1.30.2015

out of the box

Within this first month of the new year, I'm trying hard to stay true to my words for the year - dig deep

To look beyond the surface...to explore new avenues...follow a different path...

I've been pretty surprised by my efforts...
discovering a few skills and abilities that I didn't know I had...or had merely forgotten...



































Taking a different approach...not relying on the tried and true...

In my year-long Photoshop artistry class, AWAKE, I have surprised myself by taking photos of images that normally would not interest me...and then editing them in new and different ways...leading to an end result that I liked more than I thought possible...and revealing an insight that broke free from my standard artistic view...




























The assignment was to take several photos of an object, each from a different angle...I merged this assignment task with another assignment, which was to focus on how we saw our artistic life...as I took my morning walk, I was struck by the row upon row of boxes of this apartment building...and how I would hate to live in one of those boxes...as I combined two of the views of the building, I struggled with how to make each stand out yet blend together...exploring some of the blend modes in Photoshop that I never use (hard light for example) yielded the effect I wanted...masking, blending, and layering helped to bring the entire composition together.

going off in a different direction...sometimes the best way to go...








































joining the group over at kim klassen's Friday Finds...where my find is the exhilaration of taking new trails and leaving the path behind...

and speaking of new trails...did you read about that I'm taking the Art Party on the road...to Portland, OR...
want to know more?  get all the details here...

1.29.2015

Taking the Art Party on the road




I've been giving some thought about the connections I have made with others through art...whether it’s from the online classes I have taken, the comments left on blogs or postings, or the shared love of a style or look...

Ideas have been swirling in my head...possibilities ignite...

the chance to connect with names and avatars you've only seen online

an opportunity to share artistic talents

the experience of exploring the sights and sounds of a hip urban environment

a time to reflect on personal hopes and dreams

a cultivation of the creative spirit





I have been hosting local art parties for two years now...and they have become an elixir for not only the participants, but for me as well...

So...what if there was a place to get together...in the flesh...meet one another, create some art, explore a city, cook fabulous food, drink a little wine, feed our souls...would you want to be a part of this?

I’m willing to head up such an experience...in Portland, OR...the city renowned for funky art, fantastic book stores, superb coffee and free spirit individuality.  I've scoped out a location, a time frame and a loose plan...
but I’m interested in knowing if anyone else is so inclined...

Here’s what I’m thinking...it’s a flexible idea at this time...input is welcome!

Time frame:  Thursday thru Sunday...looking at October 8-11...Junk Bonanza (one of the biggest vintage/flea markets) is coming to Portland that weekend...I love to junk...thought it would be fun to do with other junk-minded creatives...

Location:  I found a house for rent in North Portland – 15 beds available...understand, this is not the Ritz...its big, its funky, its shared rooms and shared bathrooms...located in a neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, coffee houses.  There will be space to enjoy time together as well as time alone.  If you want to be part of the activities during the day but desire more private accommodations at night, there are plenty of hotels in town.  My thought would be to have a two tier cost – one for people staying at the house and one for people staying in other locations.

Schedule:  It will be up to individuals what they want to do...but I see there being some activities set up and you can join as you like...some ideas - multi-media collage, photography, art journaling, cooking, bread baking, wine tasting...

Cost:  I've worked up a very rough budget...but thinking it should definitely be under $400 per person for those who stay at the rental house...this would include 3 nights lodging, light breakfast and lunch, 3 group dinners and basic supplies...hoping to whittle this down more as details progress.  Haven’t yet figured out cost for people staying other places...
This cost does not include how you get to Portland, if you decide to rent a car, or other personal incidentals. 

Have I piqued your interest?  Let me know...I’m starting a list...send a quick email to me at amy_duncan@yahoo.com... that way I will have your contact info...tell me what you think...
and I’ll keep you in the loop as plans progress, details firm up and registration opens...

1.27.2015

Getting ahead of myself

The weather here the past couple of days has been very springlike...almost lulls one into thinking warmer weather is at hand...but I know better...its only a tease...

I'm so sorry for those of you who live on the East coast...stay safe and warm...

Since the weather was cooperating, thought I'd better get outside and clean up the garden...a task that didn't seem to happen this past fall...

My two large hydrangea bushes in the backyard garden are already budding...figured I could snatch one small branch...

Keeping it simple...edited with 2 layers of  kk texture unleashed







































and one version edited with textures and overlays gleaned from my first session of AWAKE, 
a yearlong Photoshop artistry class...



































Joining the group over at kim klassen's Texture Tuesday...camaraderie and photography at its best...

1.22.2015

One thing leads to another...

It all started back in November...creating recycled gift items for my holiday shows...

I was using the Spoonflower fabric samples of my photographic collages, making them into sachets...



























I also had some transfers of my artwork that my friend Kate of Full Circle Studio had printed for me on her commercial press...using this one in making a pillow...
















That little bit of sewing re-ignited my desire to sew...and prompted me to make an artist smock with my vintage mattress ticking, using one of the Spoonflower samples as a pocket on the smock..




So now I was hooked...what else could I create using these samples...but there was a problem...I was running out of samples...then I had my eureka moment!  I had purchased a large stack of transfer paper at a garage sale during the summer...





Once I found the stack of transfer paper, I sewed up another artist smock, again with my photographic collage printed on fabric for the pocket...this smock is the test model for artist Jody Cain of Latitude Studios...wanting a test run on how they wear in the real world...

















