Fiber Art Connection Begins!

I am excited and a little apprehensive with the beginning of  this new venture. Excited because it is such a great group of teachers and I think it will develop into an online community that we will all love. I am apprehensive because I haven’t been a part of anything like this and as most of you know the computer is not my strong suit.

I am recording videos and taking lots of photos. I am looking forward to putting more detail into the class over a week. When i teach this class as a one day class there is only so much you can pack into 6 or 7 hours.

Those of you who signed up for the Fiber Art Connection classes are in for a wonderful creative 10 weeks.

Ruth

 

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New Perspectives

I have been drawn to fiber since I was introduced to sashiko stitching as a 4 year old in Japan. Our landlady was a grandma who’s grandchildren did not live close by so I was “adopted” by her and she became my inspiration from an early age. She has influenced the way I work. We would sit on the floor and surround ourselves with fabrics, threads, and tools. Today when I stitch, I still build a “nest” around me and the longer I work the deeper the nest. I no longer work on the floor, my chair is much more comfy! I find I do this in any medium I work in, I start with a clean space and then bring in all the materials I need and within a few minutes I am surrounded with all the good things that I can create with. It becomes a cocoon of sorts that I use to immerse myself in creation.

I work in two studios. One is at home in a dedicated area. Everything has a place and I love it when it organized so I can find everything but it is rarely very tidy. I also work out of the Thread Lab at Cottonwood Studio for the Arts in Colorado Springs. It is a short 8 minute drive from my house and the atmosphere there is soooo inspiring! We are surrounded by other artists in all mediums and the talent in the center is amazing. I have found that my stuff and even a machine or two has slowly been migrating  there and I am doing more and more work there.

My favorite color has to be red with indigo blue as a close second. I love the brightness of red and in any variations and I wear a lot of red. In Japan red is the color of celebration. You will  find it at weddings, births, and all major holidays. I love the way it pops with other colors, especially indigo.

I think the least favorite thing when working on a piece is just after I finish it and I have to go on to something else. It is almost like leaving a friend behind.

I have always had a love of the water and ocean. I am a scuba diver from way back. I was a freshman in high school when I was first certified. I feel like I am flying under water when diving. You are weightless and it seems there are no limits. I guess I would fly under water.

I am teaching Boro the art of Tattered Rags.I spent my growing up years in Japan from the time I was 3 until I graduated high school. My father taught me a love of all art forms in Japan. I love the old indigo pieces that show wear and tear and hold the history of all who wore or used the pieces. I am going to introduce you to Boro. It is the old form of repair in Northern Japan. The Japanese farmers in northern Japan were not wealthy and fabric was precious. Patching clothing with sashiko style stitching and any bit of fabric became the process to make their clothing last many times for generations. We won’t be patching our clothing but we will create a collage wall hanging to pay homage to this art form.

 ruth boro with bell wall hanging

Fiber Art Connection has an exciting Blog Hop with all the teachers as a way for you to  get to know us all better and to enter to win a wonderful basket of goodies that we have all contributed to. All you have to do is comment on the blog posts and it will enter you to win. The more you post the more chances you have to win!

I would love to hear what you think of the indigo color. Do you like it or not and why. Just click on the link and let me know what you think. http://www.fiberartconnection.com/faqs.html.

This is a wonderful new on-line art community that I hope will become a gathering place for new friends and a new perspective of our place in the creative community.

To sign up for the 10 weeks of classes you must sign up by March 15. Check out all the details and the full line up of classes by going to http://fiberartconnection.com

I am looking forward to this adventure with you all.

Ruth

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Consolidating Blogs

I have found that trying to keep up with two blogs made me do nothing so I have moved a few posts over here. If you felt like you had already read these posts you are not going crazy, you probably did.🙂

Thanks,

Ruth

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Getting Back to My Roots

I have spent the last year since my book  Modern Hand Stitching came out trying to figure out where to go next. It is difficult to start in another direction when you have spent a year and a half working towards one goal and then all of a sudden it is finished! My question then became, now what!
Last fall when I began to develop the Boro classes, I also began to feel like I was going in too many directions. I felt like I needed to sit back, regroup and decide what my unique style really was, and begin to concentrate on developing MY style instead of trying this that and the other. Trying new things is great but not if I could not bring my own style to it. It seemed the more I tried to do the more scattered and frustrated I became.

So, as the year came to an end and I felt more frustrated than ever, I came across a post on the Slow Stitch Movement blog with Mark Lipinski. It was talking about purging the things out of your life that you didn’t need. It really resonated with me and so the first thing I did in January was to purge my studio. I mean I really PURGED my studio. I not only got rid of about half my fabric, (it went to charity so that made it even better) I had my design table cut down to better fit the space and moved my machines so I could look out the window when I work. It’s amazing how just being able to look out changes my perspective. My studio once again became my inspiration and haven. I realized all that “stuff” was having a very negative effect and was stifling my creativity. I felt as if a load was lifted off my shoulders!

