Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks as we took a fabulous trip to South Africa.  Beforehand I was immersed in preparation, and afterwards I’ve been catching up with myself. More on the artistic inspirations from that trip at another time!

Today I’m getting ready for my first ever Hand Embroidery class, which commences Saturday.

I made a PowerPoint presentation to get students’ creative juices flowing.  Thank you Pinterest and the artists who posted these wonderful images, and many more.

I bought supplies: markers (air and water disappearing and heat transfer markers), thread –6 strand and Perle (5 and 8 weights) — cloth, fusible tear away stabilizer and of course, needles! I’m sticking with embroidery needles size 5-10.

materials

After the presentation, and I explain the tools and materials, we’ll start right in with the stitches.  I’m going to limit it to running stitch, back stitch, blanket stitch and French Knot. If there’s time I’ll add chain stitch, seed stitch and couching.  You can create a world out of those, with their multiple variations.

 

I’m fortunate that my artist friend Cristina Saucedo has allowed me to use her delightful pen and ink drawings as embroidery templates for my students.

I hope someone decides to use them.

Wish me luck. Meanwhile I’m doing a lot more embroidery myself.  More on that later!

I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)

cards

The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

box-1 box-2

I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.

steel-valley-16-5x13-small

But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.

hummingbirds

I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

I’m supposed to be packing up my art quilts for the Mt. Gretna Art fair this weekend.

But I can’t stop myself. I’ve been making needle felted brooches for a few days to take and sell, and I keep saying to myself: “Just one more!”

I bought a Needle Punch Accessory Kit for my Bernina sewing machine, and I love it!  I’ve done needle felting for years, with a little five-needle hand punch.  But using the speed of the sewing machine is a game changer.

I have a good supply of vintage silk sari strips, which shimmer in these little compositions.  A friend gave me some wonderfully smooth wool suit samples.  The blacks and grays make great backgrounds for the vibrant colors.  Plus I have plenty of wool yarn, and many colors of felt pieces. I drawn upon my bead supply for the final touches.

I even forgot that my 11 year old art student was coming today. So — I explained the process to her, and soon she was needle felting a nice little landscape. She looked so grown up sitting at that machine! She took to it like a duck to water.

Having just returned from vacation rested and refreshed, I’m starting to turn my attention back to my artwork and upcoming events. I’m the featured artist for July at Hamburg Art and Craft Gallery (Hamburg, PA), and the opening reception will be at our house/ studio. I get a chance to display art both in the gallery and at my studio, as well as show some of the techniques I use. Plus we’ll fire up the grill for hot dogs, with plenty of corn on the cob, beverages, and desserts.

Then I’m looking forward to classes: I have a full teaching schedule at GoggleWorks for the fall, though right now the only one on line is in August:

http://public.goggleworks.org/public/ClassesByMedium.faces

And I’m starting classes at Art Plus Gallery, beginning with Gelli Printing.  This is a fun, useful way to alter fabrics or papers for collage or art quilts. I’ve been doing it for years making my own gelatin plate, and now Gelli has come up with a synthetic substitute that gives you a clear, detailed print.

I just ordered a yard of silk fabric through Spoonflower, with images from the wonderful island of Ocracoke, where we went on vacation. I have an “Ocra-quilt” in mind — we’ll see if I can come close to the subtle quilt I am imagining, combining my memories of over 50 years ago with the reality of today. Good luck to me! The Outer Banks are such a unique environment, where the land meets the sea to create its own unique ecology.  I loved immersing myself in learning about the birds and plant life and just playing in the waves.

 

 

A friend asked me to teach a Plein Air Painting class over two years ago, and I agreed.  It got postponed several times, during which time my painting skills got rusty. Luckily I had enlisted the help of another artist to co-teach with me. The class finally took place last Sunday, and it turned out to be a good experience. Our students were wonderful, and Gail and I got along so well that it was a very fulfilling experience.

I have tended to view my change of media from painting to fiber art as a sort of disruption. But as I work my way toward my most natural subject matter, the industrial neighborhood in which I live, I now think the two are related. Looking at the world through an artist’s eyes makes it a very interesting place indeed.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even take up a paint brush from time to time again.