Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Pattern Design brewing ...

I am almost finished with my mermaid design group, and it is too cute!  I am working on a tiny loopey texture and the other coordinate is umbrella tops!! (Cute and a bit retro too!) 

But now that I have a cutest GIRLY pattern set - think sheets and PJs, and a mermaid mobile - I feel the need to do a BOY companion, and I have just the right bit of inspiration...
Gondolas!  Yup Venice photos are working overtime in the inspiration category, black and white, fun patterns lots of stripes, gondoliers, the stripey posts in crazy colors..... This is what I mean about inspiration boards and can do this with your morning walk photos, garden photos, rocks at the beach photos, carousell collections, anything!  As a textile designer, half the job is gathering reference and inspiration.  I don't want to look at other fabrics, I want to make that pattern grow from my feeling of how the motif works.  How will I repeat it out?  Gondolas are long and horizontal in shape, the gondola poles are long skinny and verticle, that will begin to create direction and layouts for my pattern design.  How do I select color?  That's easy, the FESTIVE way!  I want this design to be youthful colorful and it will definitely have B&W in it, it has to!!!   The birth of yet another fun design comes along...I will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Milan, Florence and Lucca "It's all in the details"

It is all in the details...this collage shows you what I mean by how I see things.  I think some times my mind works like those macro lenses on cameras, thank goodness I have a decent zoom on my little digital Olympus.  These shots were taken in Milan, Florence and Lucca Italy.  and this collage is an ode to pattern and specifically "motif".  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Food Markets in Italy

Some more glimpses through my photos, and today I am concentrating on food and the markets we visited.
The second day in Milan on our way in, we stocked up at a farmers market, to see more images from that outting click here. As we visited the many hill towns and even the super grocery store near our house, being the foodie I am, I simply took it all in.  The end of our trip was in Venice.  Here are a few of my favorite shots at markets and on the street.  I love the shot at the bottom; this is how wine and cheese get deliverey in Venice!  This fellow was going all over, up and down the canal bridges and around corners, all while dodging the tourist crowds.  Love the block of cheese tucked into the base of the hand truck.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tuscany Travels

Well you see correctly, we have just returned from a 15 day trip to Tuscany, Italy.

Tom asked me towards the end of our trip if I was freshly inspired, the answer was unequivocally, yes! But what was I inspired to do?  That is the more interesting question.  Many of you know I am a fiber artist, but I am also a trained painter/artist, watercolor being my favorite medium, and I am also a textile designer.  I am a foodie and love experiencing new plates of beautiful food which I can translate into my life as well.  As we approached our last days in Italy I realized that, while we had full day trips out into the countryside, and driving in Italy is a bit nail biting at times, I was relaxed.  This vacation felt long.  What I became aware of was, I was savoring every moment, making each, one to remember.  I intentionally spent time capturing moments.  Most of us get into routines and a week goes by and I say, boy that week went fast or worse, that month flew by.  These past two weeks, have been new and exciting, and at the same time slow.  I want to sit down and document the cities we visited, the towns we drove through, and begin sifting through the 1300 photos that came home with me on my little digital camera!  I had all intents to journal and paint while traveling but I think that will happen later.  As I sort through my photos and experiences I promise to post and share them as inspiration too, wait till you see Venice!
Pointing at EVERYTHING in Venice!
What is also funny about traveling in these amazing places is, as you stand amongst a crowd of tourists taking photos and wonder how many of these same photo memories are floating around out there?  How many families sat watching slide shows of trips their loved ones took and things they saw - the same things over the years?  And now with the internet can't you simply Google images of Tuscany, Venice, Pisa, the Duomo in Florence and see almost the same images?  Yup, you sure can.  I even have boxes of slides my mother took of her travels in Europe in the 50's which I am in the process of scanning.  I wonder if when I get to her Italy slides, if we stood in the same place as each other some 60 years apart and each of us take a similar photo?  Intriguing, isn't it? I cannot wait to see what I find when I look back.
Murano Glass Chandelier
I know I am a different observer than most, heck my friends and family tell me so all the time, so it must be true!  What I observe are many things.  When I think about what captures my eyes as I trek around a town or city, I realize my habitual textile designer always pops her head out to take photos or memories that can be used as a "reference", she is so funny.  My water colorist takes photos that look like a good composition I can paint at a later date, and the foodie in me takes photos of food, to remember a meal, or a shopping experience, a different cuisine, different clothes, different styles, different interpretations.  It all comes down to Color, Texture, Pattern and Life!   Enjoy Life, enjoy the journey and my life lesson of the past couple of weeks is really savor the moment.  Ciao everyone!
Me and The Butterfly Flower Girl in Milan

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August Already??

