Fake Rothko in the Redrum

Powder room redo would have been a more conventional title for this post, but what fun is that?entryMy powder room sits on the landing between my first floor and my basement.  Someone bumped out the back wall so they could fit in a toilet and the rest is history.

2You have a nice view of the basement steps from the toilet.  I wanted to give people something to look at while they rode my porcelain Honda.  Hence, the fake Rothko. To see a fake, fake Rothko, click here.

FakeRothko

My fake Rothko is a real fake Rothko.  But I digress.  Here are more pictures of the powder room.

contrastThe paint is Real Red by Sherwin Williams.  I think the other color is Adriatic Sea.

1I bought the mirror at a thrift store and painted it.  I already had a great mirror but I wanted a change.

mirror2I relocated the other mirror to the opposite wall next to the toilet and

detail1installed a coyote on a shelf by the same artist.  (I don’t know his name.  These items belonged to my sister-in-law Shari so they have a great deal of sentimental value.)

SwitchI spray painted the toilet paper holder and switch plate.   The storage box on the back of the toilet is an Amazon box covered with fabric.

towelI spray painted the towel holder, too.  And I stole the red and white towel years ago from a maid in a hotel in The Hague.   Just for this bathroom.

detail3I had a photograph I took in Singapore that had a bit of red in it.  This graces the wall on the other side of the toilet.

sink

A friend graciously installed the new faucet which weighs about as much as the sink.  You can read about that drama in this post.
pipe2I spent too much time obsessing over how to treat the ugly pipes under the sink. A sink skirt?  A cabinet?  The room is tiny-too small for a cabinet and a sink skirt would have been visually cluttering.    I finally decided to embrace the ugly pipes with polka dots.

pipe

mirrorfishThe fish used to be in the kitchen; now he is in the powder room.

Wall2My husband gave me the little mirror years ago after we had a fight.  When he gets unruly,  I take it down and threaten to use it to bop him on his keppy

Some more mirror pictures.

Window

The rear window. Redrum.

The Colorful Ways of Hilaire Hiler

Hilaire Hiler was an artist.  No, he was a jazz musician.  No, he was a psychologist.  No,  he was a color theoretician.   In fact, he was all of these things.

Hilaire Hiler was born in Minnesota and died in Paris.  He has a Philadelphia connection having studied at the University of Pennsylvania and briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After living and studying in various cities around the United States, he left for Europe around 1919 and made a living playing jazz in the Montmartre district of Paris.

The old order of the 19th Century had started to crumble by the end of World War I. Life seemed all the more precious for those who had experienced the horrors of the war first hand. People were questioning  the wisdom of old values with their rigid rules of conformity.  World War I had exposed a generation of young people to places and cultures they would never have otherwise seen and it opened them to new possibilities.  What if everything they had learned was wrong?

Paris was a Mecca for creative people in search of nurturing and support for their art.  They  could not find it at home, but the bohemian and eccentric could find community and acceptance in Paris.  African American artists of the time  could live and work in  Paris  without the constant onus of the historically ingrained racism they experienced in America. Many of the expatriates  settled in Montmartre.  Press here to watch a short video of Paris at that time.   Press here to get some idea of what Montmartre was like when Hiler arrived.  Press here for an article.

Hiler had reportedly attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to make his father happy before he clarified what was important to him, embraced his artistic side and left for Paris.   I have read varying accounts of Hiler’s time in Paris:  That he played the piano with a monkey on his shoulder.  That he owned or managed a club.  That he played the saxophone.  Our guides in San Francisco told us and several web sites confirm that he painted a number of murals on the walls of nightclubs in the district.  But none of them remain today because when Hitler invaded Paris in 1940, the Nazis embarked on a program to eradicate what they termed “degenerate” art.  Hiler’s murals were among the many works they destroyed. 

Which means that the only place left to see Hiler’s  murals (recently restored) is the lobby of the  Maritime Museum in San Francisco.   It is reported that when Henry Miller first walked into the lobby and saw the murals, he asked Hiler to teach him how to paint.

Here are some pictures.

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In his later years, Hiler’s art became more abstract as you can see from his work on this site but his exploration of color and the infinite possibilities for its expression was always a central focus in his work.

As a jazz musician, Hiler used musical such as tone and harmony to describe color.    “The harmonious relations of structure and order presented in a new way, in the nature of a continuum. Relations of degree, and those of geometric progression of color-form, replace relations of simple analogy—or in turn of contrast, by opposition. As the sequential relations of Structuralism design resemble those of natural growth, it may be termed organic. In this sense, it is like certain kinds of music.” (Hiler, Structuralism, London, Heal & Son, 1955).  From Hiler, Hilaire Biography, download here.

