Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TGIT Thank God It's Tuesday!

Well, another week has gone by and another weekend for me begins. Work is still slow but my employer's business is still hanging in there. We sponsored an outdoor arts and crafts fair this past Saturday for the Salvation Army to raise money for the tornado victims in the South. We had a lot of great crafters but the foot traffic was slow. We were competing with unseasonably cold temperatures for us in May. We had some rain and we are usually in the 80's this time of year but we never got above 68. We were also competing with the Jazz Festival downtown and the Sacramento County Fair.

I committed to finishing three projects last week and wasn't able to complete them. Going out of town to see my granddaughter's preschool graduation and having a horrible toothache slowed me down considerably. I did finish my textile art piece as shown in my last post. I got my male doll almost completely done. He now has hair, shoes, jeans, a T-shirt and one arm. I attempted hands with fingers this time, so, the second arm has slowed me down a little but he's almost done and ready to be photographed.

My 'three' projects for this week are still the two dolls from last week, smiling Samantha and my little old lady Mildred. I am determined to finished my old doll projects before I start any new ones. My textile art piece for this week is also shown here. I used a batiking type technique to paint this kind of eerie face. It was kind of fun because I used Elmer's washable school glue as a resist instead of wax or other traditional resists. I got an interesting effect. I will turn it into a finished project this week.

The only thing that will slow me down this week is that I have to change my booth at the retail space where my artwork is located. I'm not looking forward to taking everything apart and putting it back together again. I've been using my outdoor tent as the framework for my booth. I'm hoping to come up with a better idea so that I don't have to use the tent. I haven't been able to do outdoor shows because I don't have a second tent so this is a good opportunity to make the change.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Finished Project

One of the challenges I gave myself last week was to turn the sample fabric I dyed with textile paint into a finished piece. I had dyed a 10" x 30" strip of fabric in an ombre effect in mineral blue and tobacco brown. The colors bled into each other so that the colors softened each other. I stenciled some inspirational words on both ends and then added hand knotted fringe in a color that matched the blue.

Anyway, my experimental, sample fabric is now a pretty cotton scarf. I can't wait to try another textile art project this week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Maya's Proudest Day

This is Maya's day and I want to share a little of it with you.

I hope that you all won't mind if I am a little self indulgent with this post. I am a grandmother of four absolutely beautiful grandchildren and yesterday was my 4-year-old granddaughter Maya's graduation from preschool. Those of you who are still young and don't have children of your own yet may say 'what's the big deal?' If you think of any accomplishment either past or recent that you are proud of, something that you worked really hard to achieve, understand that it is the same for a 4-year-old.

I have been so blessed to be a part of my granddaughter and my grandson Jaden her brother's lives. I only wish that I could see my other two Paul and Reylena more often. This is my blog and I get to post the proudest day of my Maya's life. This is their 'Good-bye Song'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TGIT Thank God It's Tuesday!

I'm so glad it's Tuesday again which is the first day of my 'weekend'. Above is a picture of my three projects for this week. I'm still enjoying experimenting with textile art and fabric painting. I dyed and stenciled the piece above and I never like to waste fabric even experiments, so my challenge is to turn my sample into a finished item.

My second project for this week is to finish one of the dolls I started months ago. She's the blond with the big smile. Her name is Samantha and she was inspired by the character in 'Sex in the City'. My doll faces have become so much better over the last few months and she looks a little more comical to me now but I'm going to finish her anyway. I started the other three characters too, so I plan to finish them also.

My third project is my "little old grey haired lady". I've been wanting to do a "little old lady" for a long time. I'm inspired by another doll artist in one of my doll groups who did some 'grammy' dolls. Usually, my dolls don't tell me what their names are until I paint their faces. Yesterday my "little old lady" fell off my work table and when I bent over to pick her up she was very annoyed with me for letting her fall and she told me her name was Mildred. I can't wait to see what Mildred will look like by the end of the week.