Wow how this summer is flying by!  We are planning a trip to Italy in the Fall and that is taking up some of my mental space.  I have been diligently but slowly working on my painted designs and am loving my current theme...Mermaids.

This croque is a peek at the fun I am having!!  I am playing around with the idea of making greeting cards with some of my newest design bits printed on them, stay tuned for that, may be new on my Etsy shop!

Our vegetables are growing nicely; tomato vines are full with all GREEN tomatoes.  I can't wait till they start turning red...  I made my first batch of (not classic) Ratatouille.  I added capers and olives and a splash of balsamic just for something was delicious.  If you have never made it before, rent the cutest movie of the same name and download the PDF of Julia Child's recipe, watch the movie while you cook "Julia Style", and when finished get some crusty french bread, and enjoy your feast!   And the perpetual weeding has been a crab grass fest this summer!  Speaking of weeds here's a new one for me.  How am I going to weed up on my chimney!!!
I am also enjoying a fun Summer read.  It is called Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art by Christopher Moore.  It is funny and a twist on so many famous painters in France in the 1800s,  spurred on by Vincent VanGogh's sudden death.  Friends, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and the fictional Lucien Lessard are trying to find out what happened to their friend Vincent and how a demented little man called the Colorman (who sells all the famous artists their paints - like crack) might be involved.   They are joined by the likes of Monet, Manet, Pissaro and Whistler.  It is very funny.   And though while I an painting PINK in the studio I am thinking BLUE in my head, so Blue things keep popping out.
Exhibit 1: Blue Berry Pie. 
I love pie, I am very good at pies, and today I made a pie from very local blue berries.  Have you visited the foodie website called Punchfork?  It is my favorite and my handle there is PieGirl.  Here's their assortment of Ratatouille recipes.

I am going to get back down to my painting table so enjoy the post and have a great day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Newest Pillows Finished and Going on Etsy

These pillows are fun and quirky, I am calling them Wheels and Sprockets.  They have funky lavender pompom trim and are backed with a woven linen, edged in a teeny squared off decorative stitching.  They sit upon my famous Mary Chair!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Pillows from the Studio

If you haven't been following the fast and furious posts on the Festive Fibers Facebook Fanpage, I am putting up a small grouping of pillows onto my Etsy shop.  The three bottom pillows are currently in the shop and this funky lavender pair (shown half done) will soon follow.

Purchase pillows here!
Turquoise pillow with YELLOW buttons
Don't want to make a purchase on line?  E-mail me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Glimspe into On-Line Learning

I know there are quite a few of you out there who have been pondering this on-line way of learning, we've spoken, but for those of you just in the I wondering phase, I am putting up this post to share a fantastic class and project, and show the progression of 4 weeks!  PLEASE NOTE the designs shown here are the property of Deb K.

Deb chose to do the Upholstery Fabric class, and with the goal to do an ottoman at the end of it.
So the first week we did two sessions in one, Color (1 Hour Session 1) and Design (1 Hour Session 2) These two sessions are desktop sharing and slide shows while I speak.  And then we discussed the goal, and what to expect for the next session.  Deb left that day, with a couple of assignments, one was Color Theory and the other to design her project so I could look at her piece and guide her.  Here's what she sent me over that week:
playing with the color wheel
Examples of some of the Theory Color Schemes (one example of many pages of exercises she tried)
Inspiration for those designs

 The next class was a demo of laying out and a speedy wet felting demo for the making of the gauge, discussion of gauge, shrinkage and thickness, etc.  The next Monday morning I came to my computer to see the following photos of the sample.  Now this was not just a sample but would also turn into something...
The next 6 days I received more photos of the 5 total panels needed for Deb's Ottoman.
 These five panels show her pieces laid out and dry before felting.  I made suggestions about compressing and needling, Deb used a 5 needle punch and compressed by hand.  She needled all the detail by hand. we discussed the opacity of the fibers and areas of color, how the detail might look as it felts, did she want it to crinkle or stay straight?  these are all points for a felter to be away of how her felt will felt, and shrink and what might happen to the design and details in that process, decisions are made accordingly.
I made a mini wetting and rolling demo, before she began all five pieces to make sure she was comfortable with technique, etc.
 We analyzed, I looked at close-ups to see how hard the pieces were felted, especially the detail and line-work, we met again to show and tell how to cut sew and upholster Deb's ottoman.  (There were actually two she wanted to do, the first and smaller one, had to be made from her Gauge piece, because as she said she never does something that can't be turned into something she will love, I agree! 

