Saturday, January 30, 2010

Help me, I'm stuck!

This little penny doll  is Charlotte. I've been spending a lot of time with her lately. I was so inspired by Janet's quilt, that I had to try some "French Rose" art for myself. I know better than to attempt an entire quilt, so I made some shabby little  flowers. I've done all kinds of things to distress them, and I'm very happy with the way they turned out. Here is the whole piece so far:
Nothing is sewn down yet, and I plan to distress the pink hearts uner the doily in the same way that I distressed the flower. Beyond that, I am stuck. I think my dear Charlotte needs some words, or more shabby flowers, or some text that has been soldered under glass...but I don't know what. I went to some thrift stores looking for inspiration, but it didn't work! If you have any ideas, please leave a comment here on my blog or on my facebook page. I'd love to have her done in time for Valentine's Day.
In the meantime, we are snowed in again! I am so happy that it's on a weekend, and I don't have to worry about school or work closings. We are all here safe and sound. Here's a look at the water crock outside my kitchen window.
We have at least 8 inches outside and it's still coming down like crazy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Elizabeth Woodford's Auction for Haiti

Hi Everyone,
It's been a hectic week, but I wanted to get this blog post in today. Elizabeth Woodford is auctioning off this fabulous beaded cuff bracelet to benefit Haiti. Her blog post has more photos, and more of the back story of her connection to Haiti as well. Please stop over and take a look: Her auction ends today! This is a wonderful opportunity to own a piece of Elizabeth's art and do good in the world at the same time. What could be better?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Victoria's Hardware Secrets - Leslie Brier Mixed Media Collage Artist

Can you keep a secret? It's been an artistically challenging week. I had an idea for a piece that I wanted to do and I had a deadline. But getting from point A to point B was really difficult for me.

I had been pondering the idea that historically women have used a lot of "hardware" in the process of trying to beautify themselves. Hair curlers, hair pins, underwires, bra hooks, corset boning and garter clasps came to mind.

At 6:00 the night before the deadline, I was almost ready to give up. I had put a lot of time into collecting and creating elements, and I still couldn't decide whether I was going to do 3-D, or 2-D, Vixen or Victorian. I was digging through bins and drawers for inspiration, and realized I was messing up my newly cleaned studio in the process. Besides, if I didn't submit to this particular show, no one would know but me...

 Finally, I just decided to stop overthinking it and commit to putting something down on the board. I decided it was better to try and fail than not try at all.  Slowly, the pieces started to come together. The next thing I knew, it was 10 pm. The project was finally at a point where it was creating itself. The pieces were falling into place and I knew exactly how I wanted to finish it. By 11:30 I had everything nailed down and most of the color laid in.

The next morning, I framed it out with vintage erector set pieces, photographed it and submitted it. And most importantly, I really liked it when it was all done. So what if I put all that work into it and it doesn't get into the show? I'm fine with it. It'll be our little secret.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Janet Moss' Amazing Technicolor Dream Quilt!

Janet Moss is a good friend of mine who is often my partner in crime when it comes to auctions, flea markets, or trying out a new art technique. As it turns out, she is also an amazing quilter! Who knew?
As a gift for her daughter's graduation, Janet created a quilt that is actually two quilts in one.

This side shown above has her daughter's favorite t-shirts. Those who know me well may recall my "Frankenquilt" Incident of a few years ago. It was a t-shirt quilt that killed my machine and caused me to utter words in combinations heretofore unknown. So, the fact that she was able to complete a t-shirt quilt with her sewing machine and her dignity intact, to me, is a feat unto itself.

But wait! There's more! This is the OTHER side of the quilt. It's the French Rose pattern and I adore it!

Here is a closer view. I love the color combinations. And the stitching pattern in the background. (She would want me to tell you that another seamstress did the actual quilting part.) But she did TWO quilt tops and made them work together. Beautifully, I might add.

So now, of course, I have this crazy idea in my head about doing something similar, but smaller, with pastels and hearts, and doing it  before Valentine's Day. My family members are hunkering down in their bedrooms and hoping the mood passes before I kill again!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Virginia Wine Experience Show -- Leslie Brier, Guest Artist

Rick Klingbeil is a talented local painter, who is the artist-in-residence at the gallery space above The Virginia Wine Experience on Caroline Street. He has generously offered to share his wall space with Barry Sisson and me for the month of January. The opening is this Friday night.

Here are some of the pieces that will be there:

I've been wanting to do some circus-themed pieces for a while. This is Circus I. It is a collage on canvas.

Detail of Circus I.

Another detail. I've been working with layers and transparency. The majority of these images are gel medium transfers.

This is my Unicycle Rider. Another in the Circus Series.

This is Mermaid. This started out as a collage of magazine images. I then layered stamped tissue and acrylic paint over the collage.

Garden began with a layer of magazine transfers in purple and gray tones. I built up layers of color on top of the transfers, and then added torn paper collage on top of that. The final layer of color was put in with watercolor pencils. Accents were added with black ink and white gel pen.

The opening is this Friday night, January 8,  from 6:30 - 9:00 pm.
The address is 826 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

Stop by and sample some of the amazing wines that The Virginia Wine Experience has to offer, and say hello to Rick, Barry and me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Felt Heart Pins -- Leslie Brier at LibertyTown Emporium

On Tuesday, I finished up the heart pins I've been working on and delivered them to LibertyTown's Emporium. First Friday is this Friday night and they will be showcasing student work. It's always a great show.

I started making these pins when my daughter was in preschool, and they've evolved over the years. The first ones were very grandmotherly heart shapes with lace all around the edges. Now, I cut out squares with my pinking shears and layer on top of that.

When I first cut the two squares out, they look like little felt raviolis. I do ribbon embroidery on the hearts, and then I add seed beads and my own made-up embroidery stitches around the outside.

Felt was one of the first materials I worked with as a child, and it always brings back happy childhood memories. It is a material that I tend to gravitate toward at this time of year, so making hearts seems appropriate.

It's hard to believe that my own child is now old enough to make these with me. She's upstairs working on one now. I think I'll get a cup of hot chocolate and join her!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Party's Over

On New Year's Eve, I went to the University Cafe to change my window display from a Christmas Theme to a New Year's Party Theme. By the time I was done, there was a real party going on in there, including a new banner, confetti and party hats.

I added four new pieces to the window as well. This little guy is my First Night Baby. He is ready to welcome the new year with his tiny lantern:

I also added my New Year baby:

and Electrolux baby had a spiffy new top hat:

Yesterday, the restaurant was closed for a manager's meeting, and I was there with other members of the Mixed Media Experience to hang work inside the restaurant. At the end of the manager's meeting, we were informed that the University Cafe was closed. Permanently. Effective Immediately. We were asked to remove our artwork, and by the time we had the cars loaded, the locks were being changed on the doors.

So, the party was over, just like that. The cafe, which had been open for less than a year, just wasn't making enough money. My heart goes out to all of the employees, who were shell-shocked, gathered in the parking lot when I left. I lost a venue to show my work, but they lost their source of income and the stability that comes with it.  I sincerely hope that they can find new employment in such a tough economy, and wish them the best of luck in their new endeavors.