Saturday, December 23, 2017

In Conjunction with Dahlov Ipcar

The Portland Public Library recently hosted an exhibit of Dahlov Ipcar children's books. Ipcar would have been 100 this year, and the exhibit featured artwork from some of her best loved stories such as "The Calico Jungle" and "The Biggest Fish in the Sea". In conjunction with the exhibit, I was asked to do a fabric collage workshop in the children's library.
Surprisingly, people of all ages, from 4 to 74 stopped by during the 3-hour workshop and asked if they could participate. It was free flowing and hands on, with each person creating their own image--some abstract, others depicting a realistic scene which they were able to take with them. Here's a fun Big Fish!

In planning for the workshop, I created my own piece, "Stripes and Spots: Ode to Dahlov Ipcar" which we hung on an easel for the day. I love the way the animals play hide and seek with the patterned fabrics. Although the exhibit has ended, Art Quilts Maine still has a collection of pieces on display, also in the children's library. Wander on back!
I don't have a picture of the finished piece, but this is my ode to Dahlov Ipcar in progress.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mixed Media Mashup

Art Quilts Maine 2017 Challenge, Mixed Media Mashup, is currently on tour in Maine! A dozen quilts developed in response to the challenge statement join another eight small portraits created by AQM artists. The parameters for Mixed Media Mashup were to incorporate two or more visual art media including painting, collage, photography or embellishments in a quilt that measured at least 100" in perimeter.

Several artists participated in the "portrait challenge", working to create a human portrait in a small format. Each portrait had to include a piece of dark red fabric. See if you can find the red fabric in each of the portraits pictured below! (Hint: bottom row center, the red fabric is used for a book cover.)

The exhibit is at Kimball St Studios in Lewiston through mid-November. It moves to the Portland Public Library for December and January. Or catch the show in Farmington this March and April.

Portrait Challenge Art Quilts Maine 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Taste of Tidewater and The Extinction Event

Summer is nearly over but there is still time to catch some artwork! Here are two events that I contributed artwork to:
Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao
Rana O'Connor 

First up, The Taste of Tidewater 10 x 10 exhibit and sale is Online Only until September 15. About 30 pieces in all media from stained glass to clay are available for purchase. Each piece measures just 10" x 10", and a portion of the proceeds benefits the University of Maine Gardens at Tidewater Farm. These are the last few pieces left from their gala benefit evening and they are going fast! Here's the LINK.

Spindleworks' seventh annual exhibit runs through September 29 at Frontier Cafe in Brunswick. This year's exhibit, titled The Extinction Event, is meant to both celebrate and raise awareness of the diversity of species on our planet, all of which are affected by our actions and in-actions. 30% of each art sale supports Maine Audubon's continuing efforts to protect Maine wildlife.

Check it out!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Art Quilts Maine Challenge on Tour!

Art Quilts Maine Challenge quilts debuted at Maine Quilts  in Augusta last week. Both the Mixed Media Mash-Up challenge and the Portrait Challenge were hung, side by side, and they looked great. Both sets of quilts are now awaiting tags and hangers so they can travel around Maine!

First scheduled stop: Kimball St Studios, in Lewiston. They will be at that venue from mid-October through mid-November. Contact the gallery for their hours. There will be a reception during Lewiston's Art Walk L/A, Friday October 20.

There will be another opportunity to see the show when it travels to the Portland Public Library for the winter--dates still to be determined. The quilts may have looked good at Maine Quilts but they SHINE at the individual venues.

Make a date and plan to catch this show!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

MORE Trees

Tree Three Dusk
Rana O'Connor 2017
One of my students, Lisa, thought my trees would be a fine contribution to "A Taste of Tidewater - 10 x 10 Art Sale", benefiting the University of Maine Gardens at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth. The fundraiser is held annually in August. This year it is on Thursday, August 24 at the Parish House of the Episcopal Church of St Mary in Falmouth.

In addition to 75 original works of art by Maine artists, the event includes small plates and desserts created by some of Greater Portland's amazing chefs. Each piece of art is just 10" x 10" and is priced at $200. All art is displayed online prior to the event, starting August 1. I have nearly completed the two pieces I am submitting. Trees, of course, with different backgrounds, mounted on 10" x 10" wood panels provided by the organizers. Painted black, the panels create a perfect frame for the small trees.

