A Page from Sew Somerset

June 25th, 2012

Sewing is a joy and a skill that can be discovered, practiced, and honed at any age. I had the chance to catch up with Sunny Carvalho and Danielle Daniel, two of our artists featured in the current Summer ’12 issue of Sew Somerset.

In Sunny’s article, “Carrying Your Art” (p. 81), she describes the process of fashioning fabric panels from her paintings, and then assembling the panels into a piece of wearable handbag art. She began her sewing journey by watching her mother create her horse riding competition outfits from scratch, not without her share of swearing along the way (which Sunny found quite entertaining), and she recounts that her costumes were comprised of satin, fringe, pearl snaps, and appliqués. “You couldn’t exactly go out to Wal-Mart (which we didn’t even have at that time in my hometown) and buy these costumes!” she said.

She put her sewing expertise into effect when she began making porcelain dolls as a way to stay creative while bringing up her four children. “I have called myself an artist since childhood,” Sunny said, “but had no specific focus. When I became interested in porcelain, a whole new world opened up for me. I could now make these amazing creations that came from liquid. But guess what? They needed clothing!”

Sunny decided to buy an inexpensive sewing machine and dive head-on into the art. “I had to teach myself,” she said, “but I did learn, mostly by trial and error. Today I feel very confident in my abilities. I still find humor in my mother’s sewing experience and, strangely, I just told this story to my teenage daughters only a few days ago!”

Sunny, like other artists, admires the kind of art that one can create with needle and thread. “I never realized that sewing could be an art form before I became familiar with the magazine,” she said. “I am constantly amazed at the inventiveness of the contributing artists and their bravery and talent. I feel so blessed to have become a small part of this publication.”

Danielle Daniel is our cover artist for this issue, and recounts how she discovered her family lineage through her art in her article, “Little Stitched Truths” (p. 76). “Each painted and stitched face has become a way for me to ask questions, go deeper, and sit in a space of stillness where the truth can be heard,” she writes.

Danielle turned to Hollywood as her muse at an early age. “I’m not ashamed to admit that Molly Ringwald piqued my interest in sewing when I was but a teen,” she said. “Sixteen Candles made me want to sew my own clothes. But since then, my mémère has inspired my journey to create with thread. My grandmother never learned to read, but she consistently sewed three jackets for every one of her nine children; one for school, one for church, and one for playing outside. I remember hearing her sewing machine zipping through the night when I slept there as a girl. She mended aprons, night gowns, and tablecloths as I listened until sleep found me.”

Patience is not one of Danielle’s strong suits when it comes to sewing. “I’m one of those people who usually try to build it before even looking at the accompanied handout,” she said. “I’m not one to read instructions. This has everything to do with being impatient and it has always been my M.O., despite my husband’s pleas to first read, then build. This is the same way I approach sewing—no patterns, no rules. I go with the flow like many self-taught artists. I often make mistakes and use my seam ripper more than the average Joe. However, I have come to accept this about myself. It also allows for happy mistakes, which is when the creative magic happens.”

Danielle’s other love is painting, although she is glad that sewing gives her a welcome break from the brush. “[Sewing] allows me a creative freedom without harsh expectations,” she said. “It has become an important part of my artistic journey. Sew Somerset is a stunning magazine. It’s a welcomed addition to the sewing magazine world, because it is without fussy patterns and rules that make me feel like I’m in my eighth grade Home-Ec class, where perfection is the desired outcome. This magazine is filled with artistic projects that encourage you to create outside the box, to take chances, to mix medias, to paint with thread, to sing while you sew, and not fear the art form that so many of our grandmothers relied on to dress their children. I am beyond excited for my work to be on the cover of the summer publication!”

Her words of wisdom to aspiring sewing entrepreneurs: “Forget what your Home-Ec teacher told you, except ‘Don’t run with scissors’–that was good advice.”

For more insights into the creative world of these crafty ladies, please visit Sunny at sunnycarvalho.com and Danielle at danielledaniel.com.

Hop over here to get a glimpse of what you’ll find in this issue of Sew Somerset. Tell us your favorite spread in the comments below for a chance to win your own copy!*

Photo credits – Top: Danielle Daniel Middle: Sunny Carvalho Bottom: Danielle Daniel

 

*Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random. Deadline for entries is July 2, 2012.

Update: The winner of this contest is Elizabeth! Congratulations, Elizabeth. We will be in contact with you regarding the details of your prize. Thank you all for participating!



