Leatherworks

Every once in a while, I get a yearning to make something more…. 3D than a painting. Not that painting isn’t wonderful, but it’s also a great feeling to make something tactile, something made to be touched. It’s why I printed up those tote bags a few weeks ago. But I wanted to go even further. I wanted to make something from scratch, like I used to. When I was in high school, and for a bit in college, I made little stuffed animals out of felt. Apples, mermaids, foxes, pet rocks, goldfish, all sorts of things. And I’ve missed the feeling of drafting a pattern, cutting out the pieces, and putting them together. Hence, there little guys.

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Little leather cat wallets! I’ve had so much fun figuring out the double needle sewing technique, painting the eyes on, experimenting with different kinds of leather from the local supply shop. And I have plans for other little critters up my sleeves.

Jewelry Box

I’ve been on a gem kick lately. It started when my boyfriend and I decided to get membership passes to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. Every time we visit, there’s one spot I have to go- past the oarfish and the coelacanth, tucked away in the back of the mineral hall, are a few cases with raw and cut gems, side by side. There’s something wonderful about being able to see them together, the rough dramatic shapes and the smooth polished ones, each beautiful in their own ways. The last time we went I photographed my favorites, and settled back in at home to paint them.

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I like them as stand alone pieces, but also wanted to try putting them together. I also went back and added plaques around their names.

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Bigger pictures of the repeats can be seen here. I had my swatches printed on a super soft, silky fabric. I just wish I was better at sewing, I’d made myself a gem dress in a heartbeat. And probably wear it to the museum.

 

 

 

Treasure Chest

I recently had the honor to work with Light Grey Art Lab again and create a collection of jewelry for their current show, The Omnibus Treasury. I’ve worked with them three times before, and they consistently come up with the coolest ideas for shows (my posts about the last three shows I participated in are here, here, and here).

Here’s the artwork I did, inspired by melanistic jaguars and protea flowers:

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And here’s the beautiful jewelry collection, titled Jungle Lord, they made out of it!

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Sun Powered

I’ve had a stash of Lumi’s Inkodye for a few months now, but finally got all the materials together to use it about a week ago. It’s pretty amazing! I’m still experimenting with it, but the process has been a lot of fun.

Step 1: Have something that you want to print. I went with some whales I painted a few weeks ago.

ImageStep 2: Print out your image on a transparency. This is where I got a little hung up, as I had to buy new ink cartridges and find the right kind of transparency for my printer. The transparencies should be printed with the black and white inversed, like a film negative.

Step 3: Put some Inkodye on your fabric! But not too much. Just enough to get the fabric damp and cover the area you want covered.

Step 4: Place your transparency on top of the fabric, and get that baby out in the sun! The fabric will start changing almost instantly.

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The blue started to appear after about a minute. I have my fabric and transparency sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass and held together with bulldog clips, so there’s no way for things to accidentally shift during the exposure time.

Step 5: Wait. Seriously, wait. It’ll take about 15 minutes to get the strongest color. I brought a chair and book outside to keep myself busy.

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Step 6: When you can’t stand it any longer, bring your fabric back inside to a place where sunlight can’t reach it, take off the transparency, and start rinsing. I ended up having to wash my fabric by hand for a few minutes, then run it through the wash twice to get all the leftover dye out. Which is something you really want to do, unless you’re cool with your fabric turning blue when you take it outside.

Step 7: Be proud! You made something cool!

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I made one for myself, and a few for Etsy. I’ve gotta say, they’re great for small grocery store runs.

Le Chat Méchant

Yesterday, my roommate posted a link on my Facebook to a competition to design a scarf. Pretty cool. The catch? The deadline is tomorrow.

Bring it on.

First, sketch. The theme for the contest was “words”. Inspiration could be a single letter, a single word, or a quote. I chose “Le Chat Méchant”. The Wicked Cat.

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Next, get to working on the real deal!

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Things changed a little bit when I started drawing. I liked the idea of a border of eyes, but the scale didn’t look right. So I made them smaller and threw in the rest of the face. I liked the shapes the ears made.

Here’s another in progress photo, with a better view of the ears.

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After finishing the base design, I did some text and extra shapes on a separate piece of paper, then scanned everything and opened it up in Photoshop. Wham bam a few dozen minutes later, I was finished! (Honestly, I just forget to take in progress screencaps when working on the computer).

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Here’s what the layers looked like:

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Their styles are multiply, overlay, screen, and multiply again.

Not too shabby in less than 24 hours! Here’s a link to the company holding the contest. Wish me luck!

Usagi Bugeisha

You guys, I am so excited for the new Sailor Moon show coming out in July. A few copies of my little sister’s sailor moon comics were my first introduction to manga, and are what got me interested in art in the first place. I even dreamed of being a comic artist for a while! I’m sure if I looked around, I could find some of my old comics, but I’m not sure if I want to. Anyway, I’ll be at the Sailor Moon tribute show in Anaheim with bells on. Even though I’m not participating, I thought it would be nice to do my own tribute to Usagi and the series that got me started.

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Sailor Moon as an Onna bugeisha, or female samurai. I went back a little later and added some gold accents. She’s completely painted in ink, with a few gouache touch-ups. The more freedom I give myself to mix colors, the easier painting with ink becomes. I wanted to emulate some of the lines and shapes found in old woodblock prints of warriors.

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Edit: I’ve had a few inquiries, so I’ve made the original painting and prints available in my Etsy shop.

 

 

Team Sansa

I, like so many others, am a big fan of Game of Thrones. But unlike a lot of those fans, I kinda love Sansa. Hell, I could see her maybe possibly even winning this whole thing.

What I love about Sansa is her innate humanness. She makes very human choices, and makes very human mistakes. Whenever people talk about their favorite characters, or who they would be in the GoT universe, everyone thinks they would be Arya, or Tyrion; a total badass. But I bet that if many of us were thrown into this chaotic world, we would flounder a bit, and need some time to get our footing. And maybe never be that great at playing the game. Like Sansa.

Because of her humanness, Sansa is one of my favorite characters to draw. She has been dealt such a bad hand in life. Yesterday I finished a painting of her; it’s really a speculative piece, and who knows if it’ll ever happen. I have a feeling it will though. After being away for so long, Sansa will eventually return home to Winterfell, only to find that her home is no longer there.

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