Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Calgary Public Library:Meet the Maker Sessions

The Calgary Public Library is offering a number of “Meet the Makers” events over the next six weeks and Jan and I have been invited to lead two of the sessions.
These sessions are a chance for library patrons to meet us and for you to learn a new skill with these easy make-and-take projects.
No registration is required and all supplies are provided.
Our sessions are:
Recycled Jean Journals: Monday, November 24th from 1 – 3 PM at the Central Library downtown
Wire and Bead Pendant: Monday, December 15th from 1 – 3 PM at the Central Library downtown

We hope to see you there and we’ll be back in 2015 at the Saturday Arts Club at the Central Library with 4 new projects!
Recycled Jeans Journals

Monday, 17 November 2014

FOG Tuesday Collage Exercise

We’re nearing the end of our exploration of the Elements and Principles of Design with our look at Balance and Symmetry.

Balance can be achieved in an art piece using any number of the following criteria:

·          position - an element further from centre is heavier
·          texture - complex texture has visually more weight
·          value - darker is heavier
·          quantity - multiple small objects balance one larger object
·          size - larger appears visually weightier
·          shape - simple shapes are lighter than more complex shapes
·          colour - brighter and more intense colours are visually heavier
·          isolation - an isolated elements has more weight
·          value contrast - the higher the contrast the more weight
·          orientation - diagonal orientation is heavier than vertical or horizontal orientation
Warm Up Collage

Design Principle - Balance and Symmetry
Symmetry in a piece of art can take on a number of different forms:

·         Radial - elements radiate out from the centre
·         Symmetrical - reversing the design, or having elements of equal weight along the vertical or horizontal axis
·         Asymmetrical - considering the influences above, balance is achieved using disparate elements
·         Crystallographic - allover pattern, repeating elements like a quilt
·         Unbalanced - can be specifically used to create a disturbing or uncomfortable effect

Saturday, 18 October 2014

FOG Tuesday – Creating with Crayola™

Ive said this before when discussing our FOG Tuesday activities, but it bears repeating, Who knew that a group of women could have so much fun for an entire day...with a shiny new pack of Crayola crayons, some fabric, paper, heat guns, rubbing plates and more? Well we were those women last Tuesday at FOG.

It started with a short show and tell of some things that Jan and I had tried before the session and ended the day with a myriad of brightly coloured and very creative pieces, some requiring some additional embellishments, and some nothing more.

Methods seemed to group into direct application of crayon to surfaces, or the application of the crayon to a surface that was then transferred to another surface.

Sandpaper Transfer
A technique that has been around for some time, though new to me, was to draw images onto sandpaper with the crayons and then heat transfer to another surface, in this case fabric. Donna did a great piece and I think that the sandpaper image is a keeper as well. It was interesting to note that in some of the samples we tried before the session we found that the wax residue in fabric crayons tended to melt into the surrounding fabric causing a ghosting image, while the Crayola crayons did not.

Wax Paper and Melted Crayons

Diane and I attempted another tried-and-true application and that was to grate/break crayons onto folded wax paper and melt with an iron. These created stained glass type pieces that I think will work well as the front to cards or perhaps journal pages.

Coloured Fusible Web 
and Crayon Rubbing
Jan came up with an idea to colour the sticky side of fusible webbing with the crayons. She then put that piece over a rubbing plate, rubbed an image onto the fabric and then fused it to a piece of fabric. Her rubbing plates were from Scholar's Choice though similar ones can be purchased from Cedar Canyon Textiles

Shalinder did a piece based on this method and used punchinella to create some additional surface texture to her piece. The fabric she used had raised metallic motifs which added a lot to the overall effect.

This technique left the fabric with a nice hand which will make it great to use as a base for additional hand work, beading, embroidery etc.
Metallic Motif, Crayon Rubbing, Punchinella Design

Melted Wax and Mono-prints

Karen used her heat gun to melt crayons directly to some canvas and then pulled crayon mono-prints from the melted wax. 

I think that there will be more exploration of this technique by all of us.

Melting wax in a protective box.
Debbie utilized a box to melt broken crayons to a canvas and then stamped into the wax with a large red rubber stamp. Just a side note - if you are grating or breaking crayons to melt use a box to contain the bits as they are easily blown all over the place with your heat tool. (You can ask my sister if you dont believe me.)

If you are interested in a fun craft to do with your kids (or adults) Crayola now has a new set of crayons called Crayola Meltdown Art Set. Adult supervision required.

Sandpaper transfer and
Tsukineko Fabric Inks
Chris did a lovely fall themed piece using several painterly techniques, though the base piece started with a sandpaper transfer that you can just see below the surface.

We didnt reinvent the wheel, but we had a great time colouring it!

