Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fluffy Texas Sky

These pictures were taken with JewishGuy's iPhone because my camera battery died (of course) soon after arriving in Texas.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wedding Present

Since I'm fairly certain they don't read my blog, its probably safe to post this here (also I already gave them the gift). My cousin got married this weekend and I made a painting (and framed it) to give to them as a gift from Ilan and me. I thought it would be nice to give them a separate gift since they gave us a wedding gift separate from the rest of their family.

I started out by looking at their wedding invitation and made an abstract form, then painted it how it needed to be painted. It doesn't look anything like the invitation nor does it have the same palette but I was thinking about them when I made it and this is what came out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Street Food (Austin)

Unfortunately we didn't eat any of these street food trailers because it was so hot we wanted to sit somewhere in the shade when we ate outside. This one was apparently involved in a Bobby Flay Showdown.

Another Bean Painting

One day I arrived at my Fieldwork class and someone passed along the message that the teacher had been in a minor car accident and would be late to class (our class was 5 hours long, so it is conceivable that she could be in a fender bender and then make it before the end of class). The eight of us looked at each other and said, well, let's have class without her until she gets here. Let's work on an art piece for an hour about our internships and then we will share for the last 4 hours or until she gets here.

(I am aware we are all nerds, but we only had 8 classes and most of us were dealing with some crazy stuff at our internships... it is also not too weird to think that a group of almost-therapists would be willing to run their own group when the leader is absent)

So we all got out our art supplies and began to work. Fifteen minutes later, our teacher arrives. The message had been lost in translation - there was a car accident on the highway and she was held up in traffic and was late because of that. We made our art pieces anyway but continued with class the way she usually ran it.

I really like the way she runs class, but it would have been interesting in a five hour class to spend an hour every week making a nice piece of response art and then sharing it as opposed to just the little art things I was able to make on my own time outside of class.


I was playing with some settings on my camera... this will probably be the last "sepia" picture I ever take.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We had lunch at an outdoor cafe to have a change of scenery (also we are going out of town tomorrow so we don't have any food in the house) and I snapped this photo of JewishGuy. It should be an iPhone commercial.

Then I went on a long walk around the neighborhood running errands. Of course I stopped along the way at a random store and bought a cute and inexpensive pair of earrings:

I am still experimenting with my camera. I've had this thing for three years and it was only when I gave it to the kids at my last internship that I learned about the different settings (they were pushing buttons on the camera and changed all the settings... by accident..?). Can you believe that the bottom photo was shot in a bathroom with those awful yellow lights? Somehow the camera compensated for that. I didn't know my little camera could do that! Neither of these photos required any editing after taking them, which makes me think my camera is more powerful than I thought it was.

Coming to a Portfolio Near You

I realized yesterday that my portfolio on my website is pretty outdated. Most of the work is years old, nothing from the past year of grad school where I have been creating a lot of small works and some larger works. Most of it is responding to things I am experiencing at my internship or at school, which is a good subject matter for me. So hopefully soon I will take some good pictures of my recent work and update my site.

This piece I made while I was struggling with the concept of working with children who either have already perpetrated sexual abuse or are likely to perpetrate (due to history of being a victim of abuse as well as having a violent behavior disorder). I was struggling with seeing them as "cute" while I worked with them and the horrifying thought of seeing their names in the news one day.

(watercolor and ink on paper)


All right, I think I managed to come up with an okay photo (not a very good one) of the shirobi I did last week during my bad dyeing experience. It came out okay.

I am showing it like this because it's on a raggedy piece of cloth that isn't very attractive in and of itself.

(Shirobi is a Japanese form of tie-dyeing) :)

I really like this method, which is to tie the cloth around a pole to get a really cool zebra stripe type look.

I'm not sure what I'll do with this cloth now...

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Assistant (Part 2)

I mean... this is just the weirdest pose.

With her little feet dangling off the side of tub where she sits while I work. She looks pretty comfortable.

And from this vantage point she can see inside the drawers of the bin next to her. Look at her spreading her toes!

JewishGuy had to test to see how comfortable she REALLY is. Well, this isn't the happiest face, so I don't know. She couldn't quite understand why we were giggling so much.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not a Good Day to Dye (pun!)

Today I tried my luck with printing the dyes. I had put it off too long. First I had to make the sodium alginate thickener, then I had to mix all the dye concentrates, then I had to make some thickened dye to print with. Okay all this prep is done. And yesterday I painted some screen and put the screen filler in and washed off the screen so I had a nice stencil.

Then I finally was able to print. And something terrible happened.

Somehow the dye reacted to the screen filler and it totally degraded the filler until it was gone. GONE. This was thickened PRO MX dyes with Speedball Screen Filler. (I hope somebody googles that combination and comes to my post so we can chat about previous experiences because so far I can't find anything on the internet about it).

So I scrapped my screens and just painted on the fabric with the rest of the thickened dye. The above picture was taken after I painted over it. And the below picture is just another piece of fabric that I painted on since I didn't want to waste dye.

I used a tape resist and it made some interesting patterns in my dyes. I will wash them out later to see what happens.

So then I was pretty disheartened. I decided to do some shirobi so the night wouldn't be a loss. I tied some fabric to some pvc I bought and stuck it in a bucket in the basement and it will stay there until JewishGuy and I get back from the movies tonight. Maybe some pictures tomorrow if the fabric turns out okay.

Here's hoping...


I have been talking about it with JewishGuy when it dawned on him that the isopropyl alcohol I added to the sodium alginate could be the reason for my dye disintegrating the screen filler. I tested it out and it does seem to pull the filler off. Also I googled this particular combination of words and came up with other people who (joyously) discovered the ease of using isopropyl alcohol to clean screens as opposed to harsher chemicals.


