Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Studio Redux 092413 Contiues Onward!

The shelf has been moved over to it's new spot in the main studio, and soon there will be a newly rehabbed table in this spot for my new work station.

The shelf in it's new space behind the loom.  Now to get space cleared out of my office for the looms!

A mess, but also an obstacle for Oliver, this keeps him out of my sewing area and away from all of my threads.

The cheering committee, Oliver and Angel.  Notice the big yellow blob in the photos?  That's so you don't see the pile of laundry sitting on the floor that's slowly migrating it's way to the laundry room n the basement!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Colours

September is drawing to an end, so thought I would post some fall colours!

Rust on hand dyed cotton fabric.
I do believe I dyed this with MX dyes back around 1994,  before I became allergic.  Anyway, I love the colors of this piece, as the leaves start to change I will take some photos, do some color studies and use some of this fabric as it's wanting to be stitched and oh so badly.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Calling my Name!

It's saying stitch me!  An old studio/shop rag, that found it's way into the main laundry this past week.  Found it early this morning neatly folded up amongst the tee shirts, that would be a John thing.  It's oober soft and is whispering "stitch me".  I guess I'll have to give it what it wants!

Various types of natural dyes on cotton fabric.


Love the play of light and shadow this time of year.

Studio Rag

The colors are a deep camel and pale yellow, the yellow doesn't show up well in this image due to the poor lighting in my office.  Natural dyes on cotton.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More Organization

The wall of wool has been moved, now to disassemble these wire racks and put the drying rack here, then it's time to set up the new computer work station in my drawing and painting area.  Some day that loom will be upstairs in my office with the wool, spinning wheel, etc!

Oliver Files Week Six - I Think

His favorite place in the house is the family room surrounded by his toys and with Angel of course.

Here he is still sorta damp after his walk in the pouring down rain.  I love his coat, like Angels it dries and very quickly.

We're still learning to not pick on Pepper, Thomas can hold his own and for the most part Oliver is scared of Thomas.

He matches the rug and quite well, don't you think!

My princess, Angel.

Last but not least, Thomas who still refuses to hang out in the family room since Oliver arrived, but it's only been six weeks and he's finally coming into the kitchen again. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Part One - Black Birds in Trees Harvest

With a round object of your choice (I used a 6" plate) and a soft pencil (HB) draw a circle on your 9x12 sheet of watercolor paper.

Using a texture or geometric stamp, and waterproof ink, add some texture around the circular area.
Now fill the circle with some yellow paint, I used Folk Arts Medium Yellow.

Using a thin layer of grey paint the background.

The thin layer of paint will allow the background texture to show through; allow paint to dry completely.

Now apply alcohol inks and in random manner.  I spritzed the moon area with butterscotch, lettuce, and red pepper.

Not to worry the inks will dry way lighter than what you see in the image here! 

About half dry now, it will become lighter still!

Once the alcohol inks are dried take a baby wipe and in a swirling motion remove most of the ink from the moon shape on the paper.

This gives you a realistic moon shape and fall harvest coloring.  Not all of the ink will wipe away and this is fine you don't want it all to wipe away.

If you need to amp up the color for the background now is the time to do so.  Here I recharged the alcohol ink using some additional inks and a water bottle.  Spritzing with water will cause speckling, etc., to occur giving you more texture.

Place stencil of choice onto background, and using dry stencil brush techniques push the paint through the stencil onto the paper.  Here I'm using my stencil Black Birds in Tree which is available through StencilGirl Products!

Too much paint will cause the paint to go under the stencil and well creates a HUGE mess, but this piece can and will be redeemed!  Folk Art Paint - Licorice

And because sometimes I am a bit of a perfectionist, yes me, I went and created a second piece the steps of which are above, just to see if I could get the stencil portion correct!

And I managed to keep the paint in the lines this time!  Ok, the paint should be dry now I'm off to add more layers to the first version of this piece to see where it takes me, oh and to cook dinner!

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Art Crawl Iowa Virutal Studio Tour Update!