At this point,  I was firing on all pistons...couldn't I print onto fabric and use the fabric in different ways...cover design for my recycled journals came to mind...here's how I did it...

These were the two types of transfers in the stack I bought...after working with both, I liked the results from the HP paper better...it seemed to be a smoother print























There's an explicit instruction sheet included in each packet...I arranged my images in Photoshop on 8-1/2" x 11" document - the same size as the transfer sheets...I wanted to make use of every inch of paper...and most important...DON'T FORGET TO FLIP YOUR IMAGES HORIZONTALLY! This is especially important if you have writing on your image...always wise to perform a test run on blank paper before printing on the transfer sheet...though I only paid a couple of bucks for my stack at the garage sale, I am assuming that this paper is not cheap...don't let any scraps go to waste!  Here's what my printed transfer sheet looked like...

































Once you've trimmed the images and heated up your iron (with no steam or water in it!) you are ready to go...I decided to use a lightweight muslin as my fabric...I pre-washed the fabric and then tore it into pieces to correspond to the size of the image...
I purposely wanted the frayed edges...

An aside...I have several pairs of Fiskars scissors...the pair with the ribbon tied on is my fabric scissors...used only for fabric...never paper...the ribbon is a quick visual reminder for me which scissors is which...







In transferring the image to the fabric, you need a flat, firm surface...I used a scrap of birch plywood which was very smooth and even...placed on my work table, I knew that I could press down heavily...don't do this on your ironing board - its not strong enough!














Once you are done ironing (again - follow the instruction sheet on time needed) you just peel off the paper...and voilĂ 



















The image of the daisy was placed off to one side of the muslin...in the open space I stamped the word grow...



















The acorn image was sewn onto a cover of a mini journal...







































while the daisy transfer was used in the creation of a recycled garden journal cover...









































And for those whose curiosity has been piqued...garden journals and artist smocks with my unique photographic collages will be available at my booth at the Vintage Market at Swan Trail's Farm, March 28, outside of Snohomish, WA...get all the details here...



And speaking of one thing leading to another...

I haven't forgotten about my blog...it's just that I've become very enamored of Instagram...so visual, so inspiring, so quick and easy to share photos...it has become consuming...but in a good way...check it out...you'll see...

1.16.2015

A bit of blue

I've been noticing a pattern...

it seems that the color blue has been infusing my creative world...

it started during the summer...


























and continued into the holidays...


























and seems to be running wild in January...plus check out my header...blue there too...






































































and now maybe getting out of control...a bit bright for me...


























I guess I just need to look up to be inspired...call it my "blue period"...

1.09.2015

Visiting an old friend

Just before christmas, I visited an old friend...of the metal persuasion...
my mint green cast iron Singer sewing machine...

I really hadn't seriously sewn in quite a while...part of the reason due to the fact that my sewing table was piled high with stuff...unfinished projects, garage sale finds, leftover materials, etc, etc, etc...
I had a few projects in mind...so after spending a couple of days of clearing off the table completely, I was ready to go...

I love to sew...I have sewn since I was a young girl...my mother was a seamstress and my grandfather a tailor...there is a certain calmness that I feel from the rhythm of the stitching, the hiss of the steam iron, the satisfaction of creating a functional item...

So it probably comes as no surprise that sewing paraphernalia is one of the things I collect...













The past week I participated in a monthly "contest" on Instagram called 7vignettes...sponsored by Jen of Interior Addicts, it is a daily photo prompt that occurs the first seven days of each month, with the objective to photograph whatever your interpretation of the word prompt is for that day.

I had dabbled in past month's competitions but really hadn't given it my all...this time I thought I would commit to all seven days...and with sewing on the brain, I thought I would give a creative thread to all of my vignettes centered around sewing...the quest for items began...and I was quite surprised by some of the treasures that I unearthed...

Day 1 - the theme was sparkle
nothing more sparkly than rhinestone buttons, 
coupled with the sheen of metal and the shimmer of pearl...



























Day 2 - the theme was yellow
I had no shortage of yellow measuring tapes on hand...



























Day 3  - the theme was blue
the gigantic scissors that the Southern Man's daughter brought back for me when she was in Turkey was an instantaneous choice for blue...along with my vintage mattress ticking that I am hording...



























Day 4 - the theme was green
colored dressmaker's pins on white linen...simple but classic



























Day 5 - the theme was pink
I adore silk thread...especially when its wound around old wooden spools...
I was quite surprised that I had so many spools of pink thread since its not a color I use...



























Day 6 - the theme was rainbow
there's something very nostalgic about rickrack...had to supplement with seam binding for the orange and the violet...but the mnemonic of ROY G BIV stuck in my head all day...



























Day 7 - the theme was black and white
digging deep into one of my metal storage baskets I found a treasure trove of notions I had totally forgotten...
this compilation features many of them...which I will keep out so I can incorporate them into a future project...


























Having now cleared a space and become reacquainted with my old friend, we will be back together creating...

linking up with kim klassen's Friday Finds...where my find is what was hiding in my own studio...
I just had to re-discover it for myself...

and by the way...I'm having way too much creative fun on Instagram...you should join in...
and follow me...find me as fourcornersdesign...

worth a look...

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