Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Missouri Fiberart Retreat

Notes from Karen:
Last weekend I went to the bi-annual MOFA - Missouri Fiber Art - retreat. It was out at Lake of the Ozark, MO. As usual I have a great time. I taught a layered painted and dyed fabric workshop, that everyone seemed to love.

I also took two workshops myself.

A memory bracelet - I had brought a bunch of my better favorite beads. The red round and oblong beads are very old garnet from my husbands grandmother.

The white are mother of pearl I have had for years and the rhinestone spacer between them was a necklace from my mother.

The doll below was a workshop called "Mojo Doll". We were given a black stuffed doll and black wooden base. Again I had brought some of my favorite materials, used some that where provided and had 3 hours to sit and sew. It was great fun to make this doll.

We always have a silent auction to raise fund for the MOFA scholarships. Most of the items are pieces made from the members. But some could be books, fabric, and other fiber materials.

I fell is love with this felted rabbit. He is about 4" tall and is a finger puppet.

I won the auction on this and the beautiful shibori dyed black and gold silk scarf below.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Karen's trip to the St. Louis Basilica

I stop in the St. Louis Basilica a few times a year. I was up there last week and dropped in for about 30 minutes. It is an amazing place. It is the largest mosaic structure in the world and the tiles took almost 90 years to complete by the same family. Three generations.

It is a wonderful place to get grounded. I like to lay on the pews and stare up at the ceiling

This first photo is of the front of the building. The next photo is of the main dome in the center of the church. The third photo is of the main alter.

If you are into art or architecture try to  get there. You will be amazed. You could pretend to be in Europe. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Detail of Sharee Dawn's thread work

In this detail image of Sharee Dawn's thread work, you can see the incredible amount of thread that is used. This is Sharee Dawn's signature style of free motion machine embroidery

Friday, March 13, 2015

Making Felt Boxes

I thought I'd describe some of my techniques for making the felt boxes, which should work for any type of box template.  This is Lynn speaking, and you'll notice I've switched to the first person.  We started writing the blog in third person because there were three of us, and we thought it would help to identify who was writing.  But that seems awkward, so we are switching to the first.  Enough grammar - on to the boxes.

I use a heavy-weight Pellon (Ultra Firm Peltex) for the base of the box and paint both sides with a color I want to focus on from my scraps.  When I painted my first one at Koalas, I used Sharee Dawn's Liquitex Basics and only intended to paint one side.  But I didn't like that it looked blotchy on the other side as some of the paint seeped through, so I painted both sides and hung it to dry.  Back at home I tried using up some old Plaid paints, but that gave off an odor I didn't like.  Even though it eventually went away after a few days, I switched back to the Liquitex.  The paint gives body to the box.  I tried felting on the unpainted Peltex, but the felting broke it down and made it too limp to shape the box.

After the Peltex has thoroughly dried (usually overnight), I have found it helps to score the box folds with a ruler and pointed tool before I start felting with my needle felting machine.  Then I'm ready for my silk scraps.  As you see, I have quite a pile to choose from.
I love the way the silk gets distorted in felting, especially if it has a pattern to it.

Before the box is assembled, I attach the button that will be used for a closure.  I use a shank button, preferably metal.  It's positioned about 1 1/4" from the top edge of the box front.  I've used an awl to make the opening for the shank.

To secure the button, I cut a 3/4" piece from a staple, slip it through the shank on the back side, and then cover it all with my hot glue gun.  At this point the box can be assembled using the hot glue gun and is ready for the final step with the box lid.

The box lid is closed with a piece of braiding cord.  I've again used a shank button, a small one this time to hold the cord in place.  With my awl I punch a hole for the button which goes on the inside of the lid about 3/4" from the edge.  Before putting the button through, I slip one end of a 10" piece of cord through the hole, leaving just enough on the inside to wrap once around the button.  I then hot glue this, being sure to catch the cord in the glue.

I thread the other end of the cord through a darning needle and wrap it around the exposed shank (on the outside of the lid) four or five times.

I close the lid, wrap the cord around the button once or twice, adjust the cord length and add a small bead at the bottom to give the cord a little weight.  The box is done!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Making Boxes - Part II

The boxes have been great fun.  Lynn finished her blue box, but started to needle felt the next one before a March snowstorm forced Karen and her to leave the studio.  Once home though, the needle felting took over, using silk scraps from the many bags she has made over the years.  The boxes are beginning to stack up and will eventually travel to Prince Edward Island to the gallery where she works during the summer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Making Painted Paper Boxes

 At our March Koala Girls Retreat some of us worked on making paper boxes. Karen bought some scrap booking supplies at a yard sale a few years back and in the supplies were the templates for making these two different boxes.

Karen made these out of layered painted mid-weight watercolor paper. Karen paints a sheet of paper, then cuts the shape of the box out of that painted sheet.

Lynn  has cut out the shape of the box and is painting it from that template.

This is the first layer, using blue acrylic paint.

Lynn will be posting picture's of the finished box soon.

Below you will see the beginning of a new sheet of watercolor paper. The corner has been cut off, because that is the part of the paper Lynn cut her template from. Karen not wanting to waste this good paper decided to use it with the cut out section. She painted the background with orange and yellow acrylic paint. Then she has added some shapes with pencil.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sharee Dawn Roberts 12" x 12" challenge

This is Sharee Dawn's 12" x 12" challenge. She is finishing up some of the machine embroidery that she is famous for. The picture on the side of the piece is the image she is creating. It is the top of a stalk of corn. When all the stitching is finished, this piece will be mounted on a 3" deep frame. We will post pics when it is finished.

Karen's 12" x 12" challenge

This is the 12" x 12" challenge Karen created. It is made by needle felting. She started out with a black craft felt square and just kept adding layers, working from the background to the top surface

Lynn's 12" x 12" challange

Last time we met in February we decided to create a challenge for each other. It was a simple challenge, just create something 12" x 12". This is what Lynn came up with. Using de-colorent to remove the color from black velvet with stamps. She also did machine stitching and hand embroidery. She then mounted this beautiful fabric to a frame.

Our very first post

Today is the day that the 3 Koala Girls blog is open for business. We three women will be posting pictures of our art, each other, food we have prepared. We will be posting fun stuff from our once a month 2 day get together. Our web site that will be an introduction to our group is still under construction. When that is ready for viewing, it will be posted on this site. We hope you will join us in our creative journey, and tell us what you think.