I don't know the rules about revealing the artwork ahead of time, so the image here is a teaser--a tree I completed earlier for a friend.

Can't attend in person? Artwork not sold on August 24 will available for sale online for a week following the event, through September 4. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Student Work

Lisa's Tree 2017
Lisa sent me a picture of her tree, begun in the "Tree Bits and Thread Paint" workshop recently! She added a bush to one side, and quilted the background with small circles, which was a great choice from my perspective, as my favorite part of her tree is the red fabric with colorful circles that appears in three or four locations.

Class trees ranged from the more realistic to fantasy, with curls and curves a la Dr Seuss. Placing tree bits took much of the day, but as the trees took shape class participants began to see the possibilities. It's fun and relaxing, playing with fabric in such a low-stress way. Watch for the class to be scheduled again later this year!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Road Trip!

Dana Thank You
Great road trip with a friend last week. Dana proposed driving to Amherst, Mass to see a quilt show. Obviously the right words to get me out of the studio! While Dana is not a quilter, the show featured two artists she knew well, a mother and daughter, both named Valerie. Valerie (the elder, at 92!) quilts while her daughter is a watercolor artist. Their show was hung in a space with lots of natural light and great seating. We spent hours talking about fabric, art and design techniques. The work was colorful and varied, with some lovely fabric landscapes. Valerie's story mirrors mine in another way--she grew up in Iran! Born in Russia, she emigrated to Tabriz then attended high school in Tehran, where she met and married an American serviceman, moving to the US in 1947! I moved to Iran in 1960, returning to the US in 1973. Small world. I wanted to make Dana a thank you card for suggesting the day's adventure and handling all the details. Knowing she spends lots of time at the beach, I pulled fabrics to create a beach scene, cut wavy lines for the ocean and sand dunes and layered them on batting. The sky was a real find--a piece of light blue with white flowers that were just abstract enough to suggest clouds and sun. A handful of shells and beads added a bit of focus. Hope she likes it! Below, two pieces from the show--love the similar color palette!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tree Bits and Thread Paint

Teaching a new class in a couple of weeks! Titled "Tree Bits and Thread Paint" it will be at The Sewing Machine Exchange in Falmouth. I am encouraged by the interest in this class--we had to schedule a second session to accommodate participants! I know several people signed up with a friend, which is such a great way to go--the class is more fun when you have someone to share the experience.

The idea for this class grew out of a technique in my pattern, "Safe Harbor."
Safe Harbor © Pattern available at The Sewing Machine Exchange
When I taught the all-techniques class based on this pattern, several people wished we could have spent more time on the tree, so I designed this 5-hour session. I developed the tree bits and thread paint technique and have used it for several different applications including water and hair. We'll take a look at various applications during class.

Missed out on this round? Send Tyler a note and we will put you on the list to be emailed when we schedule the next one. Here's a sneak peak at the class project for "Tree Bits and Thread Paint".
Tree Two 2017 ©

Monday, February 13, 2017

Try Something New!

I downloaded a video by Esterita Austin called "Dynamic Fabric Art Portraits." I've linked to a short video preview. The technique was intriguing and I wanted to give it a try . . . sometime. Lucky for me, Art Quilts Maine members Jane and Pam issued a challenge in October to create a 12" x 14" portrait. Finished pieces were to be revealed in February. What a perfect opportunity to experiment with Esterita Austin's technique! Her portraits begin with a piece of hand dyed fabric.
Fabric used for Face
By means of judicious cutting, the entire face is constructed from that single piece of fabric. I was amazed at the way the features came together! Part two of her technique involves using tiny amounts of light and dark paint to add a few highlights and shadows. A thin line defines the eyes, a little white paint highlights the bridge of the nose, but there is minimal manipulation other than choosing how and where to cut the fabric. Speaking of which, my fabric looked rather ratty after I cut it all apart--you must be willing to sacrifice your piece of fabric to the portrait! Having created the face from one piece of fabric, I decided to use only one other piece to finish. I found this great, colorful elephant print in my stash and began cutting it apart into separate elements.

Fabric used for Frame
Jane gave us each a piece of red fabric to incorporate in our portraits, which I did though I defy you to find it! There are 6 or 8 pieces of the dark red fabric tucked in with the elephants and plants surrounding the face. This was really fun to do and I learned several tricks to use in future portraits, my current obsession! Here's my finished piece--still working on a name--any ideas?

Portrait 2017