I mean, yay, that is interesting. But boo, I have a whole tub of sodium alginate that has alcohol in it that I now can only use if I use contact paper on my screens. The directions for the alginate say to use alcohol if you plan to keep the alginate for a long time because it will prevent it from smelling (it already smells but it gets to smell really, really bad if you let it sit for a while). So this method proved my undoing. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and kind of a lot of urea pellets.

Oh well.

My Assistant

Every successful artist needs an assistant, I think.

Here we can see Lilly overseeing the drying process on my new screens. Sometimes she can be found on my art table or at her special post on top of two plastic tubs next to my art table (this is where she sits when I do something with chemicals her paws should not be in, like paint).

Any illusions of a neat art room are now dashed, I guess, as you realize I am working in the guest room that also has the kitty litter.

Also, this scoop-coater that I bought leaks, as evidenced by all the stupid brown dots all over the newsprint paper. LEAKS! It is brand new and it wasn't cheap and it leaks. I only hope that the screen filler which is now drying in the cracks that I couldn't reach is now going to keep it leak proof in the future.

I hope to be dyeing some fabric by this afternoon... I am so nervous to do it, like my first time printing from a screen. I think I waited three weeks in my screen printing class before I actually printed from the screen, saying I was "prepping" my sketches and ideas or something. Well, here I am "prepping" my fabric and my screens. I realized that since I have to pay for laundry I have to wash things in bulk so when I print I have to print a LOT and also I have to do it in the basement. So I am hoping to do it this afternoon. Ugh, the basement is so scary.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Little Plastic Charms

I have been having fun with this great shrinking plastic film I bought ... aka ... SHRINKY DINK FILM! I made a bunch of charms and put them up on etsy. I'm not really sure anyone would want to buy them, but why not? And it was really fun to do, so I'm going to keep making them. However, next time I am going to buy some non-clear shrinky dink film because clear is cool but some of them are hard to see when you don't have light shining through.

This gefilte fish charm is about an inch and a half long, but this picture is HUGE.

And here you can see the rest of what I have and exactly how big they are!

See some more detailed shots on my etsy page.

I just love making these so I am definitely, definitely going to make more. I will get the hang of this clear film someday.

(This is my biggest updated because I am waiting for screens to dry... so no new prints produced yet)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Travels in art land

I haven't made any art since last week since I have spent much of my time mentally and physically preparing for the fabric painting. By mentally I mean I sleep in late, then eat breakfast slowly while watching the comedy central and checking my email before finally leaving the house to pick up supplies. By physically I mean I have been to many different stores on the hunt for the supplies that I need.

Also I emailed my fabric printing teacher for some tips. Basically, I will have to work in the basement and keep the chemicals away from the apt (except the sodium alginate, which isn't toxic and I hear some people use it in vegan toothpaste). This makes me sad in a way because I don't know what this means for future fabric painting in an apartment that might not have such basement access.

So now I have all my supplies except the dye and dye-related chemicals, which have been ordered and hopefully will arrive soon.

Today I had two exciting shopping experiences.

#1: Apparently Mondays the thrift store puts everything at 50% off. This meant there was a ridiculous number of people at the thrift store. It was a nut house. But I couldn't find exactly what I needed, but what I did find only ended up costing a total of $2.50, so if it doesn't work it's okay.

#2: I LOVE the fabric store. It is a candy land. It is the remnants of four different stores, you can tell it used to be four stores because the entrance to each of the four sections of the one big fabric store is just a doorway... so there are four separate areas of the store. I went to the upholstery section to get my foam, a 2x2' piece ended up costing the same as a large cheap mattress pad from Target (about $17). I am a little upset about that. But I bought it anyway because it is good quality and if I am going to do it I want to do it right and not get some cheap mattress pad foam and try to make it work.

Tomorrow I am going to put my fabric stretching station together and see what I can do while I wait for my dyeing stuff to arrive.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Branching out

Recently I posted on my facebook/twitter that I had new things in my etsy shop and someone made the comment that she was tempted to commission a tallit from me.

And I thought, well, why not print on fabric? The supplies aren't very expensive and I took that class last winter... I could definitely do this in my apartment. So I bought a starter kit and some of the other supplies, tomorrow I'll go to Home Depot to get my fabric station together and then to the fabric store for some material, and I can start printing later when my dyes show up!

I want to make things like challah covers, skirts, t-shirts, bags, etc. Mostly for fun, but some things to sell.

Anyway, excited!

Things I need for this project...
  • soda ash
  • MX reactive dye
  • synthrapol
  • urea
  • sodium alginate
  • twine
  • pvc pipe
  • large piece of wood board
  • soft foam
  • staple gun
  • large pitcher
  • large air-tight tupperware
  • large cookie sheet
  • at least 3 buckets
  • "T" pins
  • fabric
  • screen printing ink for fabric
  • screen filler & resist
The first things I ordered online for very cheap... the rest, most of it I can get at a hardware store, walgreens, thrift stores, and fabric stores. The screen printing ink and screen filler / resist I would have to break down and get at the art store.

I want to figure out a way of doing most of this in my apartment as opposed to the basement, because if I have to work in the basement it means that I will probably only be able to do this here and next year in another apartment there is a good chance I won't be able to make this work (even if space isn't an issue). The biggest issue is not staining a sink that would never be used for food prep, ie: the bathroom sink or tub. Most bathroom sinks are the white porcelain and I'm pretty sure the dye would stain it if I dumped a bucket of dye down the drain. The sink in the laundry room is ideal because it's already stained and old and doesn't matter. But what would I do if I didn't have that sink?


The foam I am looking for I think can be called "upholstery foam." At the hardware store they had carpet padding, which might have worked but there was way too much and they wouldn't cut it down.

Thrift, fabric, and art stores tomorrow! Hopefully my dyes will come in soon...
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