Thursday, April 9, 2015

Slow Art Day

 It is that time of year again.  Saturday April 11th is Slow Art Day, the global all-volunteer event with a singular mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.  Participants view a small number of selected works at the venue for 10 minutes each and then meet over lunch to talk about their experience. Interested?  195 international venues, including museums and galleries, are participating, and there might be one near you.

Why slow art?  It allows viewers to make new discoveries.  "The most important discovery they make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise)."  How refreshing that can be!

Learn more in this 2010 Art News article "Slow Down, You Look too Fast".

Monday, April 6, 2015

Welcome Spring and...

Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence.   
It is time for celebration not for lying low.

I hope your Easter and Passover celebrations were wonderful.  Happy to have spring here.  Sharing some views of my garden...


Amaryllis in bloom...

And from my friend's garden on Easter-



It had been 8 months since my Rosie passed, when I began to consider another cat.  Late in February, I adopted 13 month old Maya, from NKLA Pet Adoptions and Stray Cat Alliance (both organizations do wonderful work for animals).  The sweet girl, who was happy to be held at the center, proved to be quite shy.  It is taking her some time to get used to things.

cat Maya
A rare shot out in the open...

Maya lived on various shelves in the porch for the first month, before finally venturing out to the living room.. under the couch.

cat Maya
Peering out from the shelf...

Bit by bit she speaks up and comes out from hiding more often...  Maya has been sleeping for longer durations in one of the cat beds in the living room, even when people are about.  She watched me do yoga today.  We are making headway..

cat Maya
Woken from a nap...

She has become my guru for learning patience! So goes life with cats....

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Great Afternoon...

prayer flag workshop

It was unseasonably hot over the weekend, so it was a treat to be leading another Creative Circle prayer flag workshop near the beach at Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo's Threads of Awakening studio.  

prayer flag workshop

This group was particularly intent.  Quiet descended on the room as everyone got down to art making.  It is a joy for me to watch the process unfold as each unique individual voice begins to manifest on the fabric. 

prayer flag workshop
Aimee adds finishing touches..

prayer flag workshop
Nicola in process..

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop
Making circles...

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop

prayer flag workshop

Thank you to the lovely ladies for bringing energy and willingness to our playful day!  We are going to have another Creative Circle workshop here on August 8, 2015.  Come dive in for yourself!

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, 
and paints his own nature into his pictures.
~ Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Creative Circle

I will be leading another Creative Circle Prayer Flag workshop.  Come make a flag and see what you discover.  There are some spaces still open...

When:            March 15, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00pm    
Where:          Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio 
                        2810 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 201

                        Channel Islands Harbor
                        Oxnard, CA 93035 
Cost:              $65

Creative Circle Prayer Flags 
Join us at the wonderful Threads of Awakening studio!  Learn more here

Creative Circle Prayer Flag workshop

Creative Circle Prayer Flag workshop

Creative Circle Prayer Flag workshop

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shrinking Cloth

In process Linda A Miller
Fluid Fissure 2 (detail) in process
For some time I have been exploring a shrinking technique, using washing/drying of quilted fabric sandwich to enhance the artwork's texture.  The resulting shrinkage produces wonderful distortion, and often with a three dimensional surface.   I further embellish the piece with oil sticks, paint, water soluble crayons/pencils, foiling, applique, embroidery and/or couching... but those are subjects for another post. 

I begin the process by layering the quilt top with 100% wool felt as batting.  Sometimes the backing layer is added at this stage, however, my preference is to use only top and batting for washing. There is better distortion of the cloth without that backing layer.  Also, I like the cleaner finish that comes with adding the backing at the end.  

This sandwich is machine quilted.  The amount of stitching can determine how much shrinkage occurs.  The denser the stitching area, the less the quilt shrinks.   See example below from "Fluid Fissure 2"-
In process Linda A Miller
Fluid Fissure 2 (detail) shrinkage in process

As shown below, large gaps (up to approximately 2”) between stitching on "In Flux" created puffing of fabric as the felt backing contracted.  Try this yourself to see the difference.

In Flux (detail) Linda A. Miller 2014

After free motion quilting, the piece is washed in hot water and dried in the dryer, often more than once.  Warning - The felt does leave bearding on the surface to clean off.  Thanks to Karen Rips, I have recently begun to experiment with wool gauze.  “Molten”  began with the gauze.  It works well, and I will keep you posted as I continue playing with it.

Molten   © 2014 Linda A. Miller
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

I work both with whole cloth and/or pieces.  For example, several works in the “Striations” series started with two squares of black and lavender.  After washing, the two colors were stacked together and a curving line was cut across the middle. (Note: What shows in the photo below are the remaining halves.)  Top and bottom sections were appliqued with satin stitch, revealing a turquoise gap.

in process
in process

 Striations 2  © 2011 Linda A. Miller
Striations 2 
© 2011 Linda A. Miller

“Fluid Fissure” series was done in a similar manner, by free cutting the inner lines for water and appliqueing edges with satin stitch.

Fluid Fissure 4  © 2012 Linda A. Miller
Fluid Fissure 4 
© 2012 Linda A. Miller

Experiment with fabrics - “Serenity” is comprised of a variety cottons and brocades in the shrinkage areas.  

Serenity © 2014 Linda A. Miller
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

I thank Karen Rips and C. June Barnes.  It was due to their amazing work that my interest in this process began in 2010.  C. June Barnes’ book “Stitching to Dye in Quilt Art” is a great resource, as is her website.    Experiment for yourself!

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Drop by for a visit!

Friday, February 20, 2015

From Seeds...

I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
-Dawna Markova

In the garden this month, blooming heart geranium and freesias.



Knitting projects, from scarf on the needles with Madelinetosh yarn...


To completed....  Pattern here.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Seeing the Light

Elemental:  Seeing the Light exhibit is on at the Sturt Haaga Gallery in Descanso Gardens through April 5, 2015.  The exhibition curatorial committee decided to highlight various elements that relate to the garden, the current one on light.  Light is considered to be "the most fundamental and pervasive" element, yet also "the one of which we may be the least conscious..."

The artwork includes photography, drawing, painting and sculpture from artists Larry Bell,  Heather Carson, Soojung Park... to name only a few.

I was taken with Nancy Turner-Smith's limited edition book "Falling Rockets, Shooting Stars and the Sound of Bees"  She combines ephemeral manipulated images with delicate line drawing and thoughtful writing.  Read more in this review or on her website.

Pamela Burgess' "Radiant Blue" (96" x 96" x 28") site specific chiffon tapestry installation with existing steel arbor is playful and wonderful. See more photos on her website, with the piece shown in top row.  How about those impromptu light effects I captured in the photo below!

Radiant Blue by Pamela Burgess 2014
Radiant Blue by Pamela Burgess 2014

The gallery opened in 2011, and was new to me.   I had not realized so much time had passed since the last visit to Descanso.  An interesting feature of the gallery building is its rooftop garden, although no access is allowed there.  

Rooftop garden...
Rooftop garden...

It was a lovely warm day.  As we walked around other areas of  the vast gardens, camellias were still in full  bloom. Signs of spring were beginning to appear with daffodil and cherry blossoms, plus sprouting hyacinths.  Too early yet for tulips, which are usually spring showpieces .  We enjoyed our day.


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