Work table : new ideas are flowing ...

I'm having a huge burst of creativity in the past week. I have an idea for a new series that I'm really excited about and have spent most of the week researching, testing, scrounging, digging, manipulating, and staring. I love and hate this period in the creative process. I relish having a new idea but I also find I can't turn off my brain, it just flows 24/7. So this week, I'll share some of my messy work table with you. Perhaps it gives you a hint of my next series ...

That is, if you can see anything through the mess.

I hope everyone had a creative week! Happy Halloween!


Layers : Square off

I feel like it's been too long since I've been near my computer! Thanks everyone for your support for Open Studios. It was a wet weekend but it was a successful weekend after all. I met some wonderful supporters and even sold some of my latest Idiom series.

Now it's back to the everyday routine! Here is the latest in the layers collaboration, Square off. See what my fellow collaborators (wsake, threebysea and Inklore) are doing on our group Flikr page. I really missed working with wood models from those architecture days.
04. Square off, 2010. 8"x8". Embroidery, linen and wood.

04. Square off, side view, 2010. 8"x8"

04. Square off, detail of embroidery.
We'll see what comes next! I'm starting to feel more comfortable working in 3D and have some ideas up my sleeve for a new series.


Layers : Ball and chain

Here is my latest of the Layers collaboration project. I'm playing off my Idiom Series here and still pushing myself to move more into 3D, hence the multiple photos.

03. Ball and chain, 2010. 5"x7"x4" Felted wool, marble, paper, and paint on linen.
I was aiming for a contradiction in terms, the ball is rock hard while the chain is soft, the opposite of what you would expect.

Ball and chain, side view.
And a close up showing the texture of materials.

Ball and chain detail.


Layers : Take shape

I can't believe a week has already passed since I started the Layer collaboration with Inklore, wsake, and Threebysea. Be sure to check out their blogs to see how they've interpreted this month's theme. I find I often have a slow start with these projects because I experiment the first week trying new ideas until I find my direction. Here is my second piece of the series, Take shape.

02. Take shape, 2" x 10". Remnant fabric and wire.
Perhaps that's what this month will turn out to be, a layering of ideas as I have so many. I'll share what today's experiment was shortly. Let's just say my house has a strong chemical smell this afternoon.


San Francisco Open Studios

It's that time again, when artists open up their studio doors to the public! In previous years, I've always shown my work in gallery settings. This year, I'll have my home studio open. Here are the details and I hope to see meet some of you in person! 7X7 Magazine listed my studio as one worth visiting in their Guide to Open Studios here.

I have one more area in my studio to clean up, my desk! So hopefully I'll have some pictures I can share with you for those who can't make it. Thanks for your support, everyone! We artists really appreciate it!


Artist : Sophie Truong

I'm very excited to share my new friend Sophie Truong's work with you today! I met Sophie in Decor8's Blogging Your Way class taught by Holly Becker. Meeting Sophie was one of the highlight's of the class for me. Sophie works and shows in the Boston area. When I first found her site, I discovered these stunning quilt panels.

Sophie Truong, Tea Bag quilt panel 7.
What I didn't realize is they are made of used tea bags. She hand sews them together using traditional quilting techniques to create subtle color overlays. Incredible, no? Using found materials and remnants make these even more special to me. Here are some details of the sewing.

Sophie Truong, Tea bag quilt panel details.
Then Sophie surprised me again. I saw this wall installation and immediately loved it. It looks as if it's going to slither away, it feels so alive.

Sophie Truong, Wall installation.
It's also made with teabags which I never would have guessed from far away. I assumed these were made of wood. Stunning!

Sophie Truong, Wall installation detail.
As I mentioned, she wastes nothing. Here is what she did with all of the leftover teabag tags from the wall panels.

Sophie Truong, Tea Bag grouping.
And here are some images of her soft sculptures she has been making using wire and fabric. Also beautiful.

Sophie Truong, Soft Sculptures.
Sophie's work is diverse yet her strong personal style tie it all together. It also has a looseness and freedom to it that really inspires me. I am excited to see what Sophie creates next. You can visit her website here and her blog Stitch and Tickle. She also has an Etsy shop Oops and Comet that features wearable art that she makes (wow!). And, there are many, many more photos of her work on Flikr.


tiny weave : number two, loose remnant

Here is the second of my Tiny weave project that I'm creating for The Sketchbook Project. I've been saving remnants from packages received and my artwork and I use these as weft threads.

02. Loose Remnant, 2010. 2"x2", paper thread and remnant thread. For The Sketchbook Project.
The warp thread in this case is paper string. I love the color and the strength of it.


Layers : Shape of things to come

It's kickoff day, the official start of the layer themed collaboration with wsake, Inklore and Threebysea. I thought about how to interpret this theme over the last week and decided to try to push my work in two ways.

01. Shape of things to come. 4"x8", mixed media.

I want to work more in three dimensions and I would like to make my ideas a little more spontanious. I like to take baby steps when I try new things, feel around for awhile before plunging head first. I have always wanted to work in 3D but for some reason, I'm always hesitant to go there. These collaborations allow me to play a little more with ideas, perhaps finding new directions for my larger series. I'm having fun with these.


Artist : Richard Tuttle

I thought I'd share the work of some of the well known artists I respect and admire. I have just a few, minimalist that I am. Richard Tuttle is one of the first that comes to mind.

