Friday, July 15, 2011

Time to get it out there

Well it has taken much longer than intended to get photos of our First Year final show up on this here blog.
But alas, here I am with time on my hands, in LA while Christian is at work waiting to leave for Costa Rica to get married.
So without further ado here they are.

A shot of my forest canopy/tent/fort in the daylight, it is even more magical at night!
This one has a close up of the tiny led votives I added some of my green dyed fabric to for a look of glowing grass.
A peak inside.
Kathryn Bradshaw with her amazingly beautiful books.
Kathryn Bradshaw's impeccably binded book, she's got talent comin' out the wazoo!
William Ruek's Barn, with real live ducks.
Heather Bromer's modified teddy bears.
Killeen Hansen's Papercut Slide Narrative set-up.
Some of Killeen's slides projected onto the wall.
Karl Ramentol's felt bike seats and lamp.
Sheri Earnhart's set design.
Jody Dunphy's seeded and growing paper.
Sheri inside my forest canopy, probably my favorite shot of the night:)
Me and Christian enjoying a break from the show inside the forest canopy with our roommates.
Looking up inside the forest canopy!
And finally a shot of the inside of the forest canopy/tent/fort.

So if you made it through all those photos, I also made a video (my first one ever!) of the dyeing process for this project.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Till next time!
Hope you are all enjoying your summer:)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moving along

Here are some photo updates of where I am in my process of my final project.  I still have a ways to go, but I'm moving along:)

This is the fabric soaking in a soda ash solution, which is the chemical that helps the color absorb into the fabrics.  
This is my set up, lots of dye, some sponges, spray bottles, and extra towels and rags.  I must say I was lucky to score a good amount of wall space that I could pin up the fabric and plastic to.

Ready to dye!  That is a 12ft x 9ft plastic drop cloth on the wall behind the fabric, to give you an idea of how big the piece of fabric is.  They are about 10ft long and 3ft wide at the top and 9ft wide at the bottom.

 And this is what it looks like after its been dyed.  It doesn't look nearly as dark or saturated when its rinsed and dried, but it still looks just as vibrant!

After the dye soaked fabric sat overnight with an electric blanket on it, it was ready to rinse.  This is the Fibers studio at OCAC where they have ample sink space, it really did take 3 sinks for me to rinse these babies!

And this is the final product!  Don't forget, there are 3 other pieces with the same color sequence that were done as well, its only possible to take a photo of one at a time:)  They have all been sewn together to create a very large skirt like structure.

I have also been documenting my entire process with video, but will have to learn a bit more about video editing until I debut it here.  But I should be done with it soon!

Right now I am working on making pillows to go inside my super stellar fabric fort/canopy, and am having a lot of fun playing with different quilting techniques to make them.  It's a great way to be able to play with all these different techniques I have been dying to try all year.
Photos of the pillows are coming soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Brown Victory!

Victory!  I have created a successful brown, finally.  I did actually end up using pre-mixed browns to get it right.  But I am not giving up on mixing my own brown.  I will try again in the future, but in the interest of time for my project I will be sticking with this method.
they look a bit red on the computer but I promise they are quite beautiful browns in person:)

Also here are some swatches of the color layout for the entire piece of fabric that will be making the canopy.  The one in the center is what it will look like.

Tomorrow I have to start cutting the fabric, lots and lots of fabric:)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fabric Forts and Canopy's

Beautiful Fabric Fort by Justina Blakeney, check out Design Sponge for the super easy "How To"
I love Fabric Forts!  Who hasn't tried to build one at some point in their life?
The end of my first year of grad school is quickly approaching.  Late nights combine with early mornings, group meals, and lots of stress.  The constant hum of machinery, sewing, hammering, cutting, chatter and music, the studio is bustling with energy with our end of the year show May 6th-8th.
Everyone is busy working on their projects for the show.  This semester I decided to do something I have never done before...create an installation, on purpose:)  I am building a Fabric Canopy/Fort!
It's going to be structured like a typical bed canopy, with the feel of a child like fort.  I am really excited about this project and have been hard at work.
The photo above is one of my inspiration photos.  I love the eclectic look and the cozy feel of it, although what I have in mind will be quite different.  Mine will be made to resemble a fairy-tale forest, one of my favorite places!  I will be dying the fabric in colors to simulate my fairy-tale forest, a gorgeous blue at the top to resemble the sky cascading into rich greens of foliage, and finally transitioning into a deep earth brown.  The interior will be decorated with lots of pillows, some over sized leaf shapes, regular squares with floral prints, and some soft furry ones to create a comfortable and cozy feel.  I am also going to add crocheted vines and flowers cascading from the top center down to the floor. 

