Thursday, July 11, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

You might have noticed that I stopped working on art the last few weeks.  The reason is that I started a personal project on the homefront and have gotten totally involved.  At one time I would have felt guilty.  But recently, I found out it was in my personality to get all fired up and one minded on a project and pretty much forget about everything else.  I'm not worried.  I'll get this latest obsession well on its way and return to my first love - quilting. 

Speaking of that....I leave for Quilting by the Lake this weekend.  Can't wait!!  I'm taking a class with Emily Richardson who I've always wanted to study under.  Its going to be a thoughtful, introspective class where we paint and then use the pieces we paint in a small project.  Ought to be interesting!

Thanks for hanging in there with me  - its much appreciated!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

Too Be Continued

I took the long weekend off to catch up on my creative self so I thought I would also write a proper blog post too.  But don't want to hold up Off the Wall Friday!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively? 
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Friday, June 28, 2019

Off the Wall Friday

Its been a terribly stressful time at work these last couple of weeks (which is NOT usual so I'm not used to it) I'm so mentally tired that I couldn't write a thing if I tried. So I think I'll just go to bed early and host this week! Thanks again for all the well wishes on my blogiversary!  See I'm so tired I'm making up words - grin!!

Hope you all had a more creative week.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

10th Anniversary Post...Social Media on Off the Wall Friday

My First Post ...Hand Dying 2009
Wow!!  If you had told me that I would have kept this blog up for 10 years, I would have said, NO WAY!  Have you met me?  I have the attention span of a squirrel! Still, I've always loved technology and maybe that's why the blog has stuck when so many - many - many creative journals have not.  Not to mention it's so much easier to keep at it when you know that you're not the only one your journal is helping!!

The photo that inspired my Header 2009
Over the years, my readership (LOL do I actually have a READERSHIP??  giggle) has been a huge blessing and encouragement.  I remember when I started my blog, I felt like I was kinda on this creative journey alone...which is fine....but like Dorothy can testify to, it's much easier to follow the yellow brick road with your friends with you.  (Hey I'm still holding out for that makeover at the Emerald City!)

Before I get too much off the path with this Oz analogy,  I  just want to say THANKS!!!  Thanks for reading, thanks for connecting on Off the Wall Fridays, thanks for the encouragement, thanks for the comments....thanks for keeping me working at my passion,

My First Outdoor Show 2009
Which brings me to another thing.  Because of this blog, I get all sorts of emails from all sorts of people around the world.  I'm always amazed that people actually read, I swear!  This week I got an email from Liz in Houston who had found me on Pinterest.  (That's another thing, I'm always amazed that people pin from this blog to Pinterest!)  She asked for my Instagram hashtag so she could link back to my Instagram account.

Instagram account???  I'm supposed to have an Instagram account??  Well apparently!!  Once I started thinking about it, I definitely think that Liz was onto something here.  Maybe it was time to expand my social media footprint.

Why Use Social Media for Your Creative Journey

My Sewing Hole  2009

  • Connection!  Well aduh!!  We all need to connect.  Before having my blog, I felt like I was a lone art quilter in a small town in Pennsylvania.  Now I've found my people.  We encourage each other;  We get each other when nobody else does!  "Social Media" is about the give and take between you AND your viewer!  What artist doesn't want THAT?
  • Create Your Brand!  OMG, I just got an Instagram account and now I need a BRAND?!?  Seriously?!  Well no, I'm choosing not to take it too seriously.  But what I mean in this context is that along with creating our artistic voice you should be able to share it with the world and people will connect it directly to you.  I mean really....why be an artist if you're not sharing your work???  Also, you never know where this journey will take you.  You might start out quilting, then teaching, then writing a book, being featured on TV shows and working with Jennifer Sampou.... Ask Jenny  - she'll tell you!!
  • Education!   Especially as art quilters we have a hard time conveying what we really do!  With social media, we can show exactly what we do and how we do it.  Education will lead to new followers and fans. It might even lead to a whole new generation of art quilters! 
  • The Real You!  You know when I first discovered art quilting, I thought that these amazing artists were just so talented that they could create something that I could not.  (And some are- LOL)  What we didn't see in the old days is the trials and all the hard work that goes behind a great piece.  In fact, we never really saw the REAL ARTIST  behind those luscious quilts.  With social media, the viewer can now connect to the person as well as the art.  I feel this breaks down a lot of barriers between the viewer and the artist and makes the pieces all that more accessible to the average Jane!
So if you haven't taken the plunge into the social media world, I hope this will encourage you to.  And if you are like me, and only stuck a little toe into the big pool .... you might want to at least get wet up to your knees!    Chose the one that's right for you - there is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube etc.