Sarah Textile Arts ,

Sewing is a joy and a skill that can be discovered, practiced, and honed at any age. I had the chance to catch up with Sunny Carvalho and Danielle Daniel, two of our artists featured in the current Summer ’12 issue of Sew Somerset. In Sunny’s article, “Carrying Your Art” (p. 81), she describes the […]

My Heart’s Affection: an ICE Resin Tutorial by Guest Artist Cat Kerr

June 21st, 2012

Today we have Cat Kerr joining us at Somerset Place, where she shares how to use ICE Resin to create beautiful works of wearable art.

I often discover new ideas for using ICE Resin by accident; my creative process never seems to go exactly as planned. As artists, we must decide what stays and what goes. It is in the mistakes that new inspiration can be found and used to our advantage.

This piece was inspired by one messy handler (me) who spilled and dripped thick lumps of resin as she attempted to fill a bezel. The beautiful, organic shapes found on my work table the next morning inspired this shapeless, free-flowing pendant.

Materials

ICE Resin
Popsicle stick and cups
Wax paper
Crochet trim
Shell frame or any frame
Assorted findings for the center
Text
Gold paint pen

Instructions

  1. Cut your trim to desired size and place on wax paper.
  2. Add your frame and assemble pendant components.
  3. Mix two equal parts resin and hardener. Stir with a Popsicle stick for two minutes.
  4. Carefully add resin to the center of your frame using the Popsicle stick.
  5. Pour the remaining resin over the rest of the pendant, allowing it to flow on and around your project.
  6. Add text.
  7. Let resin cure for 24 hours. Once cured, drill a small hole for the jump ring.
  8. Using the gold paint pen, color the edge of the resin.
  9. Attach necklace findings.
  10. Proudly wear your one-of-a-kind art piece!

Thank you for sharing this innovative tutorial, Cat! Cat Kerr is a mixed-media artist living in Central Florida with her husband and two children. She is part of the 2012 ICE Resin creative team and designs for ARTCHIX Studio. Her work has been seen in multiple publications and is currently featured in the Summer ’12 issues of Sew Somerset, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and Somerset Studio Gallery. To see more of her work, teaching schedule, and shops, visit her blog at http://inthelightofthemoon.blogspot.com.



Sarah How-To Project TutorialsJewelry Making ,,

Today we have Cat Kerr joining us at Somerset Place, where she shares how to use ICE Resin to create beautiful works of wearable art. I often discover new ideas for using ICE Resin by accident; my creative process never seems to go exactly as planned. As artists, we must decide what stays and what […]

Hot Summer Reading Picks from our Editors

June 18th, 2012

School’s out for summer, so now’s the time to get caught up on your extracurricular reading. Our expansive book collection features a variety of titles from artists and authors who infuse mixed-media art into their personal and professional lives. Check out what books are on our editors’ must-read summer lists.

Painted Pages
By Sarah Ahearn Bellemare

I’ve long admired the artwork of Sarah Ahearn Bellemare, and when her book, Painted Pages, came out, I couldn’t wait to read it! Sarah’s easy, breezy approach helps you hone in on your own unique style. She offers how-to techniques and creative prompts on using an artist’s sketchbook. She gently guides you to find your true artistic self and teaches you how to incorporate your creativity in a variety of ways. Sarah gives you a peek into her own personal process and shares tips and tricks along with lots of encouragement.

— Jana Holstein, Managing Editor

The Art of Personal Imagery
By Corey Moortgat

I absolutely love creating collages. There’s something about piecing together pictures, ephemera, and scraps of patterned paper that reflects who I am as an individual. When I saw Corey Moortgat’s book in our collection, I knew I had to flip through the pages. Each chapter describes different ways to personalize your collages using both trendy and original techniques. Corey invites her readers to explore their personal artistic style through this expressive art form. She encourages artists to experiment with different methods when altering mementos into keepsake art. Pick up this book if you want to try something new or just want to refresh your collage skills. This book provides an opportunity to learn how to capture those unforgettable moments and to discover a thing or two about yourself.

