Monday, June 29, 2015

Janet Echelman in Boston

Janet Echelman creates aerial sculptures that float between buildings, over roundabouts, inside huge lobbies - anywhere that a monumental work of art can be installed.

Boston commissioned her to make a piece that would hang over the Rose Kennedy Greenway for the summer of 2015. Echelman named it "As If It Were Already Here". I made a special trip into Boston to see it and am so glad I did. It's breathtaking!

Here's a photograph from the daytime. It looks a lot like the fishing nets that originally inspired her to try making sculptures with the material at hand. She was a painter whose paints were lost by an airline when she was traveling. She noticed the local fisherman's nets were intricate and lovely, so she learned how they made them and developed the idea into a series that is ongoing for the past 18 years.
This is the full sculpture at night when the lights have come on. They change color continuously and the sculpture changes with it. It is mesmerizing to watch it!

This is a shot I made with a zoom lens. The many colors, stripes, shapes and changing wind provide so much inspiration. 

 Echelman did a Ted talk that has been viewed by over a million people. Looking at the images on her portfolio page reveals how this series has developed. Anytime I can be in the same place as one of her sculptures I will definitely make the effort to spend an hour or two with it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

SAQA Auction videos

The SAQA Auction is coming up again in September. Some of the artists have made videos of the process of making their quilt. It's educational to watch how they are created. Lots if techniques are used, with fusing the most popular.

Jim Hays video includes him making cookies and we learn that he lives in the countryside in Japan. This is a good model for making videos in the future - it tells the story of the quilter and the quilt. Next year, I will try to do a video like it. For now, enjoy the videos and decide what you'd like to bid on in September.
SAQA Auction videos

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Designing with snow dyed fabric

     I now have a stack of snow dyed fabrics and have puzzled over what to do with them. The variations in color and pattern are so enticing!

     After trying many different arrangements, I decided to just start. I work in an intuitive way and figure it out as I go along. I move fabric around in a lot of different ways and then get to the point that I sew it together. This is the design before it was quilted or trimmed:

This is the quilted piece. It is all pinned for blocking. After that, I have ideas about what else I am going to add to it, but want the base to be blocked and flat first. 

Come back soon and see the finished piece. If you still have snow, it's an intriguing way to dye since the results are very surprising.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow dyeing with MX dyes

In the North East we have had snow storm after snow storm. Although it would be great if we could have the snow along with 70 degree weather, the snow is beautiful and a gift for dyers!

I've been doing some snow dyeing almost every day. The process is fairly easy and the results are unpredictable and often breath taking. Using dye concentrates from mixed dyes - rather than primaries made from single dyes - means that the dye splits into different colors.  Here are some photo's showing the process, and some of the resulting fabric.

The fabric is soaked in soda ash first and then hung to dry. I use a folding home drying rack that can be folded away. 

I wrapped the fabric in Whiffle Balls and small plastic golf balls. It's a method that I had read about on Carol Eaton's blog and wanted to try it. See Carol's blog here:  Carol used dry dye powder on top of the snow. I used dye concentrates but will try the dry powder as an experiment.

Here are a couple of images of my fabric covered in snow and dye:

After the snow has melted, the fabric is soaked in cold water for anywhere from 4-24 hours. The longer it soaks, the easier it is to wash any leftover dye out of the fabric. Then it is washed in very hot water with a small amount of Synthrapol or Dawn dishwashing soap.

Here are a few pieces of fabric after they have been washed and ironed.

Diane Franklin has an excellent post with detailed instructions on snow dyeing. Rather than repeating her instructions I'll direct you to her blog:

I can look at the color combinations and patterns in the fabric and feel transported to the Hubble Space ship or an underwater world. It's challenging to figure out what to do with the fabric, but I'm enjoying making it so much that I'll keep dyeing until I figure out how to use it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recent work and Holiday wishes

     FaceBook has taken over my social media life and I've been spending more time on it and less posting to the blog. My FaceBook page link is Jeanne Marklin Art.