I didn't get my first male doll Keannu finished by my deadline yesterday. I had some technical difficulties when I was making pants for him. I realized that when I made the pattern for his body I didn't give him enough 'bum' so his pants cave in in the back. I know this sounds strange but I just can't live with 'bumless' boy doll he just looks odd. Anyway, after I finish this post, I will give Keannu a 'bum' implant to help his pants fit better. They actually had to do that for Ralph Macchio on Dancing With The Stars last week because he didn't have enough bum of his own to do the Samba =)

Work has been so-o-o-o slo-o-o-ow this week. I work at the The Market Place in Rancho Cordova, California on the weekends. We have a great art gallery with paintings and sculptures by local Sacramento artists and we also have antiques and collectibles, custom jewelry and a book section with books by local authors. We have fountains and indoor waterfalls, so we have the relaxing sound of water all around us. It is such a creative and inspirational place to work but the economy here has still not recovered from the recession and our artists, authors and business owners are struggling.

I'm an artist and crafts person but I'm also a business manager and the term "starving artist" is very "romantic" but it doesn't pay the rent. I have friends in the art community who like myself, got ambushed when the job market dropped and had to go on unemployment. Finding a job was next to impossible especially here, we had the highest rate of unemployment in the country, so a lot of us turned to our creative backgrounds to supplement unemployment and part time incomes. Thank God for the spirit of creative people. We've added beauty to the world making it less cold while managing to survive.

For some, the recession became a blessing in disguise because out of necessity, we found out how to become independent of the corporate world, how to live with less and be happy, how to value our ingenuity and how to use our own time for our own business success. I think this discovery has changed a large segment of our population and our economy forever.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meg, Mistress of Potions

Anyone who has been following this blog will remember a piece of fabric I dyed a couple of weeks ago with diluted fabric paint. The fabric became a deeper flesh tone color although it doesn't show as well in these photos.

I had no plan for what the final design for her would be because she started out as an experiment in dying fabric. Once the body was completely assembled I chose a photograph to use to design her face.

Once her face was painted her personality came out and she began to tell me who she was. I used a wild, fiery red-orange yarn with gold treads in it for her hair and earthy fabrics for her costume and shawl.

She suddenly became a Celtic mistress of potions. I think I was inspired by the show Merlin that aired on the 'Syfy' channel this past season.

I gave her a headband made out of stone beads and a bag of potions around her neck.

She is also wearing suede boots with corded ties.

Of course, she told me that her name is Meg and she is now the newest member of "Gloria's Girls".

I completed the second item that I committed to this week. Now, I'm ready to finish my male doll.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Extreme Close Ups

I needed a break from sewing so I decided to take a ten minute field trip around the house and take some close up photography. I love my little camera, nothing fancy but it gives me some creative options.

The challenge I gave myself was to see how many simple compositions I could set up with things from around the house and shoot in ten minutes. I wanted my set ups to be colorful with good light, line and detail.

I also need to stimulate my creative energy to plan my next three projects for next week. If I don't think about it now I won't know what I want to complete next week. I'm still on a social networking diet. I am limiting how much time I spend on the Internet so that I can get more accomplished. This is the first week I'm on my networking diet and I have gotten more done. My goal is to complete a minimum of three creative projects a week.

I love the color contrast in these photos and how the light works in them. O.K., the creative wheels are turning. It's almost 11:00 here, back to work for another half hour and then straight to bed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

El Cielo de Colores

I am so proud of myself. I stayed on track this week and have all of the projects I committed to almost completed. This is the quilted fabric art piece that I started last week. I named it El Cielo de Colores, the sky of colors or the colorful sky.

I really enjoyed working on this. It's been a while since I've done a quilted art piece. I used fabric paint, fabric pastels and fabric paint pens. I also used some very tribal cotton prints to create the applique image.

I bordered it first in white cotton to make it look matted and then created a six inch border in a cotton batik to simulate a picture frame. I am very happy and honored to be able to share my projects here with you.

My next post will be my fabric paint dyed doll. When I painted her face she told me who she was and what she should look like. She's almost done.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TGIT Thank God It's Tuesday!

It's the first day of my "weekend" again and I'm ready to tackle my creative projects for the week. I've made an observation about myself. In the last few weeks I haven't gotten as much done as I have in the past. I used to have a pretty good creative flow and I was able to complete a number of projects every week. But I think I've gotten caught up in the social networking thing. Between 'Tweeting', Facebooking, the website, meetups, Etsy and keeping up with reading some of the wonderful blogs I've been following I have become less productive.

This week I am going to work more and 'socialize' less. After this post my plan is to not even touch my computer until late evening just before bed. Hopefully, I'll get more done. These are four of the current projects I've been working on for a couple of weeks and I have no excuse but to 'focus' and get them finished this week.

