Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanks, Patina White!

I keep telling myself to post more often, and before I know it, almost 3 months have flown by! I'm amazed by bloggers that crank out beautiful posts, with well thought-out commentary and gorgeous photography, nearly every day.  How do they do it??  Superwomen, I guess.

First up, I have to show you what came in the mail the other day:
This and the next photo from Patina White.
One of my favorite blogs is  'Show & Tell' by the darling Beth of Patina White.  She's crazy for rusty, funky junk (a girl after my own heart!), and then proceeds to make awesome creations with it.  She's clever, funny and talented,  runs a treasure-filled shop that I long to visit in Detroit Lakes, MN, and on top of all that, she's very generous.  I just LOVED these cards she printed from her sweet little collages, long admired by yours truly --and lo & behold,  she sent me a pack of them, out of the goodness of her pea-pickin' little heart!!  The little snow fairy image, front and center, above, is my absolute favorite.
Thanks, Beth!  I don't even know ya, but I love ya!  And I believe we could be long-lost best friends, even though I also believe you might be about 25 years my junior, dang it.
That was a great little surprise, and such a sweet gesture from one cool chick that I admire immensely.  Ok, enough gushing...

I've been busy with crafty stuff myself for our 3rd annual Holiday Boutique that Chris & I do each November.  I'll post about that another time, hopefully not another 3 months from now.  Chris and I went to another great Holiday event at Al's Garden Center, where she took this picture of me (it's my Facebook profile pic now):
You know I love little old tractors, after years of my dad working for International Harvester!
And finally, want to show another series of my illustration work in progress.  Just finished this up for Patty Reed Designs for Simplicity Patterns this week, for the new little girl's line called "The Madison Collection":
As usual, my uber-cluttered desk.  Ridiculous.
Inking completed, and watercolor starting to be added.
More color added.  I wasn't happy with the uneven color on the left side, but figured the fabric print would camouflage the splotchiness.
Print added.  The client is selling the fabric as well as the sewing pattern design, so the print has to be pretty detailed and accurate.
Illustration completed.  Am I crazy, or does this look a little bit like my new friend 'Patina' Beth?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

I'm doing an illustration for a sewing pattern for a little girl's embellished corduroy jumper this week.
I thought it might be interesting to post photos of the process in progress.
By the time I thought to document the work, my ink-line drawing was complete, and some of the watercolor base applied.  Here is my crazy cluttered desk, with my reference garment and computer printouts of the fabric print I am to use.  This client (Patty Reed for Simplicity Patterns) designs the fabric as well as the garment, but nothing has been manufactured yet, so I just have prototypes to work from.
Watercolor base complete.  Next, I use colored pencils to add the print and make it come to life.

It was fun to go back to familiar territory: illustration for the home-sewing industry, my bread and butter income over the past 25-or-so years.  Except that the last few years have really been s-l-o-w for me.  I used to get hired to do maybe 8 to 10 illustrations a month, sometimes I'm lucky to get a few jobs a year! The industry is changing, relying on quick and cheap photography more and more, plus there is just a decline in home-sewing in general.  But I still love to do the artwork when I get the chance!

Monday, September 12, 2011

To everything, there is a season...

These verses have come up in conversation several times lately, and they come to mind again when reflecting on the events of 9/11.  While we remember with sadness the horrific events on this day 10 years ago and honor those whose lives were lost,  this is also a happy day in our house.  We celebrate the birth of our precious daughter, our only child, who came into our lives seventeen years after we were married.  It was a jolt to our childless lifestyle, that's for sure, but now we can't imagine our lives without her.  And now she turns seventeen (the magic number, I reckon)!  So, yes, September 11 is a date that spurs quite a dichotomy of feelings for me...

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hot Diggity Dog....I'm done!

WHEW!  Got 'em done.  Signed, sealed, delivered.  Yay!  And wouldn't the above be a great picture if it was actually crisp and in focus??  Arghghgh.
Right after I took this picture, I spent the next half hour untangling all of the chains.  Arghghgh.
Now....back to work!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dog days... dog charms

The last few days have been devoted to making a pile of charms for a charity event.  The organization is called "Fences for Fido" and 25 charms depicting their dog hero, Chopper, are being sold at their gala this Saturday night. YIKES!
I always think, "No problem, I can whip those puppies (no pun intended) out in a jiffy", and I am always WRONG!  Invariably, there are snags and interruptions along the way and now I am frantically trying to copper-wrap them all and squeeze in soldering time between a bunch of pressing work commitments.
Wish me luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm old as the hills, and I FINALLY learned how to make jam

I'm not exactly a domestic goddess.  I don't take to kitchen-related tasks naturally.  So it should be no surprise that I never learned how to make jam.  I think I made freezer jam once in the 70's, and I remember it being runny and not-so-great.  Partner-in-crime Chris, on the other hand, grew up in a very food/produce-centric Italian family, and definitely knows her way around a kitchen....and she decided it was high time I put a batch of home-canned jam on my pantry shelf.  Berry season in Oregon is a big deal and we are blessed with an abundance of raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, and blueberries this time of year, (sadly, our strawberry crops weren't so good since we had such a rainy & cold early summer) and lots of u-pick farms.  A few weeks ago, off we went to pick yummy raspberries:
my berry good friend Chris
Not sure WHAT was up with my hair that day

