Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A few reasons to go to the Crow Barn for a workshop

That's my workshop buddy, Dianne Mehlinger from VA, Dorothy and me. See how relaxed we are?
I've taken about 6 workshops at the Barn, and always feel that it is an inspiring experience. The last one with Dorothy Caldwell was paced very well, so that there was always something to do, but it never felt rushed.

I'm going to post a few photo's so you get an idea of the place and for those who have been there, to enjoy with your memories!
John Stitzlein, Nancy's husband and partner in all things. Such a good guy.

Quirky insects you don't find anywhere else.
Panoramic view of the inside of the barn. That's Dorothy Caldwell standing up.
Big table space (4' x 8') and design wall too. Makes you happy to spread out!

Margaret Wolfe makes lunch, snack and dinner every day. And dessert after dinner too! This bowl was our cookies for snack on Friday that we could take with us. Look at that great wrapping and detail. Margaret goes the extra mile for everyone.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Marks and Bookmaking

During the "Human Marks" workshop taught by Dorothy Caldwell, we were given a very nice paper that was scored in the middle for folding. We cut out shapes using an Exacto knife and then made marks on them. Dorothy had given us two Micron black markers. One had a .05 point on it, and the other had a brush point. I used the brush point to write the words above using the stencil I had cut out.

On the left side of the page above, the word was "egg" and on the right page it was "whole". I don't know why I came up with those words, but part of it was because I liked the way they looked when they were repeated.
The page above was filled with squiggles, reminiscent of an "e". I had left negative space on the left side, but decided to cut it out and let a discharged fabric show through from the other side. It needs more work.

This is a batiked and discharged fabric page. It was my first experience doing soy wax batik, and I really enjoyed it. The discharge was done with bleach. There are so many ways to play with soy wax, it will definitely add to my repertoire. Cheryl Rezendes teaches the technique in Massachusetts and I would like to take a class with her so I can further explore this medium.

Let me hear from you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Human Marks workshop with Dorothy Caldwell

Dorothy Caldwell is an artist, author and teacher who offers a workshop titled "Human Marks".  I have admired her work for a long time and heard that she was an excellent teacher. She taught this workshop last week at Nancy Crow's Barn in Baltimore, Ohio.

It was 5 days with an incredibly generous instructor. Dorothy explained that we are always leaving our marks, and that over the 5 days we would become more aware of them, and notice them everywhere around us.

One of the first techniques we learned to make marks was through Kantha stitch. It is a technique that Dorothy learned about while in Bihar, a rural area in India. Kantha means "rags". It was a method developed to reuse old clothing or fabrics - mending while making it a lovely piece.
As in all very poor areas, fabric is precious, so it is mended over and over so it can still be used. Some of the pieces are started by a mother and then passed down over generations to continue the Kantha stitching.

Dorothy had some wonderful examples. Here are a few - they include social commentary, as they illustrate women in the street, needing a safe place to go for medical care. They are examples of using  different threads on different fabrics - but they all use the same pattern. Starting with the upper left hand corner and going clockwise: white thread on black fabric, black thread on white fabric, colored threads on white fabric and colored threads on black fabric.

Part of the workshop includes learning to make books with your work, so our first project was to make a wrapping for one of the books, using Kantha stitching. I've never been much of a stitcher, but I was soon hooked. Dorothy encouraged us to carry our stitching with us everywhere, and once I started doing that, it was hard to stop stitching!

I started my book wrap on a very dense black fabric, and after 2 days realized it was taking forever because it was so hard to stitch through! I started over with a Kona cotton, and the needle went through it effortlessly.

On the last day we were able to put all of the book wraps on the table and enjoy looking at how different our styles and subject matter were.

Here are a couple more images from Dorothy's samples:
Notice the shadows from the trees around the woman and child and some animals?

This detail image shows how different directions of the same stitch added depth and complexity.

This is the same image, but white thread on black. I am really drawn to the black and white stitching.  The graphic quality is appealing.
I did a little research, and see that there are video's showing stitching. And an Indian woman named Deepa posted about Kantha on her blog.

I will write additional posts about the workshop in the next few weeks.  I'm off to stitch!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Getting Women's work onto the Internet

A recent post on the National Museum of Women in the Arts was particularly intriguing. The staff and volunteers of the museums library spent a day adding the history and biography of women artists to Wikipedia. They found that when googling a woman artist, they often had a web page, and possibly a blog, but no link to the contributions they had made to the art world.

It's not surprising, since so few women artists are represented in most art museums. And 90% of Wikipedia's editors are men. So the NMWA organized a day of editors writing about women artists. It is a fabulous idea, and one I would like to see replicated many times. They will do other "edit-a-thons" to help build awareness of women artists. If you live in the DC metro area, you can check out the blog site and find a date where you could join them.

“Part of our mission at the library is to facilitate knowledge creation about the history and achievements of women artists worldwide. These significant contributions to Wikipedia’s postings help fulfill those goals while also furthering knowledge about women artists,” Heather Slania said.
She is the director of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at NMWA.

It occurred to me that this would be a great activity for a small group to do together. Research an artist and write a Wikipedia article about them. There are many art quilters who meet in small groups, and they could pick an artist and write about them. It's another way to spread the word about Art Quilters.

Would you be interested in organizing an "edit-a-thon"?