— Christine Stephens, Assistant Editor

The Artistic Mother
By Shona Cole

It’s a dilemma that plagues many artistic women – what happens to our creative energy once we become mothers? Oftentimes, amidst the all-encompassing needs of our children, our spouses, our friends, our jobs … there is little room left for ourselves. It’s easy to put creativity, and art, on the backburner when life gets busy. It’s easy to make the excuse that art is something we do for fun, and thus must be the first thing to go when hard work is required. Shona Cole debunks this misperception with her book The Artistic Mother. Art is not something we simply do for fun – art is the very thing that keeps an artistic mother sane. An artistic life is possible, even for the busy mother, and Shona will show you how. With her 12-week course, Shona shows mothers how to realistically bring art into their lives, in meaningful ways. She demonstrates 12 art projects that focus on the beauty of family, and includes personal essays from artistic mothers who make it work. You will also find a basic introduction to three forms of art: photography, mixed-media, and poetry. This book is a must-read for any mother looking to introduce art back into her life!

— Andrea Rangno, Managing Editor

And the Story Is Happening
By Sabrina Ward Harrison

Summer can be a time to add new books to your to-read list, but it can also be a time to re-read some of your favorites. I recently did an overhaul on my creative space and am finding myself spending a lot of time in there now. Sabrina Ward Harrison is one of my all-time favorite artists, and her book And the Story Is Happening is one of my favorite releases from the past year. It’s only natural that I’ve picked it up again to use as inspiration for my own artwork. I think if you pick up a copy of it, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and time again.

— Christen Olivarez, Editor-in-Chief

Art at the Speed of Life
By Pam Carriker

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with artist Pam Carriker on a number of projects, so I was eager to immerse myself in her book. Art at the Speed of Life addresses the very problem that I run into when trying to create art — finding the time! Each mixed-media art project in the book is not only stunning, but also easy to complete in no time at all. I especially liked the section on creating multiple art journal backgrounds ahead of time, as sometimes I find that completing a page from start to finish can be daunting. I was also delighted to read Pam’s tips on time management and staying inspired, which were just what I needed to start creating!

— Amber Demien, Managing Editor

 

Check out more of our inspiring summer reads On the Shelf. Which one is next on your list?



Sarah Uncategorized ,

School’s out for summer, so now’s the time to get caught up on your extracurricular reading. Our expansive book collection features a variety of titles from artists and authors who infuse mixed-media art into their personal and professional lives. Check out what books are on our editors’ must-read summer lists. Painted Pages By Sarah Ahearn […]

DIY Monoprint Note Cards

June 14th, 2012

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a printing press.

Materials

Gelli Arts gel plates
Craft sheet
Brayer
Decorative paper tape
SMASH date stamp

Instructions

  1. Begin by peeling the plastic layers off of the gel plate. Place the plate onto a nonstick craft sheet.
  2. Squirt acrylic paint onto the plate and spread with a brayer.
  3. Take desired tools or found objects and impress various designs into the plate.
  4. Lay a piece of white cardstock on the gel plate and press firmly. Gently peel back the cardstock to reveal your monoprint.
  5. Once the paint is dry, add strips of patterned tape. Stamp the date onto the cards with the SMASH stamp.

The key to this process is to have fun and experiment with different techniques. You might consider creating additional stamped layers with contrasting colors, or use multiple colors on the plate at a time. In addition to creating greeting cards, you can also use this monoprinting process to design your own fabric, add dimension to a canvas background, customize kitchen placemats, and more. For details on cleaning and storing gel plates, please visit The Shoppe.

Project and Photo by Vanessa Spencer

 



Sarah How-To Project Tutorials ,

Become an aspiring printing apprentice using everyday objects in your artwork. Make your own monoprint-style artist papers and turn them into gift wrap or stationery with the Gelli Arts gel plate. The surface of the gelatin plate is very sensitive, making it easy to create an imprint of your own unique design without requiring a […]

Dream Flowers: Mixed Media Collage with Guest Artist Caitlin Dundon

June 7th, 2012

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art.

I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their faces everywhere, I begin to dream of flowers, and they work their way into my art.

Creating a mixed-media collage is a wonderful way to make art. I find that it helps me tap into my creativity and quickly pulls me away from staring at a blank canvas or board. I often use floral patterned papers that are available at many scrapbook stores, mix in acrylic paint to add large areas of soft color, and embellish with the texture of household spackle, a rubber stamp, and a personal touch of handwriting.

Materials: decorative papers, scrap mat board, white tissue paper, acrylic paint, white gesso, white artist’s acrylic ink, old book pages, household spackle, soft gel medium, gloss varnish

Tools: heat gun, flat plastic putty knife, pointed pen holder with Nikko G metal nib, acrylic brushes, scissors, PITT artist pen, rubber stamp (with swirl pattern), sandpaper (medium grit and fine), small spray bottle or wet sponge.