I also began a routine. Every morning I hand stitch for at least 30 minutes with NO distractions. We spend too much time with noise and media bombarding us for the rest of the day. That 30 minutes becomes a way to center my day. (I do confess to checking Facebook first thing to see if I have any new grand kid photos🙂 ). It is amazing what you can get done in so little time. I have also found that I look up and it has been more than 30 minutes sometime and I have the luxury of working from home so I can do that.

Next I started water aerobics again, it gets me moving and the water is great for my joints. I encourage whatever you enjoy, just move your body parts. I found that it allows me to stitch longer! If I’m loose my stitching is relaxed and I enjoy it more.

Finally after much thought and bouncing ideas off some great friends, I realized I had travelled far from my roots. For me it was way too far. I grew up in Japan and have always loved the style and simplicity of Japanese art forms. For me, trying to be a traditional, modern, contemporary fiber artist,or any other word I could come up with was not me. I have a style that grew in me as a child and I love it! I still don’t have a description or word for it, but it is distinctly Japanese and me. When I realized that and quit trying to find a new style I began to create again. It is amazing how much thatfighting against myself was stifling any artistic ideas I had.

I have some great new opportunities coming up for me. I am excited and energized about it all!

Ruth

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SDA Retreat : Why I attend Retreats

Hello all,

The last week of May,I was able to attend a SDA (surface design association) retreat here in town at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Oh how much fun and inspiration we had!!!

Let me go back to last summer when we had the first retreat over on the western slope. We met at Color Creek Dye Studio in Grand Junction owned by Mary Hertert. What a great time we had! I had never dyed synthetics before and it is a totally different process so it was a real learning experience for me. I did find that no matter what dye you use the shibori techniques do work. I don’t think I will do a whole lot of synthetics simply because it is not my style but it is always good to learn something new and expand your knowledge. We had such an inspiring time we had already planned the one over here by the time we left to come home.

I was able to dye a piece of silk in Grand Junction that I am still gathering other fabrics to go with it. When I have everything gathered up, I will create. Anticipating creating is so exciting.

On Sunday, Liz made gelatin plates and we started mono printing. She also made a very large gelatin plate 20 x 45. Liz used soft clay as the edges to hold the gelatin. What a great idea!  We were able to print larger pieces of fabric and got some amazing fabric prints. There is a short video on my Ruth Chandler Designs facebook page if you want to see whatwe did.So much fun!

Monday we were able to finish up most of what we had started. Each of us had our own things to work on but the sharing and talking and throwing ideas around was the best part.

I cannot express enough the value of taking time with other artists and just creating. The time you spend is an investment in yourself and your art. I feel a change in the feel of the room and the creative juices start flowing and it is really exciting. Do not pass up opportunities to get together with like minded people and just create. No plan, just go with it! You will be energized and build some great and lasting relationships.

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Pattern News

One of the problems I have had is finding an economical way to get them out to the public. I had a representative from Indigo Junction in the Multi Purpose Cloth schoolhouse that Liz Kettle and I did for Roc-Lon at Spring Market. She was really interested in the Project Bag pattern and some of the other patterns also.  I am working on this opportunity and hope to have some good news soon.

She was also excited about my book Modern Hand Stitching and how we could incorporate the fun stitches in the book to some of their clothing patterns. I have one of their patterns, Great Fit Gored Skirt and have started stitching on a skirt I just made. It is going to be so fun and I love the fact that it is simple, easy to sew up and fits great! I have used several of  Indigo Junction Patterns and have been pleased with the final garment.  I am posting photos of the skirt as I make progress on Facebook so check it out.

I am having to stitch slow and take my time because I overdid it last week. One more reason to pay attention to my body when it tells me to stop painting!

Happy stitching,

Ruth

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Knowing my limits!

As most of you know, I had surgery on my right hand last August, the day after I sent in all the final samples for Modern Hand Stitching. The surgery was a great success and I am very happy I had it done, however, I now know I have limits to how hard I can push using my right hand.

I purchased a couple of great deep bookcases for my studio and since they were the old 80’s wood finish I decided to paint them white. Good idea right? Except painting a bookcase takes sanding, priming, a lot of cutting in and several coats of paint. On the second day, my hand went on strike and I had a claw for a day or two. Not good! I said all of this to say this. We need to listen to our bodies! If I had taken my time and a few extra hours of rest, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.

I hope I have learned my lesson, if not, just call me “the Claw”

Ruth

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