This is the fabric painting I 'started' last week when I was experimenting with a project from the book Textile Art by Susan Stein. Last night I worked on it for a while and added some applique work of a woman seated in the foreground and gazing at the rising moon. This project will be stitched, bordered and machine quilted this week. I promise!

This is my first male doll, I'm still calling him 'Keannu' until he tells me what his name is going to be. I've added some shading to his face to give him a more masculine look. I think when I create the next male doll I will give him a squarer chin line.

He also had a little 'surgery' last week to shorten his torso and narrow his hips. His body was a little out of proportion and looked awkward. This week he will get a great 'hair cut' inspired by Keannu Reeves and an outfit.....hmmmm that's going to take some thought. I did theater costumes for many years and raised two sons, you'd think I'd be able to come up with an outfit for a guy.

My last unfinished project for the week is the doll that I dyed with fabric paint. The doll on the left is the result after she was stuffed. The color is darker and closer to a skin tone that isn't as pale as the doll on the right and yes Mary Ann, I agree the fabric did change to a firmer texture. I kind of like it though, with the fabric taking on a tougher feel it was less prone to fraying and my seams were more durable.

This week she will get a new face and I hope she will tell me who she is and what she would like to wear. I'm going to leave that decision to her.

O.K., I'm off and running, lunch first and projects next.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A New Creative Expression

Last week I dyed some fabric for one of my dolls with diluted fabric paint. This week someone gave me the book Textile Art by Susan Stein. I already have so much on my plate to finish with my dolls, the temptation of a new project was the last thing I needed. I actually put this book on the top of my book case determined not to look at it until next month. But not looking at a new book is kind of like a kid not opening presents on Christmas day. I read one section on painting on fabric with textile paints. I gathered all of my existing supplies and decided to try a quick project.

I used what I had and tried my hand at painting a landscape on a piece of 100% cotton. I'll finish it with a border and add batting and a little quilting. It's not perfect but it was fun to try something different. I will definitely try this again when I have more time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TGIT Thank God It's Tuesday!

Thank God it's Tuesday, another work week for me is done and Tuesdays I begin working for myself. I started my morning with coffee and my favorite biscotti. I found out that biscotti is a good alternative to some of the heavy pastries and breakfast things I've been eating. They are very satisfying with coffee and lower in fat and calories. Winter makes me want comfort foods and I always gain extra pounds. I'm not justifying weight gain but all mammals are heavier in winter to keep warm. Am I not a mammal?

Now, I have a natural craving for lighter foods. Fruits and vegetables are coming into season and salads and steamed vegetables are so-o-o good to me right now and I can't get enough fresh basil, grape tomatoes and olive oil.

Cre8tiv Glory is beginning to become a small business. I've been given some great suggestions that will allow me to create my dolls and textile projects and share them with a wider audience. What's that saying...'if you work at something you love you never work another day in your life'...

With artists and designers, the creativity, the commitment, the focus and the desire are always there but we kind of get lost in the nuts and bolts of business. This blog will be one of the places that I will record my progress, successes and failures, so I will be accountable to all of you.
Last week I tried a new technique for dying some fabric for one of my dolls. In the second picture above you can see where I took a piece of pale, baby pink cotton fabric to a deeper flesh tone. Instead of the regular Rit dyes I used a product called "So Soft" fabric paint by "DecoArt". I can't give you exact measurements at this posting because I was still experimenting but I started out with about 2 to 3 cups of water in a plastic tub and diluted equal parts of 'Baby Pink' and 'Brown'. I mixed the water and paint with an old immersion blender until it was the consistency of milk and the color was kind of a dusty rose.

I added about a third of a yard of pre-washed and dried cotton fabric that already had a pink tinge to it but I'm sure white or beige would also have a good result. I squeezed out the excess solution and stored the paint and water solution for another project. I towel dried the fabric in a old terry cloth towel to get out as much of the moisture as possible and then ironed the fabric between two rags until dry to set the color.

The result is a deeper color. It almost looks like dusty peach tea staining. The flesh tone is darker than the ready made flesh colored fabric that I've been buying and using. When the dolls are stuffed with white fiber fill they tend to be very pale. My desired outcome is to have a doll that is not as pale after it's been stuffed.

