Wednesday, June 27, 2012

old habits die hard


"Everybody can memorize the old laced or crocheted tablecloths, which were used as interior decoration at your grandparent's house. The decorations are beautiful hand made design, but do not represent today's style anymore. The knowledge about handcraft techniques vanishes. JONGHLABEL regrets that these old artistic techniques disappear.

In order to renew interest in old handcraft techniques, JONGHLABEL started Jongh Geleerd Oud Gedaan. Together with women from different cultural backgrounds and from different parts of the city of Amsterdam, JONGHLABEL started a co-production project. These women still know how to practice Dantel (Turkish handcraft technique), tatting, lace and crochet. JONGHLABEL transfers the beautiful handmade fabrics into modern jewelry. By turning them into modern jewelry, JONGHLABEL hopes to renew people's interest in these beautiful old handcrafts."


Thursday, June 21, 2012

painting with matchsticks

For those of you suffering summer heat, this chilly post is for you. This is the last art project I did with Sam's 2nd Grade this year. The teacher wanted to pack in as much learning as possible, so here it is: the Grandma Moses landscape, inspired by WES Kindergarten Art. This project allowed students to study a famous American folk artist, learn about landscape and perspective, try wet-on-wet watercolor (sky), and use paper to tear, cut, and paste (snow, trees and houses). In addition to the instructions from WES art, I added one last step. For an opportunity to try non-traditional folk art materials just as Grandma Moses did, we used matchsticks and white paint to stamp snowflakes

As I am a volunteer and not a traditional teacher, I prefer to give them core concepts, a short demo, and then let them go for it. No two artworks look the same, and I am always fascinated by the different directions they take.

an artist that enjoys symmetry

an artist that enjoys detail: bird, plane, lightning, snowball....

an artist that enjoys repetition

an artist that enjoys contrast

The power of the brain's automatic symbols: a grassy ground plane and apples are present even in the midst of a snowstorm. (An entirely possible scenario for a child brought up in Southern California.)

Thank you to WES Kindergarten Art for their great concept and step-by-step.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

hot rod angels

Hot Rod Angels, by Robery Sidney Bowen, Chilton Company, 1965.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

hong kong windows

Hong Kong Report for the Year 1961, Hong Kong Government Press, 1962.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


This year for Sam's school fundraiser art auction, we decided to create a class project using Inkodye. It's a photo-sensitive dye that I've been curious about for a while (thanks to among others Cisco Home and How About Orange). Class was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Inkodye is a dye that develops color when exposed to sunlight. It's like liquid sun-print in a bottle and can be applied to any natural surface to make a print. In our case, we used it to make custom fabric for a hand-sewn art tote. Each student made several cut-outs from paper, and chose their favorite one to use as a stencil on our bag. When the stencils were ready, they were placed on prepared canvas panels and taken outside. Under sunlight, the ink-coated fabric turns blue, and the places shaded by the stencils stay white. Add a little sewing and viola, class-designed textile tote.

alien and/or robot
Teacher set-up: I prepared two canvas panels (the front and back of our bag) by coating them each on one side with Inkodye. For fabric I chose Organic Canvas Deluxe in PFD Bleach White by Robert Kaufman (available at Sew Mama Sew.) It's a great weight, has a nice texture, and takes dye beautifully. After a little trial and error, I found a 50/50 dilution of Inkodye worked best to coat the fabric. It seemed to flow easier, last longer, and had no noticeable difference in color strength after exposure. A small, smooth paint roller worked best for even coverage. Bonus tip! : If you are using a roller, dye will soak through, so lay canvas on a non-porous, clean work surface. I used a sheet of plexiglass underneath mine. And since Inkodye is UV sensitive, all of this was done after dark under safe incandescents and left to hang-dry overnight in a dark room.
An empty hydrogen peroxide bottle makes a great light-safe container.
Step two involved creating cut-out stencils designed by the students. Each student made several cut-outs from paper, practicing concepts of symmetry and silhouette, and chose their favorite one to use as a stencil on our fabric.
Here is a photo of a demo canvas prepped for the class. Indoors we laid each stencil on a pre-coated piece of canvas. Then we laid a plexiglass guide on top to hold the shapes flat against the fabric. Time for exposure to sunlight! Here you can see it is just starting to turn blue. The students were very excited to watch the transformation. Like magic!

Since it was cloudy, we left the canvas out for 30-40 minutes. After Inkodye is exposed, the remaining unexposed dye needs to be washed out or it will slowly turn color under UV too. I found that the hotter the water, the better for washing out dye so I used the "sanitize" cycle in my washer and it worked great. After running it through the cycle, just for good measure, I scrubbed the panels by hand under hot water with detergent and a stiff brush. Results below! You can see that the relative transparency of the thin white paper allows some light to leak through during a long exposure.
On my own, during a properly sunny day, I exposed two final panels with the students' stencils, using same method as above. I let the full sun burn the panels a good 15-20 minutes to get a deep blue. You can see how some interesting edge quality happens when you get strong exposure and a stencil that's letting a little light leak in.

We are lucky to have another art volunteer that sews. Ta daa...! Panels transformed to bag.
The students were very proud of their personal contribution to the fundraiser and had fun learning a new process too. What is fun about sun-printing is that it is so simple-- even a piece of cheap construction paper will fade nicely in the sun to reveal shapes of items placed on it, no dyes required. But that is a post for another time.... As for Inkodye, I cannot wait to experiment with more colors and materials!

Monday, June 4, 2012

TAE Things going and to be done.

Thomas Edison's to-do list, circa 1888. Via Brainpickings