Instructions

I started with an 8” square block of pine, ¾” thick – a piece of scrap wood that a local bookshelf maker sells in bags for a great price. Besides scrap pine boards, I also love artist panels made from plain unfinished birch plywood that have a more professional construction on back, so you can add hooks and wire to allow the piece to lie flat against the wall.

I like to work on wood for a variety of reasons – the surface can be sanded and water added without causing any warping that would happen on paper or mat board. I can paint and repaint over the surface if I decide I don’t like the finished piece. The surface can also be sanded extremely smooth for using calligraphy pens or markers later. The grain of wood often makes a nice addition to the pattern, and in addition, a weathered look can be achieved really easily with a little sanding.


My usual first step with most surfaces is to paint a coating of white gesso to prepare the surface. There’s just something more glowing about the acrylic paints when applied over a white surface. I don’t worry about the brush strokes, even painting in different directions with a smaller brush is fine – one quick coat will do, let it dry and after a light sanding, I am ready to start creating.

I love working with bits and pieces of text from old books. It almost doesn’t matter what book you use, since the pieces might be painted over so much that you don’t see the words, but in this case I wanted the black letters to show up as a form of texture. I start with soft gel medium and a small paint brush. I paint the spot where I am putting the pieces of torn paper and then quickly paint over the top, making sure to get all the edges. Working with small pieces makes it easier to keep from having spots of air or wrinkles. I love the texture of layering pieces on the wood and over each other. Sometimes I like to add just a little bit of dimension to a piece I am working on. In this case, I used several circles cut from thin cardboard or mat board.

One technique I love to do is tear white tissue paper into bits and pieces and adhere it with gel medium– even letting some pieces fold over each other. The transparency and absorbent quality of the tissue creates some interesting effects. I used layered tissue over the edges of the cut circles to soften them, creating a more rounded edge. I decided to add some color to my background “sky” using a blue acrylic paint mixed with some white paint, so it would appear behind the flowers. This is something I also could have done before adding my three circles.

I added a thin earthy yellow paint wash over both the torn bits of book papers with text as well as part of my sky. Adding washes like this adds more depth and variation of color that help tie the piece together. I also added a little touch of bright spring green paint to the “grass” – note how the edges of the bits of paper pick up more of the green. After cutting one leaf, I used it as a template to cut several so they’d be roughly the same size. You can see that before this point in the project, I imagined there to be three flowers, and I even started painting the middle one with white gesso for a different look, but as the piece came together I feel that it might have been a bit too busy. The advantage of painting on wood is that I was able to remove, paint over, and sand the spot where the third flower had been.

I felt that the piece still needed something. I scooped a small layer of household spackle on the right hand corner, spreading it with a small plastic trowel to be just thick enough to be able to rubber stamp into it. This is a process that works with plaster, spackle, joint compound, artist’s modeling paste – anything that starts out soft and then dries hard. These all have different effects and different drying times. I like spackle since it dries fast, but not as fast as plaster. Keep in mind that it is pink when applied and then turns white when dry. There’s about a half hour working time when you can decide if you want to redo your stamp. Get the stamp surface wet first by spraying it with water or squeeze out a sponge so the spackle doesn’t stick to it. I like to use a fingernail brush afterward to clean off any extra spackle that sticks to the stamp. After the spackle has dried, I brush it with a wash of the warm yellow paint and rub it with a cloth so it’s not too heavy.

The final step is to add my own handwriting. I used my pointed pen with white acrylic ink. Once fully dry, the whole piece is varnished with a gloss to protect it for many more springs to come.

ARTIST TIP: Working with a heat gun (the kind sold for rubber stamp embossing) can sometimes help speed up your processes. If you’ve got a good work and creative flow going, you can speed dry an area so you can proceed to the next step of painting a wash of color. But sometimes things like spackle or joint compound take some time to dry, so try working on another piece at the same time so you can alternate projects while one is drying.

Thank you for sharing this insightful project tutorial, Caitlin! Check out Caitlin’s “Family Tree” feature in the May/June 2012 issue of Somerset Studio. To see more of her artistic lettering projects, please visit her website www.oneheartstudio.com.

 



Sarah How-To Project TutorialsMixed-Media Art ,

We’re thrilled to welcome guest artist Caitlin Dundon to Somerset Place, where she showcases how to layer hand-drawn lettering with collage art. I am always inspired by nature, especially flowers. From the simplest one-color tulip to the most ornate passion flowers, they fascinate me. And in these wonderful days of spring, with flowers showing their […]