Friday, August 29, 2008

DEMO! Sun Dress Reconstruction

Yup, it's time for another DEMO - this one inspired by a commitment I made a month ago to not buy any new clothes for six months! I'm really wanting to embrace a consume less, create more mentality . . . but I love clothes. And I buy a lot of them. Like this stretchy knit sun dress from Target.

And some of them don't work out. Cute in the store, cute in the dressing room, not so much later on. A little too much arm showing, and well, hard to wear a bra under. Which I, er, need. But the fabric is pretty cool. And I liked the neckline and the dropped waist. So, I started cutting it apart.

DEMO: Sundress Reconstruction

So, this sun dress became a shirt! Poof! New clothes without buying any new clothes.

First, I cut the skirt off.

Then I cut the skirt in half - giving me what would become the two full sleeve parts.

I took the bottom of the skirt half, and lined the hemmed end up with the armholes of the dress.

I pinned the dress bottom/sleeves to the dress straps and the body of the dress. I didn't stitch the sleeve into a tube because I wanted to allow for the stretch in the fabric and make sure the sleeve lined up with the arm straps.

And I stitched the sleeve down - and then overlapped the edges so I could sew the arm up later.

Here, I've got both of the sleeves sewn onto the body of the garment, and the sleeves pinned into proper tubes. I did a top stitch on the right side of the garment.

Here, you can see the seam - and the hem on the sleeves.

I stitched the hem on the sleeves into a tube, and left a little slot open so that . . .

I could thread elastic through it! My favorite way to get elastic through a casing is to put a safety pin through the elastic and then use that to push through the casing.

Then I just tied the elastic in a square knot, and sealed up the casing.

Then I used a stitch ripper to take out the elastic that was putting gathers in the back of the dress.

Poof! It's a top! With sleeves!

And here I am! With upper arms fully covered - Phew! And I didn't have to buy a new shirt . . . one month down, five to go.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming up on the New Year . . .

I wrote in the newsletter that I sent out yesterday that fall feels like the New Year to me - it's when I get all fired up again about projects, when I make resolutions, and dive into my to-do list with new vigor. Heck, even getting the newsletter out was a big deal. I just switched from using my web host's newsletter tool over at 1&1, which was great, to Constant Contact, which has a few more bells and whistles. Even though it's template-based, there's still a learning curve. But I got the newsletter out last night (only ten days later than my goal date!) and it looks pretty good.

It's part of my preparation for what's going to be happening shortly after the beginning of the "real" new year - I'm doing one more gig for "the other side of my brain" in January and then I'm switching to art-making and teaching full time. Scare-y, but I've been moving towards this for a while, and I've been very inspired by my friends Linda and Judy. I've got plans in the works to give the website an overhaul, to finish the book for ArtMaking as Playful Prayer, and even to open an Etsy shop.

(and in the spirit of making and sharing art, here's a little eye candy - a drawer shrine I made using an old photo of me and images of my creative passions):

Of course, I'm not always so keen on the follow-through. I'm great at planning and coming up with oodles of ideas - not always so good at implementing them. I have to say, though, that my success rate has drastically improved since I finished grad school - I understand my own creative process a lot better, and I've developed some strategies to compensate for my weaknesses. I am much better at making things happen than I used to be!

And I'm going to be sharing what I've learned - if you're local, I'm going to be leading a workshop on "Creative Entrepreneurship" at the CubeSpace "Side Project to Startup" conference. I'll share what I know about the creative process, the blocks that entrepreneurs hit from conception through development to actualization, and provide some tips for moving through those blocks. And, my guess is, you'll get as much from your fellow attendees as you will from me! The goal of the conference is to serve as kind of an autumn kick-start, back-to-school, back-to-work, dive in and make it happen inspiration event with lots of networking. And it's free.

Free is pretty inspiring, eh?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Texture in Context

I finally got pictures of the actual pieces I worked on in the texture class, and thought it might be fun to share what the texture looks like in context . . .

I think the dots here help the little raised bit feel like it belongs on the background.

And this one doesn't feel finished yet - but it's almost like the wrinkles in the background become like veins or roots - especially if you consider them in the context of the heart. Maybe taking the veins and extending them to the edges?

I'm done with the work for the Other Side of My Brain for awhile, and I'm delighted - I'll get to spend some time in the studio, and updating my website and getting ready for fall classes. Not that I'm ready for fall, but I am ready to be back in the studio, applying some of this great stuff I've been learning!

And speaking of texture and learning stuff, check out this great tutorial from Sister Diane on How to Emboss a Metal Tin over at CraftStylish. She's also got a whole podcast on how to create faux punched tin and embossed metal looks with inexpensive materials. Talk about a tool to add to my texture arsenal . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Re-Raveling: Texture

Here's my final report from Art Unraveled, now that I've had a chance to fully re-ravel after the revelry . . . it's amazing how much being "on" for a week can take out of you! I took one more class, this time with Jacqueline Sullivan and this time all about creating textures with acrylics. We used cheesecloth, books, modeling paste, aluminum foil, tissue paper, and many secret techniques which I cannot reveal to you here, but which were a lot of fun. It felt like a good compliment to the exploring I've been doing in the book Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner.

This also makes me excited about ArtFest . . . I really got into some texture techniques there last year, and registration starts soon . . . I'm trying to figure out how to work in an abstract acrylic techniques class with Mary Beth Shaw and a class with Bee Shay . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Re-Raveling: Judy Wise

I also had the chance to take classes at Art Unraveled . . . I've been so loving encaustic that I jumped at the chance to take an encaustic collage class with Judy Wise . . . I'm always up for learning some new techniques. Judy Wise combines acrylic painting with wax and collage in a really wonderful way . . . her style reminds me of Chagall's world if it were peopled with angels and goddesses instead of goats and fiddlers . . . and she blogged about her Art Unraveled
here . . .

Here are the pieces I did: This first is acrylic over-painting on a vintage image, with wax and collage elements.

This second one is a clip art image of a heart that I turned into an octopus, combined with a clip art woman. Again, painted over and coated with wax and collage elements.

I can't say that I'm crazy about either one, but I learned a lot and got some great effects - and I have to admit I love the whole heart-as-octopus thing; I really want to try that again on a larger scale . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I just got back from Art Unraveled in Phoenix, Arizona. I was helping Linda Womack teach a few encaustic classes . . . and yeah, we both look a little spacey after traveling and teaching two classes and schlepping 107 pounds of stuff, but we had a great time! And we both got a chance to relax by the pool . . . no pictures of us in swimsuits, though . . . this picture is embarrassing enough!

Linda blogs about it here, and shares a lot of the art the students made. One of the best things about teaching is seeing students get excited and try new things . . . Linda did a bunch of demos (including an amazing thing with paper napkins) and I answered a lot of questions and played Vanna White with the art materials. Here's some of the awesome things the students made after only a few hours playing with the beeswax and collage materials . . .