We discussed tools, supplies, the best techniques to sew and turn in felt, as well as recognizing what felt will do as well as someone's upholstering tools and type of sewing machine, stapler, etc, so one can be prepared to make style calls like how to attach trims and other embellishments.  I use all low tech tools in the studio - no air compressor for staplers, or heavy upholstery sewing machines, we work with what we have!
the finished product is stunning, thank you Deb for letting me share your experience with others!
(The mini ottoman is her guage!  See why guages are so important?)

PS Her ottoman was one she bought at one of the big chain stores, the mini was a little one inside the bigger one!  They were covered in vinyl, and she simple upholstered OVER the vinyl.  Easy peasy!  She also just began using a new I-pad for the on-line class as well as using it to take her photos for me to see.  We used Skype for all 4 sessions.

I hope these photos show how easy and supportive on-line teaching can be, and you too will join the fun!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Projects in the studio

 Boy I cannot believe it is a month since I last posted.  In the past week or two I have been yard sale-ing (Thanks to a Saturday off on Memorial Day Weekend) with great friends.  I BOUGHT a ping pong table!  Which now fills the floor space in the studio.  I really need to sell that felting machine to make room for game time!!  I have been painting print designs and am onto a new group with bunnies.  This one is possibly for babies, crib, etc

Alstead had it's first farmers market last Sunday, and the monthly horse show, I clicked these on my way to work. 
And last Tuesday we had the hail storms of all hail storms and I wonder the state of my flowers and veggies
OH!  I am finally cutting out the pillows from felt I made during the winter, need to get two pillow fills so I can put them on my ETSY shop, here's a preview of them.  (need to pull out my trims and see what would be fun for these.
So - stay tuned to my Etsy shop, (I just put up a few quilt inspired pieces there too) and let me know what you think of the pillows when they are finished!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Print designs are coming along...

Surface Design Portfoilio:
Loving this first group, I think it still needs a smaller scale floral to add to the mix.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring already landed in SOWE NH?

Well, I cannot believe it is two months since my last post.  Yes, I guess I can, I have been going going going!
We took a vacation to San Diego and Los Angeles the end of February, and after we returned, the weather here in So Western New Hampshire has been threatening SPRING in full force!  We had over a week of over 80 degrees in March, and now it is the middle of April and I have rushed to turn my veggie bed, and put down grass fertilizer before it rains this weekend.  Folks here are already mowing grass!  I think I'll be mowing mine next week.

I am scheduled to give an hour presentation, titled "A Matter of Color" Friday May 4th to the New Hampshire Assoc. of Family and Consumer Sciences, that's NHAFCS for short.  I will be presenting at the new Marriott in Keene, NH.  It is my Color Theory Class put to slide show, in BRIEF.  I think it will work out very well, I spent quite a few hours converting my favorite magazine photos into jpegs and translating the progression of my full day class into a one hour slide show.  I am presenting to educators, this is a break out session for them to get CEs.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Also recently I taught a 4 day class at NEFS. (That's New England Felting Supply in Easthampton, Mass) We had a full class at 12 students!  The class was Felts for Upholstery Fabric, and while these shots of the final day and critique are great I cannot wait to see some of the finished chairs and pillows students promised to make their fabrics into!!
Last but certainly not least I am beginning to paint designs again.  I have cleared studio space, made the paper (Stonehenge from Utrecht Art Supplies, I love the guys in the Cambridge Mass store, they are sooo helpful) and paint purchases (Turner Design Gouache from Jerry's Artarama, thanks for turning me on to Jerry's both Gail Callahan and Jean Gauger - I did this order via internet, but yes ladies one day we should go to the "local" store in person!  But boy you should have seen all the FREE goodies I got along with my paints!  I thought I got someone else's order!), and am starting to get pumped!  Presently a gorgeous turquoise mottled blotch sits on my painting table...much more to come on this!   Can you guess what color those flowers are going to be?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Travel Ideas; New York

I recently visited NYC, my goals when I travel is to find treasures, be it shops, food delights or color, textiles and art, my eye looks for adventure.  I think that's whay I respond to the repeating pattern in things. Here are a few things I spied on my trip. See if you don't agree that I am funny about pattern and color, to read my whole entry and follow my tour through out Manhattan, check out my new Travel: Food, Color and Pattern Page