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Designing with Alcohol Inks

May 16, 2017

This week a group of 7 students from Canada and Washington came together at our studio for Session 7 of 8,  5 day sessions for Level 3 Studies in Art and Design. In session 7 we are completing projects, projecting new ones and have a little time to try out a new medium of alcohol ink on paper.  Not, of course drinkable alcohol but the fluid one that drips, spatters and runs without control on the translucent or transparent paper surface. We chase the ink around the paper with plastic spatulas and drip it on with pipettes to create spidery, bubbly shapes and patterns.  As you can see it’s very messy and has a life force of it’s own with colors that are not shy but very bold and saturated.  Thank you ladies (Gladiolas) for sharing a few exuberant pieces on our blog.  Have a look at our course brochure to see what else this group of art students are studying.   Gail Harker

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© Alana Koehler

P1060621Val1

© Val Gleeson

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© Gail Harker

P1060622Rhonda1

© Rhonda Papiernik

P1060606catherine

© Catherine Sloan

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© Marilyn Waite

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© Iris Bell

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Inks at work

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© Carol Lawrence

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challenging to visualize how to get beyond the ink drips

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working over ink with pens © Gail Harker

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© Gail Harker

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It starts out clean

Purring in Class is Allowed

May 6, 2017

In April the level 2 Group (Lisianthus) met for Studies in Design and Hand Stitch  for 5 days. This was the 4th of 5 sessions for 8 students.   Each session sees the introduction of new ways to design and use hand stitches in a contemporary way.  The group is finishing up samples from past sessions when they learned about Kantha stitches, designing and stitching on printed fabric and preparing to make a small handmade bead book. There is almost an audible purring noise while this group is stitching. For those of you who have worked creatively with your hands, you will understand how the body becomes calm, blood pressure drops and other wonderful things occur with the creative process.  Although, I wasn’t able to photograph all of the student’s work, I have included a few photos for you to see what they are doing. Thank you group – for photos of your colorful stitches.  Your enjoyment of stitch makes both Penny and I smile a lot.  I have included a link here so you can read about the next Level 2 class – Jade Flower that begins Sept. 21, 2017.    Gail Harker

Chikankari – The Floral White Work of India – Guest Blogger: Penny Peters

April 27, 2017

A story is told about the origins of Chikankari, the floral white work of India, that hundreds of years ago a Mughal emperor was scandalized because he could see the body of one of the women in his harem through her garment.  When the lady was asked to explain her immodesty, she showed that she was in fact covered in seven layers of embroidered gauzy white fabric.  Its sheerness was said to be so fine that even seven layers would not entirely hide the body.  Well, true or not, the story explains a lot about Chikankari, Indian white work done on the sheerest of handwoven cotton fabric called mul mul. However, the story goes that Chikankari became a favorite of the Mughal courts during the hot dry summer seasons.  According to Sheila Paine in her book Chikan Embroidery—The Floral Whitework of India, it was a craft practiced by Muslims primarily in the Dacca, Calcutta and Lucknow areas, and reached its peak of popularity in the 19th Century. 

When in Lucknow, I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Ruth Chakravarty who employs women to embroider colorful non- traditional textiles (silk, wool and cotton) using Chikankari motifs.  She kindly showed historical as well as modern examples of this beautiful work, and allowed me to photograph a few.  The photos I have included here illustrate both antique and modern examples of Chikankari.  In the modern examples at least three strands of embroidery floss are used, even on the sheerest fabric, thereby giving a great contrast in texture. 

Breathtaking Colors of Northwest Spring

April 14, 2017

Endless days of rain in April and dark skies make me yearn for something else.  I never quite know what that something is until the soft colors of spring begin to gently unfold upon the scene. I have been watching the leaves unfurling new green growth, the grass has never been as vibrant.   The moss  is startlingly lush and rich. The magnolias remain as tight as a fist until they all open about the same time.  Has it always been like this or am I more aware? I know that the tulips in the Skagit Valley are about to burst upon the scene this week and claim the glory of Spring.  But it is this slow deliberate awakening of Spring’s softer colors in the Northwest that makes this part of Washington so desirable.    Gail Harker     

