Sunday, October 26, 2014

Studio Sunday

Happy Sunday!  I've got my second cup of coffee and I'm ready to share all of my studio fun from the week (mostly Saturday LOL).  I almost got some stitching done last night but fatigue caught up with me at 8:00 pm and I would have had to set up my sewing machine which is still in a box from the July move.  So one of the things I was playing with was a new paper towel fiber art piece.


This piece above I created in 2012 after teaching an on-line workshop on Joggles.com.  I had been playing with making my own art stamps from sticky-back foam and thought it might be cool to print on dyed paper towels I had.  A lot of the pieces I have collected were originally created in a workshop I took from Traci Bautista back in 2005 near Seattle.  I think it was the first time Teesha and Tracy Moore had ever run the "Art Fiber Fest" retreat.  It was fantastic!!!!  I got to take workshops with Traci Bautista, Lisa Engelbrecht and DJ Pettitt.  



Anyway...I decided to pull out some of my stash of paper towels along with some new ones resulting from recent ink and spray play.  Using a piece of cotton muslin, I applied full sheets of Steam a' Seam Lite and laid out my collage and fused it down.  I did iron the paper towels first.  Next, I stenciled on top of the layout using my "Spin" stencil from Joggles.com and let that dry.  Now I'm ready to top it with a piece of soft tulle and a layer of batting and begin free-motion stitching.  I think I will leave the edges frayed but we will see.



I'm not a heavy embellisher by nature so I will incorporate some hand stitching and light beading on top as well.  This will be a good project to take to work and relax with during lunch.  Below, you can see a selection of used paper towels from my stash.  They are just saturated with color and make you want to dive in!!!


While I was playing with stencils this week, I pullout out my very used "Shooting Stars" stencil which was still covered in spray ink from the last use (there are benefits to not cleaning your tools LOL).  I took the stencil, sprayed it with water and flipped it onto a piece of cardstock and this is what happened!  That's a lot of color!!!


So, of course I couldn't stop there!  I had to take the image and create a repeat pattern with it in Photoshop!  You can see all of the watercolor effects from it and I LOVE it !!!!


Then I played with the Hue/Saturation and changed it up a bit.  I do love the subtleness of the shades below as well.  We'll see where this design lands!  


And lastly, I created more collages using copies of my Gelli printed and painted papers and came up with this look.  Yummy but I haven't explored this one yet in repeat but you know that will happen!


Enjoy the rest of your weekend and keep on creating!!!

Margaret






Sunday, October 19, 2014

Studio Sunday

I've got my nice hot cup of coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer to really give this morning a fall feel.  Yummy!  It is just as beautiful as last weekend only a little cooler.  I have a bad habit now of watching CNN every night and it's truly a downer but it inspired my collage here.  I didn't want to write on the page yet so I just added my thoughts digitally until I'm ready to make it permanent.

I'm having a blast playing with little pieces.  Envelopes, index cards and stencil remains, and Gelli printing.  I thought this little envelope which I sprayed using Dylusions through my stencil "Sunshine" at joggles.com would be perfect for this layout.  I'm really loving the white space in the background as well.  You can see there is tons of texture as I've been mixing the sprays with acrylic paint and the Tim Holtz Distress Inks.


Here are more small pieces that I've been playing with and plan to incorporate into some sort of journal, I'm just not sure what format yet.  The purple one I have used my "Spin" stencil at joggles.com and an edge of my "Framed" stencil at StencilGirlProducts.com.  I love the abstract look of this and plan to build out a blended digital version of this as well.


On the one below, I used my "Sunshine" stencil again and the next is just a beautiful mess.  That one will show up in a digital version as well.


The last stencil version I played with here is using my "Grid A1" stencil from Stencilgirlproducts.com.  I sprayed, stenciled and reverse printed on top of an already messy background but I love how this stencil easily blends into the background and that funky texture from the reverse spray print shown in the lower left corner.


And finally...the pièce de résistance!


Here is another one of my digital collages using my gelli prints and other elements I already designed blended together to create a seamless repeat pattern.  The section above includes dark grey poppies originating from my own photographs.  I thought they looked cool on the paper print but I am still working on the full design below.  Although there are some visible straight edges, I still like the way it turned out and I might add some additional subtle elements to draw they eye away from those.  It's a WIP!  I have desaturated the colors here but I can pump up the teals and blues as much as I want.  This design may make it to fabric very soon!  I can definitely see it in a silk scarf!


Today's another day.  Tomorrow's the start of another week and November is almost upon us.  Where does the time go?????  Stay creative and See you next week!

Margaret

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Studio Sunday

It's beautiful here today!  Blue skies, leaves falling from the trees in sensational autumnal colors and I'm warm and cozy looking at it all from my windows.  There are a lot of pine trees here and right now the entire yard is covered with those pine needles and it has created a beautiful soft bed of burnt umber on top of the green grass.

