Jan 25, 2016

Sketchbook Project - Week 3

21 days makes a habit, right?  I really do feel like adding to this book has become part of my day.  It's not necessarily structured--I don't have a specific time that I work on it--but I look forward to it daily.  Even if I'm struggling with deciding what to add, I still relish in the feeling of filling up another page.

I hope you enjoy them.  (If you need to catch up, click here.)

Left: Copic Marker & Japanese brush pen   Right: Japanese brush pen & Watercolor
Gouche background, colored pencil with white gel pen

Left: Gouache, letters cut and pasted  Right: Colored pencil

Crayola marker & white gel pen


See you next Monday with another update.  Have a great week, friends!

Jan 22, 2016

Introducing....Will It Felt?

I want to expand my felting range, so I've decided to start (yet another) project! I'll be experimenting with different surfaces for needle felting.  Normally, I work on a high quality wool felt, so I'll be comparing these new surfaces to my experience with felt.  I hope to have a little collection of blog posts that might serve as a good resource for others who would also like to experiment.

My specialty in needle felting is trying to attain maximum details in my pieces. So, for each fabric or surface, I'll be picking subjects that have a good amount of detail to portray.  For ease of comparison, I'll also be creating a toadstool piece for each fabric.  My toadstool pieces have a good range of techniques, from blending and layering to broad coverage and tiny details, so I feel like they will help me determine the answers to my criteria questions.

Here's my criteria for Will It Felt:

Durability: Probably most importantly, I want to determine how the fabric holds up to the felting process.  I don't want a piece to fall apart after I've worked so hard on it.

Fabric Displacement:  Does it warp? Do the fibers get all wonky?

Pokability:  Is it easy on the needles--does it feel like they'll break?

Availability and Price: Can the fabric be purchased easily? Is it expensive?

Will it Hoop?: I display many pieces in embroidery hoops.  I thought it would be fun to make this a test for each fabric.

Detail Work:  Is it capable of handling details? Do they disappear into the fabric?

So first up....


Durability:  I wasn't sure what to expect with burlap.  But as it turns out, it held up very nicely. I was worried that the needles might break down the fibers.  They might eventually, but I needled it quite a lot, and everything seemed fine.

Fabric Displacement: Because of the looser weave, I expected a bit of displacement, but there was none.  I even tried felting on Burlap "ribbon" (seen below on the right), which is an even looser weave, but even that stayed put.

Pokability: Easy peasy, really. I have to think that continually poking into burlap would wear needles down quicker, though.

Availability and Price: Burlap is not hard to find, and I found it at the price range of $5-8 a yard and in many colors. Not bad compared to $35-$40 a yard for wool felt.

Will it Hoop?  Yup.  It wasn't too easy to stretch when in the hoop, so centering your work as perfectly as you can before you add the outer hoop is key.


Detail Work:  So, burlap can and cannot handle details. I'll explain.  If there is a layer or two of wool already felted onto the burlap, then details are no problem.  But I couldn't really get small details or crisp lines on the outer edges of the design.  Any lines that were adjacent to raw burlap just didn't have enough surface area to cling to, which should be expected in a weave with gaps.

Will It Felt?  It sure will! I recommend trying it--it's a fun surface and creates very pretty finished pieces.

I created a couple more pieces and experimented with a different way of hanging.  I like the raw edges of burlap, but of course they unravel really easily, so I secured them with a thin line of fabric glue on the backside. This is my first time hanging pieces from copper, and I really love this look.

Let me know if you try felting on burlap!  Comment here, tag me on social media or shoot me an email!  And if you have any other suggestions for criteria, or suggestions for experimental fabrics, let me know!

Next up: Linen!

Jan 18, 2016

Sketchbook Project - Week 2

I've successfully completed a second week of contributing to my sketchbook, and honestly, I'm pretty damn proud of myself.  I'm very pleased with these entries.  Mostly, I haven't had much difficulty deciding what to do, but I did struggle with that one day this week.  It was Saturday, which ended up being the toadstool sketch.

I hope you enjoy these pages!

If you need to catch up, you can read about why I started the project and see pages from January 1-10 here.

left: Micron pen   right: Watercolor with micron and white gel pen, cut out and pasted into book
left: Prismacolor colored pencil with Japanese brush pen background   right: Prismacolor colored pencils


left: Mechanical Pencil   right: gouache

I'm trying not to pick favorites, but I think I have one this time around--the dog nose.  It's our dog Luna's nose!  I've always wanted to felt it in wool, but haven't yet, so I just decided to draw it.  And in case you're wondering, I intentionally left the rest of that page unfinished--just the nose for now.

Thanks for keeping up with this project, friends!  Have a great week!

Jan 11, 2016

My Sketchbook Project

I didn't intend to make this a public project.  I didn't intend to make a big deal out of this.  But at some point yesterday, I decided to share a page of this sketchbook and ask folks on instagram if they'd be interested in seeing the pages of my sketchbook fill up.  The answer was a resounding YES. 

Here's the backstory: I've been listening to lots of podcasts and reading posts about creating daily habits.  Learning about others' creative and artsy daily projects was very appealing to me.  Though I'm creating daily for my business, I don't create for myself. Actually, I rarely create for myself.  So, this sketchbook is for me.

Even though I'm sharing it, I'm going to do my best to be selfish about it.
To create what I want. To not judge my art.  To not compare my art to others'.

My only rule is to add to it daily.  I don't care how much I add--it can be a full page, partial page or multiple pages.  So far, my mediums and subjects have ranged greatly in just the past ten days. I've been choosing my subjects from something that inspired me that day or something that happened.  So, in a way, this sketchbook will also serve as a sort of journal.

This will be a vulnerable process, but I look forward to how it will help me grow.  And I'm very much looking forward to having one (but hopefully more) FULL sketchbook!

So here are my entries for January 1-10.  I'm making a goal to share an update on this sketchbook every Monday.

copic markers with white gel pen

pencil on watercolor paper taped into book--the black cat background soaked through
colored pencil, white gel pen

Japanese brush pen, colored pencil

left: Japanese brush pen, watercolor  right: Japanese brush pen

left: gouache and watercolor  right: gouache and watercolor

Japanese brush pen, white gel pen and watercolor

I hope you enjoy getting to peek in my sketchbook.  (You can watch a video flip-through here.) See you next with with the next update. 

Oh hey.....

I think it's time to revive this little blog.  I didn't manage my time well enough last year to keep up with writing. But THIS year, I have some fun projects and plans, and writing about them will be a key part of their success.  I spend so much time on Instagram, but I'd like to expand my reach and be able to let my projects grow beyond one or two images a day.

So without further ado, it's time to jump right into my first project.  See you soon, friends!