Soooooo...Time to get to work!  So far I have been doing lots of dye tests to figure out which fabric I want to use, how to get the colors I want, and what techniques to use.  So far some have been successful and others...not so much.

In the photo above the 2 on the left were tests in technique and color.  The blues and greens I love but the brown came out waaaay too red.  So that led me to do some smaller tests to see if I could get a better brown.
Not so much here either:(  After a bit of internet research I learned that brown is apparently a very hard color to mix, and that even the browns that are sold premixed don't always look so great.  But luckily there were a few good tips about how to get a good brown that I will hopefully be able to work on tomorrow. 
To try and distract me from getting too discouraged about my unsuccessful dying experiments, I decided to work on the measurements for the canopy and made a small model out of scrap fabric and wire.  I only cut out 2 of the 4 fabric panels for the model, but it was good enough for me to see the drape and get a good idea of how it will look.  I am happy to see that my pattern and measurements worked out nicely.  Now all I have to do is make the actual size pattern and start cutting the fabric pieces (exciting).  My model is made at about 1/3 the size.  The finished canopy will be about 8ft wide at the floor and 7ft off the ground.
This is the view from the inside, the clothespins are merely acting as weights:)

This is the view from the back/outside
How do you feel about fabric forts?  Do you have a memory of a favorite fabric fort that you built as a kid?  Feel free to share in the comments below:)  
Till next time, wish me luck with the brown dye!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fear and Neglect

Photo of the Summit Trail in Sequoia National Forest at the point where Christian and I lost the trail.  We may have been a bit lost, but the view was amazing!

It's been way too long since I have posted here, and not for any reason in particular.  Mostly I have been in a rut and struggling with insecurities in school, which led to a mixture of fear and avoidance.  For me those things come hand in hand.  If I am fearing something it often times leads me to avoid doing what ever that task may be.  My fears seem pretty typical for someone working as an artist, which seems like it should be easy enough to push them aside and get over it.  But so far my fears have left me dead in my tracks, with an inability to move forward on my projects.

Lately, my list of fears seem never ending, especially at this point in school.  We are more than half way through the 2nd semester, and really close to the end of my first yr!

My list of fears goes something like this...

- Making the wrong move and focusing on the wrong thing (wasting time)
- Effectively communicate my ideas through an art quilt
- Why am I making art quilts?
- Will my work be good?
- What will others think of my work?
- What does my work say about me?
- Is my work saying the right things?
- Do I really know what I am doing?
- Why cant I figure out exactly why I love working with fabric?
- What will I do when I graduate?!

The list continues but I think that's the majority of what has my mind racing at the moment.  The interesting thing is that most of those fears are actually questions, questions that I don't have answers to but feel like I should.  And there in lies the fear.  Fear of the unknown.

Ironically everyone I talk (dept heads, mentors, teachers) to about this feeling of being lost and confused and insecure and scared, all say "Excellent, what a great place to be!"  To which my response is more confusion:( 

I am trying my best to kick these nasty fears, and all that I can do for now is try my best to be mindful of my state and realize that it will pass in time and my confidence will soon be restored. 

Also I know that buckling down and finishing one of my art quilts will give me the sense of accomplishment that I need to move forward...So what am I waiting for:)  Off to the studio I go!

Do you ever feel lost or fall into a state of fear that leads to neglect?  What kinds of things do you do to get yourself out of your rut?