Tessa & I 2009

For now, you can find me here (of course!) and on Instagram under my new hashtag #piecefullyNina .  (Yeah, I was going to use #therealNinaMarie but I thought that was a bit too pretentious ....giggle)

Also, I am now going to start actively inviting Instagrammers to link up on Off the Wall Friday.  So if you know any artist that you think will fit the group and wants to link up a picture post for the week please invite them!!

Enough about me....

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Silk Painting 101 - Off the Wall Friday

The painting Studio

So I decided to not take a quilting class at John C. Campbell Folk School.  Okay, in my defense when I signed up last November for Silk Painting with Vicky Luffman, I really had no idea what it was.  I mean I thought I knew what it was.  You paint on silk right?!?  But gosh I've been in the surface design quilt world for so long that I thought we would go in and put some paint on silk and then it would be made into something else. But no!!  Apparently, people actually paint on silk - with brushes - paintings on actual silk.  And she wanted me to do THAT!

I don't paint.  No really, I don't paint ever.

On Monday morning, I was thinking what did I get myself into!!   I swear to God if I had my sewing machine I would have changed to the doll making class going on in the quilt studio in a hot minute.  And I would have missed an amazing experience.

My Sketch from a Photo Inspiration
After a Monday night dinner bemoaning that I don't paint to my husband and anybody else that would listen, I put on my big girl pants and gave it my all.  It really is a versatile  medium full of so many surprises and nuances.

Stretching the silk and adding Resist

You first  start out with inspiration and a sketch.  Vicky brought many sketches to trace for those of us who don't draw.  She asked me if I wanted to trace one of hers or maybe she could draw what I wanted but after the look I gave her, I think she figured out that I wasn't that kind of girl. I figured if I was going to go down, I was going to go down with my own work.

Learning how to dry brush  -obviously its an acquired skill

We took 10 mm habotai silk and stretched it onto bars tacking it down with push pins.  Then our sketch was traced onto the lightly with a pencil.  Painting on silk is not like painting on canvas.  First of all, we weren't using paint.  We were using acid dyes.  Secondly, that dye will migrate through the silk like a hot knife through butter if you don't stop it with something.  We used a water based resist method which formed lines through our work and kept each color where it should go.  Now if you put the resist down on the white silk - it will leave a white line.  If you paint underneath it (called dry painting), it will leave that color line you painted.  Of course, I decided to do a lot of dry painting which doubled my work.

Sometime Tuesday morning, I realized that although I didn't know how to paint, I did know a lot about composition, value and color.  That was when it clicked.  I just started thinking of the dyes as fabric and started using them as such in my piece.  My life became much easier.  As I worked on my one little painting over 3 days though, my classmates were doing two, three or four of them.  Still the rule at John C. Campbell's is that this is NOT a competition.  There were only a couple of people in the class who had painted before so I wasn't the only beginner!

Sunshine at John C. Campbell's, Nina-Marie Sayre, 2019

Once the initial painting was done, it needed to dry thoroughly, then placed in a steam bath for two hours to set.  The resist is then washed off and you iron it dry.  And Wha- La.....You have a painting.  I did two others but this was my main piece.  I was so glad I chose a piece that I could play with how the dye hit the silk and how the colors mixed together.

Talking to my whole class, I think everyone had fun.  We were tired....I painted till 8 or 9 every night but I learned so much.  We also learned how to dye scarves.  Well my class learned how to dye scarves!  Apparently silk scarves are dyed just like cotton (even in their own version of the Red Solo Cup Dyeing method).  This I knew how to do so I just kept learning how to use a brush.  To paint.  An actual picture.

Peaking in on Paul

Where was my husband  during all of this???  Well he took a Windsor chair class.  Now Paul is an accomplished woodworker.  He tends to do artisan functional pieces.  This one, however, was all done by hand.  When I would mention to people that Paul was in that class, they all laughed and said don't plan on seeing him much.  And they were right.  We met up for meals and 11 pm for bed where he was snoring in 30 seconds.  Still his whole class managed to make a Windsor chair in less
than 5 days.  Now he just needs to make 5 more....grin

Tired Paul sitting on his new chair

Looking back at the class as a newly retired painter, I can highly recommend Vicky as a teacher.  She was ridiculously energetic and generous with her time.  She stayed every night to teach till 9 pm.  She came early to clean the gorgeous studio and she was our biggest cheerleader.   Really all the teachers were top notch at the school.  I didn't hear one bad comment about any of them and several - like Vicki - had taught there for several years.  I like how they made even the very beginning beginner feel successful  by the end of the week.

