Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ornamental Petals Screen Embroidered Zipper Bag - Tutorial for Gwen Lafluer's Artist Tribe

I'm excited to introduce my first project for Gwen Lafluer's Artist Tribe. This is the first design team for me. Usually, I simply follow my instinct when creating. To be truthful, I did not do the steps in the most logical order, but I will walk you through my process. Feel free to adjust the steps.

The end result is a zippered pouch approximately 6" X 6.25". It is embellished with acrylic paint, embroidery and vintage buttons. The inspiration for this piece was Gwen's Ornamental Petals Screen stencil from her Ornamental collection produced by Stencil Girl. I love all the details. 

Recently I have been interested in adding more fabric into my artwork. The first piece I could find was a piece of pale, pink fabric covered with delicate roses. It was just the right size to print this luscious stencil

Printed twice, back to back, the piece was perfect to make a bag.  

At first, I thought it would be a drawstring bag, so I used artist tape to block off a space for the drawstring and added paint for a little extra. In the end, I decided it would be a zipper bag, so this part was trimmed off. 

Using the stencil as the pattern, the edges were embroidered using the backstitch in DMC floss 703.

While the green was taking shape, the circular patterns reminded me of vintage buttons I had in my button jars. The center buttons were a set of nine buttons that mimicked the decorative aspects of the stencil. Perfect! I needed eight buttons! I then decided to use a mix-matched set of smaller buttons. I found 32 buttons that were similar in style but added variety. 

Here is the full stretch with buttons attached. 

Taking a look at it, I determined that the details should be embroidered in a pale pink - DMC 618. The teardrop shapes were done in blanket stitch and lazy daisy stitch was used in the crevices. 

It was time to trim the edges and sew the piece into a bag! Hooray! Unfortunately, it was impossible to use my rotary cutter to trim up the edges. Having the buttons sewn on made the surface too unstable.  Using a quilting ruler and a fabric pencil I added a quarter inch mark on both sides and cut the line with sewing sheers. The top I left untrimmed until sewing the piece together.

Next came bias binding tape at the top. Once basted in place, the zipper was pinned on top. This zipper has been in my stash since 1970 so I am delighted that it found its way into a project at last. Look! It cost 45 cents. 

Once the zipper was secured, a chain stitch embroidered in green secure the layers together so they lay flatly.

Then sew up the sides for the finish! Wait a minute, how could we skimp on details? The zipper pull deserves a little love. So that ninth button in the set? Together with a mother of pearl button and a couple of large jump rings, this zipper pull is charming it!

Here's another view of the finished product!

For this first project, I used only one of the many wonderful materials that I received from Gwen. In the photo below you can see a hint of some of the materials that will show up in some of my future projects. I can't wait to show them all to you. 

Don't want to wait for me? I don't blame you. You can head over to her shop where she is having an end of the season sale going on.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reconciling Feedback in Writing About Your Art

After writing my artist statement I asked two people to give me feedback. I'd like to thank Cindi Huss and Tracy Woodsford  for taking a look at my statement!

You may remember that I stated I was feeling a bit vulnerable sending the statement to them. Having received their feedback I am so glad I did not skip this step! The feedback I received was very helpful. The fact that they both identified the same area as problematic was a bonus. 

So if the same area is one that is identified by multiple people, you can be pretty sure that the wording is not as clear as it seemed to you as you sat at your keyboard to write. In my case, I had gone a little overboard with the descriptors. Just wanted everyone to know how many elements go into my work.  I'm enthusiastic, you know? Still, that was an obvious place to chisel. My exuberance made for confusion.  

Cindi also informed me that I was using the passive voice. Who, me? Looking back I found it was so. So that was also addressed. Oh no, there I am again being passive. 

Ok, if I must be actively telling my story, I will have to tell you that Cindi rewrote the statement in the active voice. I tweaked it. This is how it really goes, friends. We live in community. To be the best we can be we must reach out. Sometimes that means supporting others. Sometimes it means gratefully accepting the help that is given us. 

I hope that this series of articles on writing about your art has been helpful. I feel finished with the topic at this time, so will not continue writing on a weekly basis. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for joining me as I muse about writing for art. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Artist Tribe at Gwen Lafleur Studios

I have some very exciting news! I have been selected to be a member of Gwen Lafluer's Creative Team. 

I love Gwen's art. It is full of luscious detail. When I saw the call for creative team members I discovered her shop - full of texture and color from many parts of the world. It spoke to me so I sent in my application. I am humbled and honored to be part of this team of talented women. You can see the whole announcement by clicking on the photo above.

I am very excited to have the opportunity of creating new works featuring these products, being inspired by the team and sharing this joy with you. I will be posting here on the blog, on my new Facebook page (Lynda Shoup Mixed Media Artist), Instagram and on Pinterest. I hope you will join me.

Feedback and Then What?

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

Last week I sent my artist's statement out for feedback. It was a moment of vulnerability for me. I think it is for everyone, at least the first few times they do it. There is so much that goes into our work. I don't know about you, but it certainly worried me whether my statement would reflect that.

