Saturday, February 28, 2009

As February 2009 Comes to a Close...

Rural Pennsylvania in late winter/early spring is just as beautiful as rural Pennsylvania at any other time of the year.

And a spring teaser, compliments of our granddaughter, who purchased a lovely spring bouquet this past week.

Last but not least, here's an update on the bird embroideries. First, my own photo (altered in Photoshop Elements to have a white background) and next, the thread selection with the completed embroidered Nuthatch.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Song Birds & More Coming to Life in My Studio

After playing around with the sewing machine and free-motion embroidery to create a few Raven postcards for the Raven/Poe challenge, I've found myself going through hundreds of my song bird photos with the idea in mind to free motion embroider them and create an entire series based on my photos & embroideries. So far, you've seen the "Raven/Nevermore" and "Raven by the Sea" created for the challenge. Tufted Titmouse has also been shared here in my blog. Here are some of my newest songbird embroidery creations.
Crow photo taken a few weeks ago on a snowy morning.

Two 4x6" pieces created using the photo above. One will be donated to
Fiberart for a Cause

Photo from my collection of a Blue Jay flying off my deck one snowy day. I've eliminated the background to focus only on the bird."Flying Blue Jay" c2009 Pat Dolan

"Raven By The Sea" c2009 Pat Dolan - donated to Fiberart for a Cause.

"Tufted Titmouse" 8x10" framed c2009 Pat Dolan

Update on My Artist of the Month Exhibit

The exhibit runs through February 28 at The Gallery Shop in Lemont, PA. The potter featured with me is Jason Bloom - his new salt glazing technique is wonderful~ For more details, see February 1, 2009 blog entry.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Wintry Drive through Central PA

Raven Postcard #2: Raven By The Sea

Raven by the Sea photo (8x10") above the Raven by the Sea postcard (4x6 or so)

There's one week left for those of us still interested in completing Raven postcards for the Edgar Allen Poe 200th birthday celebration. This is my second card and the inspiration comes from another of my Ireland 2007 photographs - this one is another Jackdaw, of the same tribe/family as Raven.
Sewing machine set-up with photo in plain view while I am sewing.

All embroidery sewing must be done with some type of stabilizer. For this one, I chose a tear-away which here is shown from the back of the embroidery being cut away, instead. You may not be able to tell in this photo, but the Raven is not fully free motion embroidered at this time. Only the basic sewing has been done, the rest will be completed after the landscape is finished.

After the tear-away is removed, a thin cotton/poly batting is added (with a touch of 505 Spray & Fix. The image is printed on organza and needs a stabilizer to maintain it's proper form without stretching. Now it's time to figure out how to represent the rock formations...

I decided to use the pebble fabric, but with the back side showing front. Then I used some dark gray/brown colored pencil to further subdue the fabric and make it recede into the landscape.

The rocks are free-motion embroidered, then the waves of the sea are embroidered from right to left in varying shades of blues and grays. Once the background has been completed, the Raven can then be completed.

Red Squirrel

One of the neighboring Red Squirrels has discovered our feeding tray and has become a daily visitor. In the sunshine, he looks as though he got dumped into the henna dye! Notice his skimpy tail and smaller size, as compared to his cousin, Gray Squirrel. Notice, too, his little feet. And isn't he/she magnificent?!

The next is a photos of one of our resident Gray Squirrels - who successfully fought Red Squirrel for top-squirrel on the feeder tray! If the two would actually sit together on the tray at the same time, one could easily see that Red is about half the size of Gray. Red's hair/fur looks much softer, and of course, gloriously red. Red's tail is scrawny, by comparison to Gray's, but still shows up as red even though it is less full-bodied (if tails can be said to be full-bodied or not!).

Look at these feet/paws!!! I think it would not be very nice to encounter those feet on a personal level...

I have noticed that the beautiful red color does not show up much on a cloudy day or when Red is in the shadows. But they are much smaller, so easy to identify. And their noise making is substantially different from Gray. Both can make a terrible racket when their ire has been raised.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Setting Up Day at the Gallery Shop

This little piece (roughly 10" square) is one of my favorite pieces. I decided it needed to be highlighted in some way, so I found a wonderful hand-dyed print in the same color family, stretched it over a stretched canvas, and secured it in place. It now stands out beautifully and goes with it's title: Orange Delight.

Much of the past week has been spent preparing for my status as one of "two featured artists of the month" at the Gallery Shop in Lemont, PA. Accompanying my 2-d fiberart work is the wonderful pottery of Jason Bloom, also a Gallery Shop member. He's been experimenting with salt glazing and the results are wonderful. I'll stop by the shop during the week and take photos of the complete set-up. But for now, I'm done and ready to celebrate Superbowl Sunday with a chocolate coke and some popcorn! I've posted a bit about this gallery previously and you can read more about it here.

There is also a Raven Postcard Challenge issued by members of the Quiltart Yahoo Group. The challenge is in honor of Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday. The deadline was January 31, but has been extended to February 15 due to the dreadful weather throughout so much of the country in the past few weeks. When I read about this challenge, I knew I wanted to participate since Ravens/Crows/Jackdaws are such powerfully symbolic & incredibly talented & smart birds. When in Ireland in 2007 exploring ancestral grave sites, I took the "perfect picture" for this challenge. It is printed on my HP Photosmart C8180 on a EQ's Printable Premium Cotton Injet Fabric Sheet. Then, using heavy weight Lutradur as the batting layer, I simply folded the printed cotton sheet in half over the Lutradur and heat set it into place.

Using black thread to outline the Jackdaw on the Celtic Cross gives just enough accent to an already powerful design. The satin stitch lettering provides imperfectly "perfect" lettering for the all-important word: Nevermore.

I posted the card on the Yahoo/Google group page yesterday - I hope to do a few more on this theme in the next two weeks since the deadline was extended and I have lots more ideas running around in my head and numerous photos from which to work!

This piece is also being donated to Virginia Speigel's Fiberart for a Cause - a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. As in years past, I have donated pieces to this particular fundraiser and am happy to use and share my talents for this cause.

A few entries ago I shared some photos printed on fabric that were on their way to becoming free-hand machine stitched embroideries. I completed the first one yesterday - well, completed is too strong a word, since I've only done the embroidery thus far. I have no particular plan for actually finishing this piece as an artwork, but it will one day graduate to that status. I'll keep you posted!
This is my set-up with the colored threads gathered together, the embroidery hoop, the photo print on the wall above the machine so I can reference it easily as I sew.