Friday, March 28, 2014

Experimental Glass

Lately, I've been on a process kick: enhancing existing skill sets as well as learning new ones. Well, thanks to my friend Janet, a very talented glass artist, I am learning the ways of "the melt". Needless to say, working with glass is very different from my usual creative endeavors. You see I'm kind of a control freak, so whether I'm crocheting, weaving, painting or sewing I tend to spend hours laboring over minutiae. The only process I undertake on a regular basis that is not steeped in anal retention is spinning. And even spinning is not as free and intuitive as I have found glass to be (in the TWO times that I've explored the medium in Janet's studio/home). I'm not exactly an expert, but I am definitely on my way to becoming an enthusiast! Here are the results of my glassy tinkering so far (see below).

 A few glass tiles (these are all approximately 2-2.5" square)...

The firings vary a bit as the two tiles above are more "melty" looking than the one's below.

The one below is my favorite tile yet. Janet is going to show me how to make a metal setting for this one. Yay!

I also made a few pendants...

Overall, I really like the immediacy of this process. I can throw together some simple compositions and watch them magically transform in the kiln. It's so gratifying! I also really love the depth of color in the glass itself. I have so many ideas dancing about my head for possible uses of glass in my textile work. Can you say glass buttons???

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Monstrous Flower Brooch

I was thinking about the little paintings I've been doing and how I they are really meant to be studies for future 3D explorations. As such, I pulled out my bin of felt and pair of shears and got crackin'...

Methinks there's some potential here. I added a bit of embroidery which served to add detail and keep the layers together.

Then, I sewed a brooch pin on the back of the flower for fun. All in all the flower took me a few hours to make from start to finish. Don't know that I will make loads of these, but the process was definitely a jumping off point for other experiments. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Small Paintings

I have begun painting again (by again I mean this is something I have endeavored to do periodically from the time I could hold a brush in hand and make marks). The pieces I'm working on currently are small (4x4"), painted sketches really. I use them to work out ideas, play with color and satisfy my need to make something and finish it in one evening (not a usual practice for one who is constantly enveloped in long and arduous projects).

These are my monstrous flowers. I was even thinking that it might be really cool to crochet a few of them in thread and show them side by side. Who knows how long this idea will remain viable in my mind's eye.

I figured I make these until I get sick of making them, as is my way. We will not discuss how many piles of dormant projects I have laying around the studio!

Happy Thursday, Kids! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Playin' with Plastic!

I've been playing with a new material. This one is not, however, fiber-related. It is, alternatively, a child-related polymer product. Oh yes, I have discovered the joy of Perler Beads! If I'd had these as a kid, I would have never left the house. Seriously, since I opened the packages containing my new toy, I have spent many, many hours at my work table putting beads to boards. Totally addictive. Totally. In fact, I may have ordered 30,000 more beads yesterday in a fit of panic when I noticed that I am running low on certain colors. Uh, yeah, that's the way I roll.

Anyway, let me show you what I've been playing at.... 

I've been making fantastic plastic jewelry! So much fun! The pic above shows a few other non-plastic related jewelry items as well. What can I say, when I entered the jump ring stage of the program, I just started affixing them to a few of my extra findings too.

Now, back to the plastic! I made a bunch of pendants: chevrons; circles; squares and squiggly doohickeys.

The squares are so 80's. I love them!

Here's a closeup of the circles:

I love the way the beads transformed in to a swath of melted plastic. I really ironed the hell out of 'em though. I wanted to see how far I could take the melt. These circles are my most successful example of over-ironed Perlers.

I also made statement rings and earrings to match the square pendants...

And I generally played around with shapes and such. Experimentation is the spice of life!

The lightening boats are growing on me, as is the ship's wheel. I put pin backs on all of these with the assistance of my trusty tube of E6000 (best adhesive around for this type of job). In addition to the plastic gems, I also affixed a few bugs charms, tin hearts and one of my crocheted feathers to ribbon necklaces. Finally, I fixed the chain on my beloved cloud necklace (which broke on my last road trip between Christmas and New Year's). 

Lots fun products to show for my efforts! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Small Works: Angeles Crest

Now that I've decided to resurrect Monster Crochet, which for all intensive purposes is mostly yarn related, I think I will make my namesake blog all about my other creative pursuits (varied and vast...uh, because I have the attention span of a gnat). As such, lately, I've been putting brush to paper! Yes my friends, why let the expensive art education that I'll be paying for until death do us part go to waste? It's time to wipe the dust of those skills and get reacquainted.
I  am a person who spends a lot of her life on the road (planes, the occasional train and automobiles) and when out and about I take tons of pics. Recently, I decided to make little mixed media works inspired by all the places/landscapes I've discovered. The little paintings above (each one is 3x5") make up the second triptych I've completed based upon my travels around my native SoCal (these happen to be from a motorcycle ride that Steve and I took along Angeles Crest of our favorite jaunts). I used a variety of mediums on each piece: watercolor; oil pastel; calligraphy ink and graphite. I tend to work on several of these at once, a little bit here and a little bit there (very gnat-like). Eventually, after incessantly picking at the individual pieces, I come up with images that I feel are finished. It's a satisfying endeavor to be sure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

That 70's Shawl: First Movement

So, although I've been silent lately, I have, nonetheless, been creating. In fact, I am working on two eBooks filled cover to cover with quirky crochet patterns, loads of one-off patterns as well as lots of paintings and drawings (revisiting my existence as a visual artist). Literally, I am having a personal creative renaissance as I haven't been this productive in years (and that's saying something because I'm generally pretty productive, even during life's darkest times). At any rate, I realized that while enveloped in my creative fervor, I have simultaneously been depriving the world of my nutty design sensibilities due to my state of quiet. However, I just felt like I needed to sequester myself away for awhile in order to allow myself the freedom to make lots of stuff far from the eyes and opinions of others. This "girl in the crocheted bubble" state of being has been very different from my traditional processes of making, as I was trained in art school where pretty much everyone saw everything I made everyday. So, holding up in my yarn cave felt a bit strange, but "right" by the same token. Anyway, I have pushed the skeins out of the way and I'm ready to show you all what I've been working on. As such, I bring you all the first version of what has now morphed into three versions of this delightful retro accessory I'm calling "That 70's Shawl":

Basically, I've turned those iconic 70's flower stickers we (we as in those of us alive and kicking in the 1970's) used to see plastered across the sides of VW buses into crocheted motifs.

While I'm not completely unhappy with the final result of the motifs and subsequent shawl, I don't LOVE it. Why, inquiring minds would like to know, do I not LOVE it? Okay, for starters I am not a fan of flower motifs that connect on four sides. Call me crazy, but I'm into hexagons, man (woman and child)! Give me six sides to connect away any day!

Uh, yeah, moving on. Second, the green leaf-like motifs are fine, but again, I'm not IN LOVE. Third, the edging bugs me. Just bugs me. So, in the end I blocked this puppy and threw it on my photography pile, knowing that I would take another stab at this effort another time (which I have completed). Stay tuned for the Second Movement of That 70's Shawl. I am blocking and photographing tonight...

Happy New Year, Peeps!