     There was a recent challenge on FaceBook to post black and white images for a week - I got carried away and have continued to post black and white. Photography was my first love in the Art world, and we'd had a beautiful snow so it got me excited about making black and white images. Take a look if you love black and white too. Here's a taste to tempt you. It's not quite black and white -but close enough.

     I did finish a couple of pieces in the last few months. They haven't been exhibited yet but will be entered in juried shows in 2015. Entering shows is always a crap shoot but it's also a validation that our art work is speaking to others. Here's a piece I finished in July:

Flowing 30" W x 38" H

     It's a continuation in the circle series with very different colors from what I'd been doing the last couple of years. Let me know what you see.

     If you've been reading, I thank you! And wish everyone a holiday spent with friends and family. May 2015 bring us a more Peaceful world.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn in the Berkshires

Sweet Brook farm llamas. They have great wool, maple syrup, eggs and things made from alpaca wool.

A visual treat of Autumn color on an overcast and drizzly day.

Looking down our street toward Williams College. The two points are the college chapel.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Around the world blog hop!

A blog hop is kind of a "tag, you're it" thing for bloggers. Except you get to be invited, and can decline.

I was invited to join the blog hop by Judy Warner. I can't remember how I met Judy, but we have become friends via our blogs, emails and a SAQA conference. Judy travels all over the world and her travels influence her art quilts. Take a look at her blog and website - and enjoy getting to know her and her work.

I've been enjoying the challenge of folding and dyeing a full yard of fabric and making it into a complete composition. "Begin Again", the piece that I just finished, was dyed a couple of times and then plexiglass circles were used to create different sized circles on the fabric. I did cut the piece into a 1/3 and 2/3 so they could both be dyed in the same dye bath, but without wrinkling the fabric to add more lines. Here's the result after 3 dye baths.
Photoshop Elements is a good software program to use to try out design ideas without cutting into fabric. It's a useful tool, especially when working with shibori dyed fabrics and you don't want to lose lines or shapes to cutting and then decide it was better with out the addition. Here are a couple of the ideas I tried out - 

I liked the lower one better because the addition of lines and the circle of a different size were more interesting. I used some thickened bleach to make the lines on the bottom and some circles around the piece. Adding the large circle didn't really add to the composition so I didn't do it in bleach. It needed some contrast so out came some black yarn.
The contrast really added some pop to it, but the yarn sitting on top of the dyed fabric seemed too different and didn't fit with the rest of the work. Out came the fabric paint!
Here it is painted, quilted, faced and photographed. the photo's are not of the quality for entering a juried exhibit - they are for my records. Here is a detail shot of the quilting. The thread is actually an olive green that is subtle, but contrasts very nicely with the dyed colors. This image doesn't do it justice.
This is the process I have come to use with most of my work. Sketching comes into play for machine quilting design, and occasionally to solve composition problems. Taking photo's along the way and looking at them on the computer or in a print is very helpful.

Working intuitively is a common practice and I think there are many other artists who work that way. It's a journey, a process, sometimes a struggle. When the work is finished, I'm usually finished with it too, and don't mind selling it, or sending it out to be admired in an exhibit. It's wonderful to hear that others react to my work, and the process gives me great satisfaction.

I have invited three people to join the blog hop, and they are all people who I really like as well as respect their work. On Monday, Oct. 13, they will post to their blogs, and tag other bloggers so please visit their blogs and make a note to check back next week.

Cheryl Rezendes is the author of Fabric Surface Design, a wonderful encyclopedia of surface design techniques. I often refer to her book for ideas of how to accomplish a look I want. Her delicate art quilts are posted on her blog and website -

Kate Themal is an award winning art quilter who does representative work with real feeling. Her work is meticulous as well as thoughtful. Her latest quilt is of her grandmother's sewing machine and it tells a story. She blogs at

Diane Wright is one of the friendliest art quilters I know. Her quilts reflect her vibrancy and world travels. She's so productive; I know I could learn from her! Check out Diane's blog and check back when she posts about her travels - she goes to interesting places.

Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment if you have time and the inclination. It's always good to hear from readers!