I started stitching the body together last week and will stuff it today. I will share the end result here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Forgotten Moms

I would like to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mothers Day. I would also like to make a special request to those of you who may know a mom who has lost her family or may be estranged from or forgotten by her family. Please wish her a Happy Mothers Day too. You don't have to do anything major, an inexpensive card, a flower from your garden or just a kind word. You can make a world of difference for someone who may feel a little lonely on this day. You have the power to make someone happy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I took a break from sewing and took some today to visit an animal sactuary in Folsom California. Now that the weather is great I'm trying to enjoy it a little everyday. These squirrels were helping themselves to the deer feed buckets.

They couldn't care less about anything except what was in these buckets.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TGIT Thank God It's Tuesday

TGIT, Thank God It's Tuesday!!! My first day off this week. My computer, desk and work table for my art are all in my room. I love it, I have a nice sized room and I'm always close to my creative space. This is great because I sometimes have odd sleep patterns where I may have insomnia one week and then the next week I may be up at the crack of dawn. My doctor once told me I could either go on sleeping pills or just get up and occupy my mind until I felt drowsy. I chose not to go on sleeping pills and instead I allow my creative mind to work until I feel naturally ready to sleep. I've been this way for over 20 years and for me it seems to work.

The first thing I see when I wake up every morning are my dolls and my art work. This morning I woke up and my "work in progress" dolls looked like this. Have they been partying all night while I slept?

This week, in addition to working on my male doll I am going to experiment with staining and dyeing fabric to get a more realistic variety of skin tones for my dolls. I've been reading some articles and did some research on different methods and techniques. Can't wait to get started!!

Happy TGIT!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My First Male Doll

One of the greatest doll groups that I belong to is Cloth Doll Artistry. I have seen some of the most beautiful designs and work done by some of the most talented and gifted doll designers I've ever met. If you are a doll designer or creator or you are an appreciator of beautifully crafted

dolls and soft sculpture please visit this site.

Members of Cloth Doll Artistry are presented with challenges every quarter to design and create a specific concept of a doll. The challenges are designed to make doll designers stretch their imaginations and step out of their comfort zones by creating dolls that may not be part of their regular design styles or techniques. Like all designers in any field, doll designers can get into a rutt and experience creative blocks. The challenges make doll designers think about how to create something they have never created before.

For me, I approach the challenges as a list of "what if's"
when I begin the "brainstorming", design process. What do I want this doll to look like? The "brainstorming" stage is great because there are no boundries, barriers or limitations. After the design process I begin a construction process which I approach as a series of problem solving projects. This is where I discover what I can and can't do which is also great because it is a learning process.

I like to use photographs of real people when I design my dolls faces. As a result, all of my dolls have a unique look just like real people do. The photos can be of friends and family or just an interesting face I find on the Internet. It is not so much that I try to copy a face exactly, I'm not that good yet but I try to capture an expression or a feature that is unique to the face.

The challenge for me in making a male doll is designing a face that is decidely masculine with strong features. All of dolls my are very soft and feminine with lots of eye shadow and lipstick. They are all very "girly girls". For this doll I found a great picture of the actor Keannu Reeves. He has great eyebrows and clear, dark eyes and his mouth has a little 'smirk' when he smiles. Because my male doll will have shorter hair than my "girly girls", he will have to have 'ears' or his head will look like it's missing something. So these are my first doll ears too. He also has to have a broader chest and shoulders and narrower hips.

Problems solved so far: masculine face, ears, broader shoulders and narrower hips. Next, I will have to decide what his arms will look like and how to style a Keannu Reeves hair cut. In the photo his hair is a little longer and wilder than his "Matrix" character wore. Lastly, what will he wear???? I raised two sons so you'd think that wouldn't be a problem.

This is my male doll design so far. I will keep you posted as I progress further. Tomorrow is my TGIT!! Thank God It's Tuesday, my three days off from work, so it's my weekend. The weather is so nice now after such a rough winter here, it's hard to stay in. I won't complain about the weather here anymore after seeing what the tornados and storms have done to so many homes and cities in the South. My prayers for the families who are now homeless or who have lost someone because of this terrible disaster. This has definitely been a year when mother nature has shown us her strength and power.

I wonder what's going on between these two. Every time I look at them they're staring at each other. Hmmmmm...