The Prismataruim

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 This blog post only scratches the surface of  Hiler, his art and his fascinating life.  If anyone has additional information and would like to share, I invite you to leave a comment.

New Work

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I still have a buzz from Clayathon  and am exploring some new ideas.  Here are some pictures.

 

My First Quilt


I did not plan to make this quilt.  I wanted new quilts or comforters for my bedroom but could not justify buying new ones when the old ones were perfectly fine and I was just tired of the way they looked.  Then I started searching for the perfect duvet cover.  I didn’t see anything I liked.  Then I saw quilts I liked in a catalog and thought about making a patchwork design duvet cover.  I started dreaming in patchwork and going on line and looking at quilting supplies and fabric.   That’s when I got the idea of making quilts for my bedroom using the old comforter as the insides.  Have I ever done this before?  No.  But the Internet is full of blogs and tutorials with information on how to do things.   I read and watched videos.  A lot of videos.  I read books.  The main idea I came away with is that a beginner (me) should start small.  It was then that I remembered that a baby was due in our family in a few weeks and, if I put the (sewing machine) pedal to the metal, perhaps I could make a baby quilt.

What about the fabric?  I knew the little Tater Tot was a boy.  I had some great fabric I found at Jo-Mar in Philadelphia, along with some Bohemian Chic   style tablecloths bought at deep discount.   Not appropriate for a baby boy quilt.  So I went looking on line and saw all these kits and jelly rolls and charm packs  with gorgeous color coordinated fabric meant to be cut and sewn together.  But that didn’t resonate with me.  This project wasn’t about recreating someone else’s idea; I wanted to create my own palette and  I wanted to recycle fabric.  So I  bought old clothes at thrift stores, and raided  my small fabric stash and closet.  A co-worker gave me fabric that belonged to her late aunt who had made baby quilts for her family.  That seemed appropriate to use. I brought everything home,  washed and dried it, ripped out the seams in the clothes and ironed everything. 

Plumpton helped me to “audition” the colors.  He took his job seriously!

                                                                                                                               

I decided to make the quilt five (six inch) blocks across and down and to have blocks on both sides.  Because I intended to do the quilting on my sewing machine and didn’t have a walking foot, I used a baby blanket for the inner layer.  My first step was to cut out 50 blocks, arrange them in two sets of 25 and sew each set together.

One side sewn together.


After I completed both sides, I sandwiched the baby blanket in the middle using spray adhesive to hold everything in place and smoothed out the layers.  I put in a few pins for added stability.  Then I started to machine quilt.  It was here that tips from two friends came in handy.  I had watched one video where the quilter  started machine quilting from an outside corner.  “No,” instructed Jeri Beading Yoda, “You start from the center and go out.”  And since I had never machine quilted anything,  Susie B recommended I practice on some cheap fabric first. I’m glad I did.

I used a modified zig zag stitch because I knew my quilting was going to be crooked and this stitch would sort of hide that.

 

After quilting, I trimmed everything square and sewed on the binding.

 

Here I am machine stitching part of the binding.  I did it over  about three times before I was happy with it.  I ended up machine stitching one side of the binding and hand sewing the other.  You can see this technique here

They say you should sign the quilt, so I did.  I thought it was important to mention that I sewed it on a machine that had belonged to baby’s Great Grandmother Vicky.  It wasn’t until after I signed the quilt that I remembered that Vicky had  made me a beautiful quilted jacket  on the very same machine. 

 

Here is the finished baby quilt.

Colors of Singapore

I had the good fortune to visit Singapore last week. On my first trip to Asia (Tokyo) some years ago, I learned that Eastern color sensibilities are different from those we have in the West.  You’ll see buses painted in lime green, bubblegum pink, lemon yellow and blue, brightly colored doorways, and construction equipment in shades of orange, red, green and other colors that look out of place to Western eyes. Asian color schemes make even mundane items like packaged food look exotic.

I had time to explore Singapore on foot and took these pictures at the Harbor, in the business district, in Chinatown and in the Kampong Glam neighborhood.

Kampomg Glam Boutique

Kampong Glam Cafe

Arab Street

 Public Housing

Chinatown

Office Building

Port of Singapore

Chinatown

Want to learn more?  Check out Pantonemyart, Japanese Streets, Pantone Japan,  and  Pantone China.

