Cynthia St. Charles Store

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Travel Log Tuesday - Lava Beds National Monument

This is the entrance to Golden Cave at Lava Beds National Monument.
It is a very tight opening. You have to watch your head as you descend the ladder.

The floor of Golden Cave is covered in rough lava. Many places it is necessary to stoop to pass through an passage way. This cave has some loops. We actually got lost for a while and it was kind of scary. We really did not have enough light - just our headlamps which were inadequate in this very dark cave.

The reason this cave is called Golden Cave - is the yellow green or golden colored fungus that grows on the lava rock. It happens to grow here because it is just the right environment for it - temperature, humidity, and darkness are all factors in the environment for the fungus.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mail Art Project - Week Seventy One

Here is the fabric I used for the background. It was hand dyed (pink), then printed with the leaf fossil. I didn't like the pink, so I overpainted it with red fabric paint.

I quilted it very simply, then fused the fish fossils in place. Below, you can see how I stitched the fossils in place after fusing.

Today's quote:

"I have great faith in fools. My friends call it self confidence."
-Edgar Allen Poe-

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pepper Print - 100 Foot Square

 I am doing a lot of rummaging in drawers for this 100 foot square series.

I have always liked this piece printed with a green pepper.  Apparently, I cut into it at some point, but I think there is enough to make both a 12" square and a couple of postcards.

Here it is after quilting.  I decided to stitch a hand dyed specialty yarn to the edge for the binding.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mountain Block for the Sunset Sky

 This piece called for a new block.  This one is 4" square - the size I am making most of my new blocks these days.

It is all printed and ready for quilting.  I am loving the new block and am really pleased with the piece so far.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Block Printing the Sunset Sky

 Preparing to print this piece, I selected several blocks I like for the sky.
Here is the full piece after the sky has been printed.  The printing is not terribly obvious at a distance (especially on the orange and yellow fabrics).  However, note the top 6 inches of the purple areas that are altered by the gold and yellow printing!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zig Zag on the Sunset

 This time, I thought I would try using a regular, wide zig zag stitch to attach the collaged fabric pieces.
I did not use the darning foot for free motion.  I set my machine for a wide zig zag stitch. 
 This went quick, much quicker than when I am using the free motion and creating texture.
 I changed the thread several times.

Here it is all stitched down.  Next, I will add the block printing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Starting a new piece - Sunset

 For my next piece in the collaged / block printed series (I really need to get a better name for this series), I wanted to do something to represent a sunset.  We get incredible sunset views at our place.  Our home is elevated above the Yellowstone Valley floor and we have a good view to the west.  I have always enjoyed the sunset colors and so I started pulling orange, yellow and purple hand dyed fabrics from my stash. 

I felt the first one was not successful, so I redid it in a vertical orientation.   It still does not look like a sunset to me. 
Then, while driving into town during a sunset, I realized the problem was that I needed to create something to orientate the sunset.  A horizon line.  Duh!  I pulled off all the fabric pieces again and replaced them.  Ahhhh . . . . .much better.  So, I pinned the fabrics in place.  This one has the backing on as well.  I am going to try zig zagging all three layers together at once.                                          

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Travel Log Tuesday - Lava Beds National Monument

This is the entrance to "Hercules Leg" - one of the lava tube caves we went into.

As we climbed closer, the cave opening became more obvious. This is one cave that does not have a ladder or stairs, but has a natural, easily accessed entrance.
Below, you can see why they named this cave Hercules Leg - this huge pillar in the middle of the cave. It is possible to walk all the way around this pillar - it is a true pillar. It is amazing how well the flash lit up the interior of the caves - they were VERY dark inside. (headlamps and flashlights required!)
Here is Joe as we were leaving the cave.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mail Art Project - Week Seventy

Hand dyed, rust dyed cotton, melted synthetic organza, fabric paints, machine quilted.

Today's quote:

"What difference does it make if the thing you are scared of is real or not?"
-Toni Morrison-

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gelatin Plate Fern Print - 100 Foot Square

Here is the next piece in my 100 Foot Squares Series.  This is a gelatin plate print I did quite a few years ago from a fern I harvested in my sister's Portland yard.  Ferns this size don't grow here (at least not in my dry yard).   I placed the fern fronds inside a ziplock bag for the 900 mile drive back to Billings, then I put them in the refrigerator upon arriving home, and they kept for about a week until I was able to get a gelatin plate ready for printing.

Here is a link to a post I did when I printed the fabric.

The butterfly is a Thermofax screen print adapted from a photo I took on a Beartooth Mountain hike.  I print with black ink onto orange hand dyed fabric, then add the white dots later with a paintbrush.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Binding for Yellowstone Valley

Time to put a binding on the Yellowstone Valley piece. I had some naturally dyed raw silk left over from the body of the quilt and this I got ready by adding Mistyfuse to the back. By the way, I have a new iron - and I love it. I put away my expensive and crappy Rowenta and picked up this Hamilton Beach model at Target for just $25. It gets good and hot and has a nonstick soleplate. It also gives off a lot of good steam. It is so nice to have good tools!
Here are the fabrics I have for the binding (above). The two pictures below show the binding in place - fused and stitched. I have also extended the lines of the screen print with a black fabric marker. I plan to enhance that area with the watercolor crayons, also - so it blends better.

Right side binding (before the watercolor crayons enhance the color here)
Left side binding

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cropping the Yellowstone Valley Piece

As I mentioned yesterday, I have known all along the proportions of this piece were all wrong. I started out with a screen printed mountain scene that I wanted to work with. It had a little bit of sky and I added to that a bit. Then I realized it needed something more below the screen printed mountain scene so I added a piece of batting and fused some pieces of naturally dyed fabric to that. I just went with the size batting I had on hand and decided I would crop away whichever part needed to go when the time came. Now the time has come. Something needs to happen because it looks "less than" with the mountain scene going right through the center. In the image above, I have cropped away half of the grass foreground, creating a piece that really emphasizes the "big sky".
I  am also contemplating cropping it vertically to create a different orientation. I am even considering making it into two pieces that will hang side by side.
Here it is with some of the sky cropped away. This brings the piece into a different perspective. It places the mountain valley off in the distance.
Finally, this image crops away a bit of each the sky and the grass foreground, creating a wide, narrow piece with a totally different feel.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Printing the Yellowstone Valley Piece

A few weeks ago, I posted my dilemma concerning this piece. It is part of a series in which I am using collaged fused piecing and block printing as the primary techniques. I found I liked it very much at the point where the collage was in place. I really loved the look of my naturally dyed raw silk fabrics in the foreground and I felt that block printing might obscure the subtle texture of that fabric.

After some deliberation, I decided to go forward with the block printing as originally planned. This is how I am working this series - it is all about using block printing as my primary means of expression and each exploration is a learning opportunity. So here goes. I carefully selected three blocks for printing the foreground. I chose to use only Jacquard Lumiere gold and copper paints. These are light and subtle.
Here is a detail (above) and the entire piece (below) after printing.
I do not feel I have done any harm with the printing, and in fact it is more interesting.
The balance is off, though, and I am going to have to crop this piece significantly for it to be successful.