 

Yesterday was all about self-expression through art dolls, well sort of.  I made cloth dolls at one point in my life and have never really gotten over how much fun they are and have thought many times about creating them again.  Well, the closest I came yesterday was a 2D doll.  LOL  Yup, weird looking to say the least but there is a whole emotional dump that occurred while I was drawing her out.  It was therapeutic to see myself as I was feeling.  So here she is hahahahaha


Ok, back to other stuff...  but first let me say if you have access to Pinterest and you search for "art dolls" plan to spend an hour looking at all the amazing creatures, incredible sculpted faces and eyes that connect with you in an instant!!!


From one of the digital papers I created last week, I used the eclips2 to cut out a stencil design from the paper.  It was in muted tones and it inspired me to create the layout above totally inspired by a glimpse of winter and a layer of fresh snow.  This week I created a number of collages using copies of all my mono printed papers and once again played with the results digitally.  


I love this look above so of course I had to print it out and play with it.  I turned this and another into these two envelopes below that I edged with the silver Sharpie paint pen.  I can't tell you how much I want to create a fabric layout and print it through Spoonflower!  I want this in a really big repeat like 18 inches so you can actually see all of the texture from the paint and the beautiful hues of blue and purple.  It would make an awesome quilt or even smaller pillows that I could embellish with hand stitch or free-motion stitching and beading.  And, and.....


As you can see, I get totally excited.  How about a set of dishes!  I WANT THESE!!!  First I'll keep working on them a little :)


It's all a part of the process!  Have a great week!

Margaret



Sunday, October 5, 2014

STUDIO SUNDAY is Back!

Wow what a week!  Now today is the last day of vacation (boo) and wouldn't you know I'm awake at 4:00 a.m. thinking about tons of new ideas I want to try!  It's probably that fear of running out of time that will push me forward today.  I should put a pad of paper and a pen next to my bed so I can throw some ideas down and then continue sleeping until a normal hour as this could be how my weekends might go moving forward.  



So I mentioned before that I am having fun cutting my own new stencil designs to work with in the studio.  I'm experimenting with some mandala building and layering these are so much fun!  I purchased the 8" Gelli Plate and I have been using that as well as my large plate to see what I like the best.  I love the look of random monoprinting and layering the stencil prints and ghost prints and then enhancing with all my new fun tools!


My favorites include the Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads, Sharpie Waterbased Paint Pens, Stabilo Aquarellable pencils and Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints.  I am ready to ditch all of my cheap craft paints as it is so obvious how lackluster they are compared to the fluid acrylics.  The Distress Ink Pads are awesome to use for applying in a watercolor and brush fashion.  You can layer them just like watercolors, however, I'm not so sure they are permanent.


As usual, no floor space is exempt from drying prints and stencils.  Once the cardstock stencils get covered in enough paint, I can't wait to use them directly on other projects.  This has to be one of the messiest worktables ever!  I am constantly looking for things that get buried under additional layers as the day goes on.  


 Of course, I can't NOT play digitally to see what fun stuff I can come up with through that process as well!  Don't these look yummy!!!!  I'll be printing those out to use in new collages. I can't decide which one I like the best but I'm in the mood for some muted colors like the 2nd one.


Oh boy, I know I could make this into fabric!!!  Repeat pattern HERE I COME!!!  There may be an art quilt somewhere in my future!!  I have the worst desire to sew right now, but I'm holding off (mostly because all the table top space is already covered!)  


Well, I've got big ideas brewing and only nights and weekends to put them together going forward.  I'll try to get as much done as I can today to take advantage of my last vacation day!

Have a wonderful week!
Margaret

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

REBIRTH-RENEWAL-REJOICE

Where have I been?  I don't know for sure, but very out of my groove.  Where am I now?  Enjoying a week full of studio fun!  I've been away toooooo long!   Right now I am into paint, into paper, into my new Sizzix eclips2 personal cutting machine, Gelli plate and metallic paint pens.  Yummy!


It is fall, officially and my favorite season!  This time of year is always a kind of a rebirth and renewal for me.  How advantageous that I still had vacation time to take before our year end and very busy new year (October).  I've really needed this break to play, explore and awaken my creative spirit.  Once again, the studio floor is covered  in monoprints and collages a result of my fearless desire to find myself once again.


The newest addition to my studio toolbox is my Sizzix eclips2 and I can't tell you how incredible it feels to create a design on the computer, cut it out and immediately play with it to explore all possibilities of its use.  Design and production right at my fingertips and as far as I can see, there are no limitations!  This is exactly what I have been doing; (1) designing new stencil designs; (2) cutting them out on the eclips2; (3) picking up all of the little cut pieces that fall out of the design that aren't needed; and (4) playing with all of it!



 What is super fun for me is pushing the use of everything I'm creating!  I'm cutting out of cardstock weight paper that can be used as stencils and then when it gets really covered in paint, it can be incorporated into a collage.  All the extra little pieces are getting covered in paint as I monoprint with the stencils and I was inspired to make the layout seen here.  It's kind of an odd looking thing like a round portal window with a half wreath of leaves and with what looks like an intense sunset off in the distance.  I have hung it up already as it is inspiring me to continue thinking "beyond".  To reach outside of my comfort zone and push my exploration of every idea and the path it takes me down.


