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Lyrical Images, Shifting Patterns and Colliding Colors

March 12, 2018

Last weekend students joined me to experience 25 Ways to Create Art Fabric. You may want to know what the phrase Art Fabric means. To me, it is the transformation of fabric or papers with lyrical images, shifting patterns, and/or colliding colors. They can be childish, serious, dramatic, simple or complex! Working with the properties of natural materials like water and color (fabric paint), we had endless possibilities painting and manipulating small creations.  All we needed was some pieces of plastic, items to make resists, a variety of white fabric types and fabric paint (not dye.)  We hit our target of 25 varied effects at the end of Day 1 and continued to build more complex colorings on Day 2.  It is powerful to be able to design our own fabrics.  They may be complete as they are, or more likely than not, they will be further designed into with hand or machine stitch. Let me know if you are interested in knowing the next time I teach this course.             Gail Harker

Exhibition at Social Fabric Gallery in Bellingham…Guest Blogger: Jane Clark

March 7, 2018

Threadcentricity, The Art of Embroidery, An Exhibition at Social Fabric Gallery, 1303 Commercial Street, Bellingham, Wa. 98225 March and April, 2018

Thread-obsessed friends and I have a new show at Social Fabric in Bellingham.  There are eight of us, and we call ourselves Threadcentricity. We met through a year-long class at Gail’s, studying Level 2 Design and Hand Stitch, which ended in early July, 2017.  We decided to continue to meet every couple of months, which has been very inspiring.  It has been fun to see how differently we use the same materials. I enjoy embellishing some of my pieces with beads of various sizes.  Two of my pieces in the show are chameleons that have stitching and beadwork.  I got my inspiration from watching a program on the Smithsonian Channel one evening.  There was a chameleon walking on the sand early in the morning, trying to warm up.  The side of him that was toward the sun was black, to absorb the warmth.  The other side was white, and I had an “aha” moment:  two sides, two different color schemes.  I did some research, looking at countless photos of chameleons and picked one, a Panther Chameleon, with a pattern that attracted me, and then chose the colors for each side.  I did the stitching first, then added beads where I thought they would highlight each piece.  It was fascinating to see the little critters evolve as I stitched them, and finally, adding the beads was even better.           Jane Clark


Two Kantha Covering Cloths….. Guest Blogger: Penny Peters

March 1, 2018

The two Kantha embroideries pictured here were probably intended as wrapping cloths or covers for valued household items.  They are both about 2.5 feet square, and though both use animal motifs, they have very different sensibilities. The first is worked in mostly red and blue threads to depict solid looking horses and elephants marching in rhythm around inside a border of red paisley motifs with legs (to look like birds?). The central motif is the traditional lotus design with the edge and internal borders worked in pattern darning.  The addition of scattered flowers and leaves adds a sense of spontaneity to the first piece.  The second kantha speaks of animals of a different sort.  These animals are outlined in almost naïve positions.  They are not solid forms. The embroiderer has used just a few running stitches within the figures which gives them a light playful appearance. They seem to scamper, posture and cavort around in their borders.  Note the four different peacocks in each corner of the central square.  The lotus motif in the center is depicted in a non-traditional way, and the borders are also lightly patterned. Both kanthas are charming, and I enjoy thinking about the effectiveness of each style.

All the photographs have been taken by Penny Peters at the Silver and Art Palace Textile Museum and Sales, Jaipur, India.

Angelia Alexander

February 17, 2018

Level 4 Experimental Research for Art and Advanced Design Open House / Exhibition Nov. 18, 2017 Class name: Coral

My interest in architecture began when I was in elementary school—by age 10 or so I was drawing designs for houses, and I thought architecture would be interesting work.  I became a biologist instead, but I was always fascinated by the connection between form and function in the molecules, structures, and systems of living organisms.  This theme has let me work with elements of form such as shape and line, color, and texture.  Balance, contrast, scale, and proportion apply to the repeating elements in buildings, in their rhythms.  I have learned that I love playing with color the most.  My approach has been broad, sometimes focusing on the shapes, patterns, and colors in whole buildings and, at other times, depicting the details of texture, line, and color in construction materials as seen at very close range.  My inspiration for specific pieces has come primarily from photographs I have taken during local and more distant travels.

The courses here at the studio have introduced me to a variety of methods for expressing what I see:  drawing, painting, stitch, paper-making, print-making, collage.  This has been a rich opportunity for me, especially since my last formal art course was in the eighth grade (in 1953)—a 60-year gap prior to my first course here in 2013.  I have worked primarily on paper and canvas through a variety of mediums.  I know I will continue to work in this way as well as apply what I have learned to making quilts, something I have been doing part-time for a few decades.  I thank Gail for her passion for both art and teaching and my colleagues in the courses I have taken for their friendship and inspiration.

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I Like to use Unexpected Colors and Texture … Guest Blogger: Christine Mahoney

February 13, 2018

Level 4 Experimental Research for Art and Advanced Design Open House / Exhibition Nov. 18, 2017 Class name: Coral

 I like to observe carefully and to think about things that really matter.  I am interested in how people see things they normally take for granted.  I would like my art to make a difference in how people see things.  So, I like to use unexpected colors and textures to make people stop and think a little more. 

Over the past two years, I spent a-lot of time looking at water and playing with color. I am interested in how water moves and how to show that movement through lines, textures and color. I love water as it is both energizing and calming to me. I try to capture these moods in my paintings. I feel like I have much more work to do with water.  I am grateful to have been part of the Coral group and for Gail.  What an amazing group of artists. Thank you for making me a better one.

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Photography and Printing – Patterns and Colours in Provence – Guest Blogger: Cathy Glover

February 7, 2018

Level 4 Experimental Research for Art and Advanced Design Open House / Exhibition Nov. 18, 2017 Class name: Coral

Over the past two years I have focused on textile surface design through block printing and digital photography.  As I have learned to digitally manipulate photographs together to create new patterns and designs,  I have built on the love I have of the colours and textures of Provence. My exploration of chintz and its emergence from a trade textile to the patterns we continue to see today, has helped me to appreciate the fluidity of design and the ways in which colour, line, pattern and textures can be incredibly complex within very limited constraints.  As someone who loves textiles it has been a wonderful journey that has lead to new collections of vintage fabrics, a ongoing appreciation of artists like Matisse, Monet and Van Gogh and the time to build a library of photographic images that will inspire my creative pursuits in the future.  I am thankful for the learning that has come from working with Gail and my fellow members of the Coral group as we have inspired one another. 

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Mother Nature’s Chapter on Geology – Guest Blogger: Ellen Anderson

January 24, 2018

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Level 4 Experimental Research for Art and Advanced Design Open House / Exhibition Nov. 18, 2017 Class name: Coral

Mother Nature’s Chapter on Geology tells the story of vast scales of time, substance and change manifested in lines, colors, shapes and textures.  These expressions and the processes that formed them have always piqued my interest.  This brief study of geologic features explores these elements.   Imagine the countless variations : hence a perpetually interesting subject for me. If it is designed by Nature, especially plants, landscapes or geologic features, it is fair game for my interpretations. I record by photo and sketch patterns, colors and textures that catch my eye. Recent works have moved into the third dimension and I am enjoying experimenting with textured gels and the variety of unusual materials I’ m trying. I look forward to progressing further with my new studies of elements of design. 


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