Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guemes Island Art Journaling Retreat

Last weekend, we returned to Guemes Island for our quarterly art retreat at the red farmhouse. With inspiration from Penelope (checkout her new blog), I made this journal out of rosin paper (supplied by Michelle). The ends are covered with magazine strips and sewn with a coptic stitch (thanks to Celeste's help). The cover includes a 4x6 postcard of a sketch I did last summer.

The Red Farmhouse is a perfect spot for an art retreat. It sleeps nine comfortably, has a large well, equipped kitchen, one and half baths and a great room where all can work on two large dining tables stretched out end to end.
We relaxed outside under the trees, spay painted, made decorative papers and ate great food prepared by Gwen. Thanks to Catherine for organizing our retreat. Friends, art, sunshine, warmth and laughter- who could ask for anything more.
We took on a challenge to make an Art Journal Zine this fall. Penelope brought several of her zines that she received in a swap from Alma Stoller. Check out Alma's zine tutorial Here. I worked on my zine but all is top secret until our November swap.
The next post will feature my collaborative red journal.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spending Lazy Days with Friends in their Gardens

One of my favorite summer pastimes is spending lazy, warm days with friends in their gardens. Today, we sketched in Cynthia's garden full of lanterns, roses and pots full of geraniums, nasturtiums and pansies.

Last week, I visited Marianne and loved the time spent in her country garden- talking, reading, being outdoors, listening to bees, birdsong, and the chickens.

My friends tend wild gardens- richly planted with a variety of flowers, colors and foliage- a little unkempt like English cottage gardens. Their wildness and abundance touches some inner place in my soul- a Northwest "tropical" garden full of life and lush growth.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fabric Jewelry Ideas

Saturday, I took a class from Dawn Grunwald on making fabric jewelry. She shared a couple ideas that help make free motion machine stitching easier. First, use an embroidery hoop. It helps to give more control in moving the fabric. Use small stitch setting on machine. Move the hoop slowly with fast speed stitching. The results are smaller stitches and a better way to create your design.
She layers sheers over fabric, cuts the stitched forms out and makes a necklace. See how Alisa Burke takes a similar idea using M and J Trims here.
We also made pins with layer of reclaimed silk fabric, felt, a little needle felted yarn and a button on top.
For the pin back, we cut a piece of felt into a circle, made a couple slits to feed the pin back and glued the felt and pin back to the layered pin. It's a great idea and the pin back will not come off.
This makes me want to get out fabric scraps and play.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dream Catcher Garden Art

For a garden art exchange for our Portland Art Collective picnic, I made a dream catcher. It always fascinates me how a work of art evolves. My DH gave me a box of old lock parts and the shims caught my eye. I originally planned to make a wind chime. On one of our walks, I found a wire circle from an old hub cap and realized that I'd make a dream catcher (12½ inches in diameter).

I used the ball-peen hammer to dimple both sides of the stainless steel shims (3½ x 1½ inches). With a center punch, I indented the plate where I wanted to drill holes.

put on my "power tool hat" and drilled the holes

wired beads to each shim

and wired the shims together.

To make the dream catcher twirl in the wind, I attached a large fishing lure swivel. Voila- a dream catcher.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sketching at Hughes Water Gardens

Summer is here in the NW with sunshine and 90°F temperatures. Yesterday, we sketched at one of our favorite spots- Hughes Water Gardens off Stafford Road. Be sure to check out their website for their Waterlily Festival and Invitational Art Show. Artist will be in the garden Sunday July 25th and July 31st giving demonstrations. The leaves of the lotus above remind me of nasturtium leaves but many times larger.
Colorful pots line the garden paths
Hydrangeas bloom in a variety of colors
Statues and other garden art offer a surprise around every corner

Friday, July 2, 2010

Nihonmachi- A Lost Neighborhood

Last Saturday, I took a class with poet Kaia Sand to explore two of Portland's lost neighborhoods- Nihonmachi and Vanport. Readers may remember my interest in the Japanese
internment during WWII here.
It's been a long time since I've taken a writing class. We met at Floyd's Cafe in Old Town, did some practice writing exercises about place and old neighborhoods we remembered from our childhood and how they are different today.
We visited the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center to learn about Nihonmachi or Japantown in Portland. Then we walked to the Japanese American Historical Plaza at the north end of Water Front Park on the Willamette River. I wrote the poem below to honor this old neighborhood and its residents.

Nihonmachi- lost and revisited
A different, extinct place
No Kanji speak
No Issei
No friends' door stoop conversation
No stacked laundry bundles butcher-paper wrapped with family name
Where to live? No hotels only registered historic buildings
Where to bathe? No 20 cent bath houses
What to eat? No Teikoku Mercantile

April 28, 1942
Did you see the Exclusion Oder No. 26?
It changed everything
Silence, people gone, forced out

3,500 mandated to Portland Assembly Center
aka Pacific NW Livestock Exposition Pavilion
Where cattle stood days before
the stench, the rain, the exhaustion, the unknown dark fear

Gaman- accept what is with patience and dignity

We have to gaman
We have to gaman
We have to gaman

Crowded trains bound for Minidoka
A dry and arid landscape

We have to gaman

Persevere, be resourceful, make do
Create with what is here- scraps, found objects reinvented into beauty

We have to gaman
We have to gaman
We have to gaman