I rediscovered how much I like painting on black paper.  I had taken a cool workshop with Seth Apter when he was teaching at Art Is in Connecticut a few years ago.  We used black and white gesso and fluid acrylics with glazing liquid to convert a deck of cards into a journal.  What a fantastic workshop that was and I can't say enough about Seth as a teacher!


Black paper feels good right now as I feel like I am sort of climbing out of the depths this week.  I love the intensity and almost graffiti feel to it and it's quite forgiving.  However, I never shoot for perfection as imperfection is so much more interesting!


It's fun to expect the unexpected and push new boundaries as they arise.  Of course, digital play is never very far away.  I think I am averaging about 5 color prints to one set of ink jet cartridges but I can't help love the intensity of the colors.  Maybe next I will try a softer palette.


Hopefully there are still people out there reading this blog!  I'll be sharing more going forward of my exploration and play and maybe I will even bring back Studio Sunday postings.  I've still got 5 days til Sunday so off to the studio I go!!!  Hope everyone is enjoying the change of seasons!!

Margaret

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting: Surface Design, Patchwork, Applique, Quilting, Embellishing, Finishing by Linda Seward

I have exciting news!!!  About a year ago, I was contacted by Linda Seward who asked if I would like to submit artwork to the new book she was working on. I can't tell you how overjoyed, flattered and excited I was. Her book is finally out and I can't wait to receive my copy!! Congratulations Linda Seward

Linda has written many books on quilting techniques and her newest is a huge compilation, "The Ultimate Guide To Art Quilting.." which I am so happy to say that I am a part of!!!! Thank you, Linda Seward!




Linda: "This is the title page of my new book. The publishers put together the images on the left, so those artists aren't credited for this page. I'd like to rectify that right now!
Top row: Cindy Friedman, Hilary Gooding, Anne Jolly. 
Second row: Margaret Applin, Bornemisza Eszter, Tracey Pereira. 
Third row: Margaret Applin, Linda Beach, Karina Thompson. 
Bottom row: Inge Hueber, Sheena Norquay, Ann Brauer."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Looking Back Through Your History


I think no matter where you are in your journey, it's important to look at where you have been.  This can apply to everyone and anyone regardless of your goals or career path.  As an artist, sometimes you need to go through the photo album of your creative path and find yourself once again.  That's not to say that I don't know myself now, but for me, it's more of a purposeful re-adventure.  


It is easy to get way ahead of yourself if you are driven to define yourself and, to me, defining myself, my voice, my art, is a process of taking two steps forward and one step back.  I forget the history of how I got to where I am.  I'm a visual person and I need to see my story in front of my eyes.  That's how I can better evaluate, analyze and direct myself to move forward.


With each new goal I reach as an artist, it's important for me to re-visit the journey because it not only inspires me to move forward, strive harder to reach a new goal, but it also reconnects me with the imagery and techniques that I enjoyed working with earlier on that journey.  Of course I am always looking for ways to repurpose my art and I might find opportunities checking the archives, but it is also a way for me to blend the past with the present to create the future.  

Our art is always continually evolving, but we can learn so much about ourselves from the history.  Take a moment to look back at the art you have created so far on your journey and ask yourself these questions:

1.  What inspired me to create this?
2.  What tools did I enjoy working with at that time?
3.  What components inspire me now and how can I incorporate those techniques, colors, ideas into my art going forward?

I don't know about you, but I am a work in process and I think I always will be.  I encourage you to embrace your work in process, your history, and your dreams to continue taking that journey and working to ensure it is a long one!

Margaret

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SURTEX: The Big Show!

SURTEX 2014 - Wow!  I can't even begin to explain what a huge experience this was for me!  There was surface pattern design EVERYWHERE and it was all so beautiful and inspiring!  I had doubts before the show and as we were setting up taking in all our surroundings but after connecting with my first interested party, that was it!  I felt confident that I had chosen the right road and taken part in a fabulous opportunity that could potentially change the entire course of the rest of my life.  WOW....

The most important takeaway for me from the show was about product mock-ups.  I knew that mock-ups were important and I was able to create them for some of my collections in the remaining design time before the show but I now feel they are almost more important than presenting the overall design by itself.  Knowing this, I will be focusing more of my design work from the products themselves.

Next year?  I will exhibit at Surtex again next year either as a part of Cultivate Art Collective or possibly on my own depending on my ability to obtain license agreements from connections made from this current show.  Either way, I will be better prepared with a portfolio full of mock-ups and endless design ideas!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and let's not forget all of those who have defended our country in the name of freedom and put their lives on the line for all of us.  Most importantly let's not forget those who are still with us and deserve our support and compassion for all that they have done and how dramatically their lives have changed as a result.  Celebrate Life!

Always,
Margaret