technology it's incredibly special to receive a card via post, and when it's handmade it's a treasure to cherish! The workshop teaches fun techniques anyone can learn and requires no special skills to sign up and each card can be sent through the mail with no envelope to your Valentine!
Twleve different designs will be taught using fabric, paper and assorted bits and bobs of embellishments incorporating stitching, fusing, painting, dyeing and distressing to name a few techniques. I've had a blast building this class and can't stop making Valentine postcards!

If you prefer, work your designs into a quilt or a mixed media journal and keep these treasures for yourself. I'm finding myself very attached to these little creations and wondering how I'll ever be able to mail them away. I guess one will do anything for love! C'est l'amore!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Valentine Workshop

In this technological age it's sad that old customs like Valentine's delivered by post are considered rare and special. Folks used to handmake all their Valentines and send one to each of their loved ones. "Valentine Postcards" is my new mixed media workshop at Joggles beginning January 18, 2011. Each lesson will focus on several fiber based postcards adding tetures and techniques to dazzle your Winter Blahs. This workshop will guide you to create a dozen unique cards, and if you choose not to send them each will be suitable for framing, working into a one-of-a-kind quilt or handmade book. No matter what you choose to do with your creations, each Valentine will be full of fun creative techniques and lot and lots of love. I hope you'll check it out at Joggles and join me for some fun!