I did receive thoughtful and interesting feedback. It was clear that the two people I shared my statement with both took great care in giving the feedback. They both showed that they had given it more than a cursory glance. I am very humbled and grateful.

Once we receive feedback it is hard to know how to process it. My plan is to sit down with my statement, both of the sets of feedback and a red pen. There will be caffeine involved (though I dare say you may think me boring that it will be tea and not coffee.) These two dear people have spent their time thinking about my writing. I will certainly give them the same respect. Why haven't I done it yet? Well, like I said, I plan to give it the level of attention it deserves. Perhaps in the process, I will understand what I am trying to do more fully.

So next Wednesday I plan to post the final post in this series, at least for a while. I will post more about writing about art as there is subject or need, but for my ramblings on this topic seem to be fulfilled. If you read more, please leave me a comment with the topic you would like to read more about. Has this series been interesting or helpful to you? Is there anything else you would like to read about? Want to just say hi? The comments section below is waiting for you. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Test - Sharing Your Writing

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

So you write that artist statement, that biographical material, the descriptions of your pieces, or whatever it may be. At some point, you have to stop writing and put it to the test. This isn't easy. 

We're a little too close to our work. Too close to the process, never mind the product. So sometimes we can't be objective. 

Or, like me, we worry. We overthink every sentence. Wonder if we can really claim what we have written. 

Am I right? 

In writing my own artist statement I fell into danger of being always in the state of becoming and never arriving. 

It is time. 

The advice I have read over and over is have other people read your statement and judge give feedback. As a school library teacher, we called this "peer review". 

There are several things that can happen. Your reviewer can affirm you. Your reviewer can ask for clarification. Your reviewer can see something they didn't before. Your reviewer can also tell you if your statement doesn't match what they experience looking at your work. It's all good. 

So this week, I have put my statement out into the world and await feedback. It's a vulnerable state to be in. It's also exciting because it means forward motion. 

Shoup, Lynda Diane. The Path of Enlightenment. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.
I'll let you know how it goes. 

Have you written about your art? How do you feel about that finished product? Did you ask for feedback before finalizing your statement? Let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mono Print Origami Boxes

If you love mono-printing, and what's not to love, you may face a dilemma about what to do with all that luscious paper you made. You can use it in your art journals, on canvas, to make cards and so on. You know this, but perhaps, like me, you see more potential. 

Enter mono-prints as origami paper. Origami can be done will a variety of papers, not simply the ones you buy in packs. The two main things about the paper you use for origami are: 

1. It needs to be able to take a sharp crease. 
2. It needs to be able to hold up to a lot of creasing. 

While it is very popular to print on deli paper or tissue paper, these are not an ideal paper for origami. They just don't hold up to the folding. Something the weight of copy paper is actually best. 

While origami can be done with many different shapes of paper, the most common shape used is the square. To accomplish the square, I used my Fiskar's paper cutter. My paper with 5" wide, so I cut it to be a 5" square. 

I wanted to make the most of the color on the page, so I auditioned the best section I could get and shaved off each side to get the most interesting square. 

Here I have a stack of interesting squares. 

I am not going to give step by step directions for folding the box. I always use the style from Tomoko Fuse's book Origami Boxes. Full disclosure, I worked for Japan Publications Trading Company in the 1990s as a copy editor and translator. I have a fondness for this particular book because of the wonderful projects, but also because they actually paid me to fold all the boxes to see if the directions were understandable! 

If you are interested in the book, it is available through Amazon. A quick search of my state's library catalog shows that this book and many other of her books are available through interlibrary loan. Any book showing how to make origami boxes will work for you. Some of them use just two pieces - one each for top and bottom. Some require six or eight or even ten papers! 

Once I folded each of the six papers required for this style box, I sorted them into top and bottom. Find the best combination of colors. 

Connect the pieces. Here is what the pieces look like from above. 

This view shows how lovely the inside of the boxes is. 

Put the pieces together. This is a view of how the top and bottom coordinate. 

Notice how each side looks different. 

I like to rotate them to find the most pleasing combinations.

View from the bottom.

Finished box. It is lovely simply as decoration. I love to use these boxes as gift wrap. 

If you try this, I would love to see what you make. Leave a comment and a link so I can visit your creations. 

What do you do with your mono-prints? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Connection Between the Work and the Words

Shoup, Lynda Diane. Work in Progress. 2017, Private Collection of the Artist.

One of the concepts that struck me when reading about writing an Artist’s Statement is the discrepancy between what the artist wants to achieve and the actual artwork itself. I have seen the opinion voiced that a statement that promises the world paired with art that doesn’t deliver is one of the most disappointing statement fails. 

So, what to do about that? 

Clearly we all want to achieve great things. Some of us may be able to articulate those lofty ideals. What about that work, though?

On a personal level, after letting my statement ferment for a few weeks, I revisited my writing. I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t like what I saw. Time to tear it apart and revamp, rework and possibly start over from step one. 

While the writing needs tweaking, it’s not just the writing. The connection between the work and the words needs to be stronger, more compatible. Does my internal dialog translate to a visual state? 

Below is a list of questions I’m asking myself as I explore the connections.

How have you found the work of writing your artist statement?