Until next time...Meredith and Jan

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

FOG Tuesday Collage Exercise

As usual our day started with our collage exercise using supplies on hand and creating a small collage in 30 minutes.

This month the Design Principle was Rhythm and Movement.

Warm Up Collages
Design Principle - Rhythm and Movement
Use of this principle allows the viewers eye to move around your piece.
For example, the colours of a piece can convey rhythm by making your eyes travel from one coloured component to another.
Lines can produce rhythm by implying movement. For example lines may be wavy, rippled or straight.
When elements are repeated, or arranged in a pattern, rhythm and movement is created in the art piece. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

FOG Tuesday – Silk and Wool Paper

FOG started the new season with a foray into paper made from a variety of fibres including silk and wool roving, silk cocoons, fire star and silk hankies. In addition we added moss, Angelina™ fibres, thread waste and anything else we could think of.

While there are many methods out there to make silk paper, we chose a simplified version which required hot boiled water, a container, netting or J Cloth™, a watered down medium and a bit of elbow grease. We used a variety of mediums including acrylic gel, semi gloss and matte, Jo Sonjas™ textile medium and good old fashioned Stiffy™.

The process begins.
While your kettle is boiling, lay down a piece of netting or J Cloth™ in your container and start laying on a layer of silk or wool fibres, carefully pulling from your roving a thin, wispy pieces. Once you have one layer, add some inclusions (if desired) and lay on another layer in a different direction. (This is very similar to the steps you would take if you are wet felting).

Once you have made your layer, place the other piece of netting or J Cloth™ on top and carefully add your boiling water with a spoon or sprayer.
(Pouring directly from the kettle may move your layers around, so use a light hand.)

This cat litter tray was perfect for the project.
Once it is saturated, press down with your hands or a brayer to ensure that all the fibres are sticking together. Roll the layer up and squeeze to remove as much of the water as you can.

Dip your roll into a 5 parts water/1 part medium, squishing it several times until saturated and then squeeze out as much as possible. Remove the top layer of netting or J Cloth™ to reveal your sheet of paper.

At this point, you can fold over the edges to create straight or firmer edges. Cover with netting (J Cloth™) again, roll up and re-dip into the medium mixture. Remove the layers of netting (J cloth™).

We are very lucky in Calgary to have Legacy Studios quite near to us to purchase many of the fibre related supplies that we used in these projects.

Lay to dry and then use as you please. These pieces can be run through a printer, hand or machine embellished with stitching or beading, cut into pieces for use in other projects or used as pages of a journal.

Several of Jan's pieces.
Left: Merino Silk, commercial stencils, spray inks.
Centre: Very thin piece of merino/silk blend paper, coloured with coffee,
mounted on freezer paper and run through an HP printer.
Right: Hand dyed silk tops.

Left: Silk paper with moss inclusion. Donna
Centre: Silk hankies with silk fibre inclusion. Meredith
Right: Silk cocoons. Chris

FOG Tuesday Collage Exercise

This month’s collage exercise was based on the Design Principle – Unity and Variety.

It’s interesting the further we delve into Elements and Principles of Design that they all start to meld together. How cool is that?

Warm Up Collages
Design Principle - Unity and Variety
Unity creates harmony by using similar elements within the composition and placing them in a way that brings them together. For example, using all circles (unity), but varying the size (variety). Other examples to suggest unity would be the use of repeated colours, textures or patterns.

Variety adds interest by using additional elements within the composition. For example, varying the colour of the circles (variety) but keeping all the circles the same size (unity). Too much variety of elements may result in a busy composition.

The key to a great composition is to find just the right balance in your work using both unity and variety to their best advantage. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Serendipitous Opportunities For Creativity

Recently on our evening news there was a short story about a local charitable organization called Art à la Carte which has been operating in Calgary for 20 years. Their mandate is to “bring art, conversation, and joy to long-term patients by transforming sterile hospital rooms and treatment areas into places of greater comfort and hope.” (From the Art à la Carte website.)

A very few short days later we were contacted by one of their coordinators asking if the Fibre Optics Group would be interested in providing some backless hospital gowns to be used as table décor for their annual fundraising event in September. It was a serendipitous moment that had to be acted upon.

I suppose that I must have made clothes for my dolls growing up but it was my mom who provided my sisters and me with wonderful hand knit sweaters and hand sewn clothes for our dolls. Later in her life she rescued, cleaned, repaired and clothed dolls each year to donate to the Kelowna Firemen’s charity to be given to children at Christmas.

Hospital Couture

Making the hospital gowns for the Gowns without Bounds event in September was a neat way to remember that significant detail about my mom and her life.

Jan and I tied the last bow today and they are ready for delivery.

Visit Art à la Carte’s website to learn more about their programs, how you can donate or volunteer.