We went to Chris's kitchen, and she patiently showed me all the steps.
Yes, that's a snowman apron in the middle of July.  It goes perfectly with my weird hair.
And look what I ended up with!
My little baby.....I'm so proud!
A few days later, we got marionberries, and I made another batch of jam for my pantry.  Who am I?? We brought along another trusty picker on that trip, and while we were getting the marionberries,  she was piling up luscious blueberries:
That's my girl!
I've gone back two more times to load up and now we have a freezer-full of blueberries.  The idea was to have some stashed away for the winter, but we can't stop eating them.  Maybe all that jam will stay on the shelf long enough to satisfy our wintertime fruit cravings.  Maybe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Studio Tour/ "Where Bloggers Create"

You have arrived at The Mag Rag studio....come on in! I'm so glad to be participating in the "Where Bloggers Create-2011" party!  (Click on the link to visit lots of other artists' studios...there are hundreds on the tour!  See list in her sidebar).  I'd love to show you around all the nooks and crannies where I create.   I'm lucky enough to have a room dedicated solely to the artwork I do both professionally (illustration, graphic design, textile design)  and 'just for fun' (collage, jewelry, mixed media).  I am a hoarder of SO MUCH stuff, this room is pretty packed full.  My stash has also spilled over into my laundry room (broken china/mosaic), guest bedroom (fabric, fabric and FABRIC), and garage (up-cycling furniture and more), but I will spare you the tour of those scary nether regions.  What's inside this door may be hair-raising enough...
I've decided to just start in one corner and sweep around the room, showing details along the way.  Just as you enter, there is a long counter with file cabinets below and shelves above. 
The bulletin board to to the left of the shelving is a hodgepodge of stuff that inspires me, including odd forks and spoons (my husband comes in and just rolls his eyes), old game-boards (I have about 20 Chinese Checkerboards alone) (more eye-rolling), collages, photos, jewelry ...well, you get the idea. 

I frame favorite collages and keep on the counter.  These images were all reduced and made into soldered charms for friends.
Baskets on the shelves hold stamping supplies, soldering equipment, and more.  The vintage white doll case holds glass and cutting tools.  Lots of game pieces end up in clear containers.
I just had to have one of these Bailey's face cups (below) years ago from Red Robin restaurant.  Now, whenever I see one while out thrift-shopping, it comes home with me!
Continuing along the wall, I have closed cupboards plus my photocopier, printer, and computer.  More baskets and boxes are above the wall of cupboards, holding more stuff that I know I don't need but can't seem to get rid of.
Next to my computer monitor, I've hung some of my mixed-media angel paintings.  I scan the originals and from them make wood-mounted prints and cards.  I usually have a few of these paintings in the works.
The french doors lead out to a small balcony, so even here in rainy Oregon I get lots of natural light. The pennant banner above the doors is also part of my blog header, and welcomes crafters who come to the studio to attend our collage and soldering workshops.
Usually the worktable has a project or two on it, (angel paintings and soldering, or a big project spread out on every inch for my illustration and design business) and NEVER looks this tidy.  Here, my little dog Barkley can often be found, staying close to 'mom'.  For our "Collage College" workshops, this table is joined by another smaller table, and 8 workshop participants gather 'round to do some creating.  During class, it usually looks like this:
(If any of our workshop people are reading this, we hope to have a new fall schedule out soon.  The one in the sidebar is woefully outdated)
As you look at the next wall,  you see more cupboards and shelves and a HOARD of old musty books that I cannot resist lugging home anytime I find them.
I have so many old dictionaries, it is ridiculous.  But I love them for collage and they make me smile.  I also cannot say no to old sheet music, and maps, and wallpaper.  Not to mention scrapbooking paper.  It keeps stacking up, higher and higher.
The baskets hold textiles, trims and laces.  Then there are my tins full of old postage stamps (hundreds of them!).  And cute wooden boxes filled with old buttons sit below the little window.
SO MUCH STUFF.  When I die, a bulldozer will be brought in, or so I'm told (frequently).  The cupboards hold many supplies, catalogs, and bulky stuff.  Since I'm left-handed, I put small built-in drawers on the left side of my drafting table, so all my pencils and pens are easy to access.
My drafting table is the hardest thing to keep organized.  As I work, I am just MESSY, and end up doing my work on any tiny clean surface I can find.  The built in light box is invaluable, and its glass top is great for xacto-cutting.
doesn't EVERYONE keep a bowl of rusty garters on their desk??
The drafting table is definitely the workhorse area of the studio.  Big bulletin board above, with random stuff piled on. A-a-a-and we're rounding the corner almost to our starting point (phew! I'm about you?).
Next to the desk is a storage closet, and where I hang the apron I wear for classes:
More hoarding lurks behind the door, in a semi-organized state--bins full of this and that:

The inside of the door holds several illustrations done for Simplicity Pattern Company.  I spent years as art director of Daisy Kingdom, Inc., a fabric, craft, and publishing company based here in Portland, until it was bought out by Springs Industries, and they did a great deal of licensing with Simplicity.  I still do freelance illustration and design for them and other clients.
I have a lot of skill sets, but photography is NOT one of them....sorry for the lousy pics.  Definitely not my forte!

So now we are finally done with my studio tour.  And I'll leave you with one last photograph which is all too apropos:
The cut-out hand pointing into my studio aptly once read "DUMP HERE"

Thanks so much for visiting.  I know from touring your work-spaces, that I have many kindred spirits out there, and that I am not alone in my fascination for old and tattered bits and bobs and doo-dads and what-nots and everything in between.  My blogger stats tell me I get lots of visitors to this blog, but not many leave comments.  I would really LOVE to hear from you!  And now, I'm off to go peek inside your studios!

Opening Soon: my etsy shop will be offering my angel paintings and prints, as well as soldered 3-d shadow-box bird charms (seen in the upper left column). If you're interested please check back for link!