Some of my Classes Work

So did I find a new passion....ahhhhh no.......truth be told I missed fabric terribly the whole week.  But now I totally learned what I originally set out to do.  I can now surface design and paint on silk proficiently to be used in my own work.  I even came home with enough supplies to play with this summer.
My Class' Selfie , That is Vicky on the far right with gorgeous white hair

I love, love, love this Picture - It makes me smile!

If anybody has any questions about the school, or class or silk painting method please leave them in the comment section and I'll answer them there.  

So What You Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, June 7, 2019

John C. Campbell Folk School ... A Review Off the Wall Friday

Well I found it!  The perfect vacation.  I'm thinkin' after a week at John C. Campbell Folk School that I need not go anywhere else to get away and have fun.  Now I know the average jane would rather see exotic places or relax on a quiet beach somewhere, but not me.   I like a nice low maintenance locale where they feed me well and I learn something.....and I found that at John C. Campbell.

This all began when my husband and I started looking for our next adventure.  With a little research for this blog, I thought that maybe John C. Campbell fit the bill.  Little did I know how well.  Between the gorgeous HUGE campus (with plenty of places to roam and explore), the well equipped studios, the over 800 classes offer year round, the yummy food and the good company....I mean what more could a girl want.

The School's Community Room
With the campus offering a wide range of places to stay, you can totally immerse yourself in the atmosphere of school.  We literally parked our car on the first day and didn't move it until the last day of classes.  We stayed at the picturesque Mill House which although very rustic was comfortable enough for us since we aren't too fussy.  Our double bed was comfortable, the towels were fluffy
Mill House
enough and it had it own bathroom with good water pressure.  The downside of the house was that it was the farthest of all houses from the main campus and the walls were thin.  I mean VERY thin.  Our housemates weren't at all noisy and we still could hear everything every one said.Of course, my class was the farthest from our house...half a fitbit loved it!! Since it was so far away usually we left at 7:30 am and didn't return till after 9 pm every night so it wasn't a big deal.

My Husband in a drop in Jam session with the guitar class
And yes, our days were that busy!!  Not only does the school offer classes from 9:00-4:30 (with a break for lunch) but there is a whole schedule of activities that you can choose to join in with.  Between early walks, morning song, lectures on crafts, folk dancing and music jam sessions there is never a shortage of things you might want to try!  Because, as usual, I was pretty immerse with my class I didn't do a whole lot of extra things but I did manage to get in a solitary walk in the mornings and join in the morning song.  I really loved that!  Each morning a new person would entertain the early birds in 45 min of songs and stories.  It always seem to start my day off right!

My Favorite building on Campus...The Blacksmith Studio

The food had mixed reviews for the week but since I'm not super fussy I thought it was fine.  I surely never went hungry!!  Meals were served family style to tables of 8 and you were encouraged to sit with a new group meal. Although the crowd was mostly over 50, there was a wide range of classmates to meet.  So many different backgrounds ... So many reasons to come and learn. Sometimes this was fun but to tell you the truth, I would have liked to sit with a group of friends and get to know them better throughout the week.  Menus were very healthy and mostly homecooked with provision for special dietary needs.  There was pretty much always fresh baked bread around and a yummy desert which I only tried one meal.  Did I mention that between the walking and the healthy eating I lost 3 lbs?  Like I said perfect vaca!

So now for the Pro's and Con's

  • Gorgeous safe campus that you can roam till your hearts content
  • Friendly staff & Well chosen teachers
  • Well organized itinerary with plenty of activities
  • Its all inclusive (I never did spend any money there)
  • WiFi throughout/Air Conditioning throughout
  • Quiet hours 10pm  - 7 am  in a wide range of quarters from dorms to single rooms with baths
  • A huge selection of classes in a huge range of media in well equipped classrooms & studios
  • Beginners are welcome (MANY people had never tried their chosen class before!)
  • Healthy family style served meals
  • Class size is limited to 12 or fewer most with assistants
  • Plenty of quiet places to sit and reflect or have a chat with your interesting school mates
  • The campus is pretty remote for the North East or MidAtlantic States (but under a 4 hr drive from Lexington, Asheville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Knoxville)
  • Campus can be pretty physical with a lot of walking and hills (there is parking at every building but you would need a school golf carts to help)
  • Meals  only offer one entree/side 
  • Trails throughout campus could be better lit and better marked
  • Some found the food not to their liking (but that was NOT the case for me)
Honestly, I'm having a hard time coming up with cons for this review.  I really did love it.  The School's catalog comes out twice a year and I can't wait to choose my  next class.  When I came home I was tired but so rejuvenated at the same time.

My next post will be about my class!!
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Friday, May 31, 2019