This week's blog was written by visual artist, Lea K. Tawd.
Before I know what I'm going to paint, I like to prepare my wooden "canvas" with some vivid colors. It makes the wood grain stand out, adds a beautiful background layer to the finished piece, and gives me some time to sit with the canvas and feel out where the imagery will begin.
Sometimes I am lucky enough to find my image right there in the shape of the wood grain. Other times I have to dig a little deeper.
The day I painted "Nine" a few years ago, I didn't have any choice. I had been thinking a lot about my 18-year-old cat, Maya. She was still affectionate, sweet, and relatively happy at the time, but she had a whole range of medical issues. I tried not to think so morbidly, but I couldn't help staring at her whenever I saw her sleeping at my feet just to make sure she was still breathing. The end was clearly near for my sweet little friend who had been my constant companion since I was a sophomore in college. I had never lost a pet in my own care to old age and I felt a little lost in what to do, and sad to think about it. I was trying to prepare myself for the inevitable and shield myself from it at the same time.
She lay heavily on my mind on that day in the studio. Headphones blaring my mind into meditative clarity, I began my ritual wood grain painting. I couldn't help noticing the jagged edge of the grain in clear cat-ear formation. It wasn't Maya, specifically, but it was a cat and it wasn't going away. Not wanting to feel so sad, I tried to push it out of my mind and find one of the peaceful women that I normally paint--anywhere--on that canvas, but none would show their face. I already know from experience that forcing an image never turns out well, and finally I had to admit defeat. I let the sadness crawl in, and the not-Maya show her face. She turned out to be a sort of spirit kitty, an every-kitty, with just the hint of wings on her shoulders.
Maybe this is who Maya is now in the next of her nine lives.
The original painting, "Nine," has been sold, but the print is currently available at Artistic Portland.
Stop by Artistic Portland to see Lea's amazing and soulful work. Artistic Portland is open Monday thru Saturday from 10 to 6 and on Sundays from 12 to 5.
This week's blog is brought to you by Fiber Arts Artist, Ammi Brooks of Ammi's Art.
I started dyeing silk scarves a few years ago. I must say that I am a novice and learned most of my lessons online. I will tell you a little of my processes and share some online videos for you to use and enjoy.
Since I live in small spaces I have found that using the microwave oven to dye works well for me. I bought one especially for dyeing. I’d like to share my favorite video with you that demonstrates the process of dyeing a scarf in a microwave oven using acid dyes.
I love the interplay of the dyes and the vinegar-soaked scarves. I recently started using Procion dyes because I wanted to dye bamboo socks with 6% spandex and the acid dyes wouldn’t take. Procion dyes did take and are non-toxic and do not have to be heated to make the dyes permanent, though you do have to use soda ash as a presoak.
After the scarf is dyed it is covered or placed into a plastic bag so that it will stay wet for 12-24 hours. Check out this reading material about using these dyes. I source all of my silk scarves, bamboo socks, and dyes from Dharma Trading Company in Northern California.
Another method to dye scarves is called ice dyeing! I tried this a few years back. It was fun but I felt I wasted too much dye. Here is a fun video about dyeing with ice!
This week's blog is brought to you by Lea McWhorter of Sophisticated Beads.
Some designers take their inspiration from their materials, some from current design trends. I am
Lea McWhorter of Sophisticated Beads, and I take my inspiration from the needs of others.
A friend’s breast cancer diagnosis got me started in 2005. I asked myself, “How can I help?” The answer was to create and sell jewelry with 10 percent of the proceeds going to 5 local cancer research organizations. That was how my business started 12 years ago. Below, is a photograph of one of the "Cancer Bracelets" that I lovingly create, with part of the proceeds benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Oregon and SW Washington Affiliate.
I design and work with Austrian Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, pearls, and sterling silver. I like to design with stones that have stories behind them. The materials I use in my designs are from all over the world so clients have unique pieces of jewelry with meaning.
I have been designing jewelry for the Rose Festival Court for 11 years and they have worn my designs for Queen Coronations, Grand Floral Parades and Knighting Ceremonies. I also create special pieces for weddings, special occasions and more.
Be sure to stop by Artistic Portland to see Lea's amazing creations up close! Artistic Portland is open 7 days a week! Monday-Saturday, 10-6 and on Sundays, 12-5.