Friday, May 28, 2010

Art trip from Ann Arbor to Lansing

Sherry and I spent a fun, inspiring day on an art journey from Ann Arbor to Lansing!

Motawi Tileworks 170 Enterprise Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 (734) 213-0017‎ They have Tours Thursdays at 11am

USArtQuest ’s Susan Pickering Rothamel, inspired us with great demos in mixed media. She will be at the Ann Arbor Quilt Show Sat-Sun, July 30 - August 1, 2010
Ann Arbor, Michigan .Her store is at 7800 Ann Arbor Road, Grass Lake, MI 49240 Phone: 1-800-766-0728

Delphi Glass 3380 East Jolly Road Lansing, MI 48910 (517) 394-4685‎
Enjoyed the colorful glass mosaic car at the colorful entrance of the store, and bought glass scraps by the pound for my mosaics. Sherry picked up her wonderful fiber and glass quilts which were exhibited there recently.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Cyber Hints:

Needlefelting: Do not move the fabric while the needles are down into the fabric. Move the needles faster than you do the fabric. Move slowly when going through thick layers.

Voice Quilt: Invite family and friends to call a toll-free number during a certain time period and leave a message for the milestone celebrant. They should share a special memory or talk about what the celebrant, eg my husband means to them, rather than to have 14 people sing Happy Birthday off-key. The Voice Quilt company sent an e-mail to me ever time someone recorded a message, so I could keep track, then organize the messages at the end in a sort of playlist, with an introduction and ending that I recorded myself. The Voice Quilt comes in a beautiful wooden box (of your choice), and like a music box, begins to play when opened. What a magical moment! The whole family sat rapt for 25 minutes, even the kids, while listening to the whole Voice Quilt and I had to go bring in the Kleenex box. My husband said it was the best gift he ever got in his whole life.
I hasten to add that I have no connection to this company whatsoever, and that they have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. Meg Cox

"Technique of the Week"

Fiberart International 2010 through August 22, 2010. Awesome Fiberart show in 2 locations: Society for Contemporary Crafts Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
wood quilts:

COFFEE FILTERS: Better than paper towels and a lot less expensive

Buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5.. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos.. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11.. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds.. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..

25. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.

Children projects suggested on the Quiltart list:

A make-it-and-take-it tie dye booth. All the dyes are made up ahead, work with each child to fold, pleat, etc. their shirt, add rubber bands (I use colored ones as an addition to color code whose shirt is whose, red for one, blue for another, red and blue for a third, etc.), soak for 15-20 min. in soda ash (long enough to play I spy or another art game) then put on color with squeeze bottles. I provide gloves and lend an apron. Each shirt is put in a gallon zipper bag to be taken home and washed several times the next day.

Kids also love designing shirts or pillowcases with the iron-on fabric crayons. Have them draw their design in thin paper, then use the crayons to color & outline on the BACK side of the paper. Teacher does all the ironing as each student finishes. Put old newspapers inside the shirt to keep the color from bleeding.

You can print on fabric with leaves or clean styrofoam meat trays with designs drawn into them with a blunt pencil or ball point pen (again, work backwards).If you use a light colored bandanna to print on, it is already hemmed!

You can also make a loom from a piece of stiff cardboard. Cut slits about a half inch apart on opposite sides to warp it.

Coffee filters and food coloring mixed with water is another idea. Bunch up the round coffee filters into fan shape (little finger in the middle, gather the rest around the edges, twist a pipe cleaner around the pointed center. Dip the filters into a saucer with colored water and you have lovely carnations (idea from the Internet).

Wrap pipe cleaners around pencils

Art classes to 5-12 year olds. Keep it fun. Don't avoid messy. Ask each kid to bring in an old oversized shirt for their smock and have them paint it/decorate it and keep it after the class series end. You might consider going to a thrift shop and buy some extra shirts in case a kid doesn't have one.