3rd Rope Piece, 1974. Cotton and nails. Image from Art21.
His work is so pared back, it somehow emphasizes the basics of tension yet remains so simple and beautiful in its' execution. Yet there is such complexity in it all. Most of his work is small and elegant. The size forces the viewer to look for a deeper meaning. One of my favorite series of his are his wire drawings.
1st Wire Bridge, 1971. Wire on wall. 371/2" x 38 1/2". Image from Art21.
Here is one of his more recent works. Less minimal yet so intriguing.

Dark Extension, 2007. Image via Sperone Westwater.
 I'll leave you with a quote from Tuttle that just hints at what he's thinking about when it comes to making art.
"If you’re going to be a visual artist, then there has to be something in the work that accounts for the possibility of the invisible, the opposite of the visual experience. That’s why it’s not like a table or a car or something. I think that that might even be hard for people because most of our visual experiences are of tables. It has no business being anything else but a table. But a painting or a sculpture really exists somewhere between itself, what it is, and what it is not- you know, the very thing. And how the artist engineers or manages that is the question."

- Richard Tuttle


Collaboration : Layers

It's official! We've created a team and chosen a theme for this month's collaboration ... the word layers. Here are some layered flikr images I uncovered looking for inspiration today.

1. Layers of color, 2. Topo Pillow in Olive (detail), 3. layered vintage zipper cuffs (detail) :: © amalia versaci 2010, 4. Scrap Peek
I have three very talented collaborators joining me this month. Here's a sampling of their incredible work.

Sam Hirst of Inklore.
Anna of wsake.

Nicole of Threebysea.
 I'm so excited to be working alongside such amazing talent! Isn't all of their work beautiful? We all work in different media so it will be interesting to see what we create. There's still time to join us so if you're interested, send me an email. I plan to create a flikr group so you can see all of our work together. This should be a fun month! Let's get started!


I'm going to make a quilt ...

I'm going to make a quilt with my daughter's Kindergarten class! I've volunteered to work with the kids to make an art project for her school's annual auction. It's seems appropriate to do something with fabric so I thought a quilt might be fun. My dear friend, Ines, gave me a beautiful large duvet cover her mother made for her in Germany. I've been holding onto it until I could find a good use for it. The fabric is a beautiful gray with a hint of aubergine in it. I plan to use half for the kids and half for my art. For the quilt, I'm imagining something along the lines of a Japanese boro like this ...

Image from Fibercopia blog.
but with the kids helping by painting their own squares with potato printing. I was thinking about navy paint, but after I saw this image, now I'm imagining something with cream paint.

Image from ebay.
I would love to do a traditional japanese flour paste resist called Tsutsugaki but not sure if we can have that many steps in the process. I start working with the kids at the end of the month and I'll be sure to post some photos of the process as we work on it.

Image from Reference Library.
It won't be ready until February but it will be fun and will hopefully raise some money for my daughter's school at the auction. Wish us luck!


Recent work : Button up

I'm back after a few days of feeling under the weather! It's good to feel better again but I missed spending time in the studio and working in the evenings on my smaller projects. Last week I finished the work in progress I shared called Button up. I even managed to photograph it last week so this is an easy post for me today. Here it is!

Button up, 2010. 12" x 16" buttons on linen.
I used a technique from The Art of Manipulating Fabric called keyhole contoured tucks. Sounds complicated, no? Actually it looked that way but once I made it, I realized how easy it was. But, you have to make a mock up with paper first to understand how it comes together otherwise you can waste a lot of fabric.

I think I stole the circle template from my dad's desk years ago. Thanks, dad! If he ever came into my studio he'd be shocked at how much of his I've appropriated.

Button up detail, 2010. 12" x 16" button on linen.
I found these amazing little buttons on the etsy site I shared recently that sells the Blackwork book I featured. You can create the alphabet as you sew, hence the U - P. I couldn't resist.


collaboration : next ...?

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm looking forward to starting a new collaboration project for the month of October and would love it if you joined me. I love hearing other people's ideas as they break you out of your routine thinking and challenge you to think about your work in a new light. To inspire you, I've thrown in some amazing "outside of the box" artwork to get your mind in gear!

Jantze Tullett (left) and Masami Akasuka courtesy of Neest (right).
I've been doing collaborations for three years and have found perameters work wonders. Here are the ones I've found that encourage creative thinking without taking away from your main work:
  • Have a common theme. It can be anything. It creates a tie between the collaborators yet provides a challenge to think outside of the box on something new and different.
  • Keep the size small. This allows you to work fast and not feel bad if you end up not liking the piece.
  • Have a start and end date. One month doesn't seem so daunting and by the end of the month you often find you've exhausted the idea.
  • No set quantity. Some people do lots and lots, some people do a few but you're respecting your work patterns and not setting yourself up for disappointment.

Artwork by Emily Payne (left)  and Ernest Jolly (right).
I am hoping you'll join me on this month's project and help me hash out a theme. I will set up an email list so we can share ideas back and forth as needed and hope you'll post your work on your blog to spread the creative vibe. I will create blog/website links for everyone to share. Now, ideas! I would love to hear some of yours. I have a long list but two that come to my mind are: coaster (as in the ones pictured above from Neest) and the word through. Let's hear yours!

Here are links to the artists pictured above: Jantze Tullett, Masami Akasuka, Emily Payne and Ernest Jolly.


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