Felted Jewelry and Beads.

I had said in an earlier post that I had been in a felting frenzy. I made a few felted Christmas ornaments.  Here are some of the beads and jewelry I’ve been working on.

This bracelet incorporates my polymer clay and lamp work with the felted beads.

 

The bangle on the left is needle felted and for the one on the right, I sewed needle felted beads onto a ready-made felt bangle.

 

Needle felted bangles

 

Some needle felted beads

 

Earrings.  Felted earrings are so light!

 

I prefer needle felting to wet felting although for the bracelets, after I needle felt the wool onto the core rope, I like to give it a bath in hot soapy water and work it so it’s more durable.  I am experimenting with needle felting  bracelet and bead cores from polyester fiberfill (cheaper)  and using the more expensive  colored roving over them.  I have also needle felted undyed  (cheaper)  roving over the fiberfill and then have dyed the beads (you can use food coloring and vinegar) before drying and embellishing.  I have just started  cutting tiny simple designs out of craft felt and needle felting it on to the solid bead.  For one thing, you can make lots of felt dots with a paper hole punch and needle felt the dots onto the bead.

There are plenty of felting supply retailers in the Internet.  Don’t forget Etsy and eBay.  Check out the Red Barn Farm storefront while you’re on eBay.  If you’re interested in trying felting, they have some supplies that won’t break the bank.

Here is a good beginners video from YouTube.

Philadelphia Local Color

Not much  to say this week.  Here are some random colorful pictures from the streets of Philadelphia.


Color Inspired Natasha Experiments

OK, I admit that I’m brain-dead and dog tired this week, so I decided to post  pictures of one of the polymer side trips I made while I was working my way through the exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. You’ve heard of Natasha Beads and there are a myriad of tutorials on the Web on how to make them.  I made the pieces below by chopping up bits of clay I used for different color exercises, compacting them into a plug as for a Natasha bead, slicing the plug lengthwise and opening it to reveal the design.  I  rolled the  clay to make the two sections the same thickness but tried to maintain the integrity of the design. Then I cut out shapes with a tissue blade or a clay cutter.  After baking and cooling, I coated the tops with doming epoxy resin. I plan to finish them with bails or pin backs.

Here are the results.

Painterly Polymer Necklace

 

I had a lot of color swatches and scraps after  I completed the pattern and color sample exercises from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.

 

Pattern Samples Bracelet

 

I layered them onto a 1/8″ sheet of clay and rolled them through the pasta machine to see how they would look as I rolled them thinner and thinner.  The well-leached clay crumbled in interesting patterns.  The fresher clay spread in a manner similar to what you see in Maggie Maggio’s Watercolor Technique.  I continued laminating clay (see the transparent layers),  noted where the most interesting patterns were and cut out  pods.  After baking, I put the pods in polymer clay bezels, baked again, drilled and strung on buna cord with o rings and polymer tube beads.  It’s difficult to see in the photographs, but I put a layer of Envirotex Lite  on top of the colored part of the pods.  The necklace has a matte finish and a bunch of tiny dings that, in this case at least, I think adds to its appearance. 

I plan to play around with this technique and will post any interesting results. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Texture Sampler Pendant

Here is the latest in my foray into Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.  We are on the second half on Chapter Nine, “Exploring Texture and Pattern in Your Colors.”
Texture has an influence on color because it affects the way light interacts with surfaces.   And even the light from different times of day can can affect color (as anyone who’s  been disappointed with a paint color that looked great in the store knows.)     The goal of  making the Texture Sampler Pendant  was to get a hands on view of how texture and pattern affect color.  In this exercise, you are directed to make a tapered pyramid shape and cover each side with a different texture.  I had plenty of left over bits from my color scale mixing, so I had lots of colors to choose from.     I had fun making  lots of different texture samples, but I could only use four on the pendant.

Since  my collage some texture in it, most notably the bumps on the flower pot and the sea horses,  I applied little balls of clay in different collage colors to  one side of the pendant.  I  tried to pick up the oranges and the greens on the second side with the “Dimensional Oval Cutout” technique from the book. I attempted  to mimic the leaves in the collage with overlapping cane slices on the third side, and I  used slices of another cane topped with indented dots on the fourth side.


I decided not to use the option antiquing the textures with paint.   I deviated from the exercises with the “hat” of disk beads at the tip and I used slices from a striped cane to separate the segments rather then twisting two colors together.
With the exception of  faux techniques, I have rarely used textures in my polymer clay work before.  I think that’s about to change.   Here are some pictures.

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