What you will need to participate in this years
Art Crawl Iowa Virtual Studio Tour:

  1. Currently live in Iowa
  2. A blog and/or a website where you will post creative photos of your studio(s)
  3. Brief artist statement and bio about yourself and your work.
  4. A couple of images of your artwork.
  5. List of galleries, etc., where we can see and/or purchase your artwork.
  6. Contact email
  7. Send me a link to your website/blog/page and I will add it to the list of participating artists here on this blog next Friday at  prairiefibers@hotmail.com
If you would like to participate in Art Crawl Iowa 2013 email me at prairiefibers@hotmail.com

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

WIP - Autumn Bird Piece

Alcohol inks, gesso, black birds in tree inverse stencil, crow lino block - so far.  Off to add more layers.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Bad Dog...

Gahhhhhhhhhhhh just got back from a walk and a viscious attack from the neighbors dog, damned thing bit Oliver on the nads and bit me too for good measure. Since the dog is still lose animal control is on their way to deal with the dog and the owner. 

I inspected Oliver and he's not bleeding but he's not happy either.  Poor Ollie and here he was under the impression that all dogs are nice and are for playing with!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Just because...

Thomas asleep on my office chair.

Pepper asleep on a quilt I started back in the 80's and have yet to finish but use anyway, in my office.  Neither cats like it when we start cleaning rearranging rooms in the house so they go hide in my office.

Family Room Partial Redux

Oliver at home on the new, to him, rug in the freshly cleaned family room.

I didn't think to take a before photo and this is probably a good thing!  Needless to say we spent the past two days taking apart, deep cleaning, and then putting back together with a replacement rug no less, the family room.  No small feat on our part because the dogs wanted to be in the middle of everything the entire time.  But we got'er done and I have to say mostly due to John's particpation in the whole process!  Another words it wouldn't have ever have happened if he hadn't been home to help me. 

Notice the beautiful rug in the previous photo, it's replacing the neutral number that has been ruined by my shelties relentless need to pee on it!  The new, it's actually not new we've had it in storage for about seven years now, rug is scotch guarded and well will hide the pee stains much better... unfortunately my red oak floor was ruined from Angel's relentless need to pee in the same spot for the past nine years.

She's NOT happy about the new rug and will barely come into the family room.  Btw her peeing issue is due to having been spayed improperly... from what I've learned it was the breeder herself that spayed Angel and NO she had no vet training.

A very unhappy sheltie!

And lastly, hillbilly puppy training!  He's already set the trap off that was in a skillet on the stove.  He's learning!

Art Crawl Interview with Steve Hosch

This weeks interview is with Artist Steve Hosch!

· How did you get your start as a professional artist?

While I’ve made art my whole life, I’d never made an attempt to market and sell my work until a few years ago. I really don’t know what inspired me to get serious about my art at that time. Mid-life crisis? Turning 40 looming around the corner?

I was confronted with a pile of birdhouse gourds I’d grown the year before taking up space in my garage. Throw them out or do something with them? I cleaned them up, drilled holes in them, and used my wood-burning tool to “draw” some simple designs. Needless to say, I quickly tired of making birdhouses, so I bought some other varieties of hard-shell gourds and began experimenting. I bought a Dremel and played around with relief carving, I messed around with dyes and painting techniques, and I even taught myself how to coil pine needles. Eventually I got rather adept working in this medium, turning plain old gourds into bowls, vases, pitchers, and masks. Pushing my fear of rejection aside, I contacted Mike Miller at Gallery 319, showed him a few of my pieces, and asked him if he’d be willing to display and sell my work. He agreed, and for the next five years I made and sold—at Gallery 319 and Longbranch Gallery in Mineral Point, Wisconsin—a lot of gourd art.

After about five years of gourd art, I grew increasingly bored with the medium. Around that time I ran across a website called Loving Mixed Media, an educational site devoted to nurturing artists through technique experimentation. By way of LMM, I discovered assemblage and collage, and I’ve been working primarily in those mediums ever since.

• How long have you been working as a professional artist?

Since 2005.

• What are you currently working on?

A good portion of my summer was devoted to building up a small body of assemblage work for a show I’m doing this fall (September 7-October 20) at the Plymouth Congregational Church gallery in Des Moines. Lately, though, I’ve been working on experimenting with collage.

My assemblage work can be fairly time-consuming, which generally translates into me needing to set higher prices for that work. A lot of people have shown interest in my assemblage pieces, but that interest, lately, hasn’t resulted in sales. I’m not na├»ve; I understand the times are tough and people don’t want to plunk down a lot of cash for an assemblage.

That said, I spend significantly less time creating my collage pieces. In fact, the process is a refreshing change; I purposefully work quicker, more playfully, allowing the collage elements to sort of come together on their own. Hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll have a small collection of collage pieces ready to go. They’ll be more modestly priced than my assemblage work, so I hope people will take them and give them a good home.
• Your current body of work depicts?