My local Arts & Humanities council has two "art academies" every year for the same age group, runs 5-6 consecutive Saturdays. It also provides scholarships for those who can't afford the classes. I donate money for these scholarships. At the conclusion, a showing and a 1? hour reception is held in the lobby of the auditorium. The parents, guardians, or aunts & uncles are asked to bring their artist for punch and cookies to see the childrens' Art. The paintings have been hung on screens and the pottery and other projects are displayed on tables. Lively music is also provided gratis by a local group.Talk to as many artists about their work. Their reaction is interesting because a stranger is taking an interest in them, their artwork and why they made it.

Sculpting is fun, with clay if you can fire it, or sculptey if you need to bake in the oven. The middle school art teacher here teaches some advanced art students (8th grade) stained glass. If these 13/14 yr olds can learn to respect all the danger involved with it, imagine what your kids can do. In some respects, I think kids will step up when they know they need to.I don't think it's out of line for kids to use an iron as long as you explain the dangers involved and supervise. I also think older kids can help younger ones.
They also do an abstract sculpture using heavy wire and attached to a base, then pull pantyhose over it and secure that then coat the whole thing in glue. Let it dry and paint it with acrylics. They go on to write how the piece makes them feel.
Something many have forgotten is how much fun making a picture with yarn and burlap was. Get a few tapestry needles (even plastic ones will work) and let them try embroidering on a big, simple scale.
Use old jars and enamel paint(the bottles have an E on the top) and making candle holders, or put wires on them and hang them in tress for the summer.. or decorate wine glasses for their parents. Go to the thrift stores for the glasses or fancy glass globes.

Take some fat quarters and start the rip for them. Let them finish the rip in 1 inch strips. Knot or gather one end of the strips together around a dowel, and they have a flag or banner they can run through the yard with, letting the fabric streamers float along behind.

Mod Podge fabric shapes onto mat board to create a picture. I taught fabric portraits using that technique in a two-hour class for 6-12 year-olds. With that extra hour, I had time for them to trace key elements of a picture they brought in (and we sized on the copier to fill the 8 x 10 mat), then cut them out, trace around fabric, cut it out arrange, etc They glued down the fabric initially with glue sticks and then we applied 2 coats of mod podge, leaving about 5-10 minutes in between the coats.

You could precut shapes and do a little abstract in just an hour. Use those 1" foam brushes to apply the mod podge. Bring a large supply of fabric, lots of different skin colors and fun prints for clothes. They learned a ton and produced amazing portraits.

Some mat board will bend when it gets wet from the mod podge; as it dries, it lies flat again.

Dip the ends of yarn in stiffener to make "needles" and teach needlepoint on rug canvas. Dip the night before to allow it to dry - or wrap the yarn in wide tape and trim it to make a point.

Simple kumihimo on the foam discs is possible. Braiding floss to make friendship bracelets is popular.

Punched cards or fun felt can make lacing projects possible. The cards could be decorated with paints. The fun felt can be decorated with glued embellishments.

Sun printing is a project that would take an hour but you have to have another project planned for the "waiting" to dry time.

Make a loom out of a flexible limb - tie the two ends together to make a loop or circle. Add limbs and tie them across the loop or circle. You might have to do these ahead of time. Then teach them over and under and around and around to make a sort of earth day dream catcher.

With this age group, you have to be ready for them to invent something completely new and embrace it as alternative art.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quotes of Steven Wright

If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the famous erudite scientist who once said.... "I woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates". His mind sees things differently than most of us do.Here are some of other gems:

1 - I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

2 - Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.

3 - Half the people you know are below average.

4 - 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5 - 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6 - A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

7 - A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

8 - If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain.

9 - All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.

10 - The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

11 - I almost had a psychic girlfriend... but she left me before we met.

12 - OK, so what's the speed of dark?

13 - How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

14 - If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

15 - Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

16 - When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

17 - Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

18 - Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.

19 - I intend to live forever... so far, so good.

20 - If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

21 - Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

22 - What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

23 - My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

24 - Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

25 - If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

26 - A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

27 - Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

28 - The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.

29 - To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

30 - The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

31 - The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

32 - The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.

33 - Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.