Washington Surface Design Assc…. Fiber Fusion Exhibit at the Schack Art Center

April 7, 2017

On March 9th, a group of students, Penny Peters and I drove to Everett to see the Fiber Fusion Exhibit on the Opening Day. This was a perfect opportunity to go for a field trip – a chance to see how others work with textiles. We weren’t disappointed. Over 80 artists, of varied levels displayed their textiles. A few of them were our students or past students. There was an excitement in the air as visitors looked, asked questions and absorbed the color and design.  The Schack Art Center accommodates textiles so well. Such a good time to meet old friends and catch up with their activities while enjoying the artwork. This show is still on until April 15th so you still have a little time to see it at the Schack Art Center  .  Here are a few photos of exhibiting artwork from past or present students attending The Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts.  Thanks for allowing us to show your art.    Gail Harker

 

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Corona 1 ©Gwen Lowery – Gwen won the People’s Choice Award at the Schack

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Thank yous to all who participated and organized photo Ryan L. Holdridge

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a little food to provide even more interest

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“In Flight” Christina Fairly Erickson – machine embroidery, photo Ryan L. Holdridge

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Christina and Penny Peters  photo Ryan L. Holdridge

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© 1x1x1 Maura Donegan  – Machine Embroidery

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photographed from the 2nd floor gallery at the Schack Arts Center

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Marie Plakos, Gwen Lowery, Eric Hawley, and Gail

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Happier Days © Barbara Matthews

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Turquesa ©Virginia Turner

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Outburst ©Claire Jones, machine embroidery

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Gail, Christina and daughter and Barbara Mathews

Painted Birds of Taragarh Fort, Rajasthan, India…Guest Blogger: Penny Peters

April 2, 2017

When recently in India I visited an old Rajput Palace, crumbling now, which has remains of fresco painted walls and nooks.  The Taragarh Fort was built on a steep hillside overlooking the town of Bundi around 1354.  The small palace (Rani Mahal) inside the fort was added 1607-31 for the wives and concubines of the rulers. Inside the palace and now exposed to the air are lovely paintings on the plastered walls painted with mineral and plant based paints.  The paintings depict stories of Hindu gods, local festivals and deeds of the rulers.  There are intricate borders and repeat patterns framing the paintings. I was particularly struck by the lovely birds painted with simple brush strokes that were added as decorative elements. Although faded now, they depict native birds as well as some of the migratory birds that flock to the area in winter from Europe, Russia and China.  Also impressive was the Elephant Gate where rulers’ elephants would have entered with great ceremony with the lead elephant bearing a large metal drum beaten to announce the arrival.

Taragarh Fort above the town of Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Fort above the town of Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Elephant Gate, Taragarh Fort, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Elephant Gate, Taragarh Fort, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, IndiaTaragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh 2

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Palace, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

 

Ari Work from India…Guest blogger Penny Peters

March 19, 2017
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Embroidered shoes – image from Wandering Threads

Ari work is a time honored embroidery tradition in India, typically practiced by the Mochi caste of Gujarat, India.  The Mochis adopted the Muslim religion during Mughal times and belonged to a leather-working caste.  Leather work was done by men who used an ari hook to work lines of chain stitches on decorated leather shoes and slippers.  This work is still done today and can be found in the shoe shops that cater to locals and tourists.  I found a picture of these on the internet from Wandering Threads.  As tastes change there are fewer customers for embroidered shoes and skilled men look for other ways to practice their traditional art. When recently in India I found a group of Muslim men commissioned by Kamlanjni Design Studio (no website) to stitch beautiful ari shawls and wall hangings with silk thread for the upscale Indian home décor market. The men work on floor frames that hold large pieces of handwoven fabric, several men working on a single piece.  The designer has used traditional Mughal themes for the embroideries.  The stitchers work with one hand on top of the fabric and one below. The ari hook itself is like an awl with a tiny hook at the tip.  The thread is held beneath the fabric with the hand on top holding the hook.  The hook is pushed through the fabric catching the thread into a loop which is then drawn to the top. This action is repeated as the hook advances creating a line of tiny or long chain stitches.  In the work I  photographed, the tiny chain stitches are used as filling stitches in a variety of colors as the patterns dictate.  The colors and stitch patterns are radiant, and I am so happy that this beautiful stitch tradition has not been lost.

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Ari work in progress in New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl 1, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl 1, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail Ari Work Shawl 1, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl 1, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl 2, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl 2, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Wall Hanging, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Wall Hanging, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work wall hanging , Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work wall hanging, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work wall hanging, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Ari Work Shawl 3, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

Detail, Ari Work Shawl 3, Kamlanjni Design Studio, New Delhi, India

 

 

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