Currently I’ve been using a lot of human-based imagery, such as vintage photos and anatomy book illustrations. I try to depict the relationship of humans to the environment around them, whether that’s the natural environment or human-created “environments” and conditions. I like to also incorporate images of the man-made, such as machinery or maps, in my work; I’m attempting to depict humanity’s love affair (and I would say, an oftentimes unhealthy love affair) with technology.

• What materials do you work with and why?

For my assemblage work, I’ll work with pretty much any material I can get away with. My “studio” (really just a corner of my basement) is heaped with stuff—cigar boxes, old frames, rusty tools and other metal bits, bones, porcelain doll parts, old game boards, and the like—that I’ve collected. For my collage work, I love vintage ephemera: old books, photos, advertising, and the like, much of it over 100 years old. It’s not just the images that catch my eye; it’s also the paper itself.

For the most part, the materials are readily available and relatively inexpensive—although with the popularity of all things vintage and “retro,” this is becoming less the case. There’s just something about the patina of old stuff—rusty metal, chipped paint, stained paper—that delights me. I like the thought that I’m giving it, a la Dr. Frankenstein, new life.

• What excites you about using the materials you work with?

It’s the transformation process that excites me. I really geek being able to take some mundane piece of rusty junk or an old photo or a page out of some out-dated biology text and transform it into some it was never meant to be—a work of art. Two of my passions are art and history, so I guess my work is simply an intersection of those passions.

• Tell us about some of the processes you do in your work

One of my favorite processes—I use it quite often in my collage—is image transfer. I use a photocopy, either on paper or on a transparency, and transfer it onto another surface with matte medium. It’s a cool technique because it offers the ability to create layers in my work. I can transfer an image over the top of another image, but the bottom image is still visible.

• When you make a piece where does the inspiration come from?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Honestly, I don’t know. It may sound like a cop-out, but most of the time I really don’t know where the inspiration comes from. There are corners of my brain where stuff is stored that only sees the light of day when I sit down at my worktable. It comes across as goofy-sounding, but the junk I gather for my work “speaks” to me; I just let it tell me what to do.

• Do you make art every day?

Sadly, no. I’m a high school special education teacher, so in the two-and-a-half months of my summer, I do make art pretty much every day. However, during the rest of the year, I’m lucky to make art once a week.

It’s a Catch-22 of sorts. My art is my lifesaver; it’s a much-needed catharsis to the stress and frustration of my “real” job. However, for the nine-and-a-half months of the year when I most need it, I’m too worn-down and burned-out to do it consistently.

• What other artistic interests do you have?

I do enjoy writing. Over the years I’ve had a couple of short pieces published in some Midwestern magazines. Lately, though, my “writing” has been reduced to my blog—and the occasional Facebook rant.

• Tell us something that most people don’t know about you that they would find interesting?

 Growing up in Northeast Iowa—just 20 miles from the Mississippi River, where I loved watching tugboats guide huge barges through Lock and Dam #10—one of my first career goals was to become a tugboat pilot.

Artist Statement:

For me, my art is the metamorphosis of clutter. First, it’s about literally transforming clutter. I gather seemingly mundane objects and ephemera and bring them together to form works of art. My art is also a figurative transformation of clutter. I use the clutter-of-life that occupies space in my head and harness it to make art. “Ask questions and seek answers,” a friend once advised. At its core my art is an attempt (often dark, usually satirical) to ask questions and push the viewer to seek answers—and every so often butcher one of society’s sacred cows.


Even though art's always been a big part of his life, Steve still has a difficult time calling himself an "artist." Other than the two years spent as a frustrated graphic design major at Iowa State University, he's a self-trained artist. Steve received his bachelor of science degree in history in 1989 and took a job as a museum technician at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum, where he was involved primarily in exhibit design, construction, and maintenance. In 1991 he returned to Iowa State to attend graduate school, eventually earning a master's degree in education. Since 1992 his "real" job (that which supports his art habit) has been as a high school special educator, a career choice that requires the much-needed catharsis provided by his art. In 2005 Steve began creating vessels and masks made from hard shell gourds. However, in the summer of 2010 Steve turned his creative attention to assemblage and collage, mediums he continues to explore.

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." --Pablo Picasso