Archive for the ‘Digital Imaging’ Category

Back to the Caves

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

 

Cave screen:As you may have noticed, I haven’t gotten a heck of a lot done in the art department over the last few months.  I did revisit a whooping crane piece I’d started before leaving for my trip to Japan, but wasn’t really engaged enough to stick with it when design problems arose.  It is currently in pieces waiting for me to get interested again.

I noticed, over the past few days, that when I thought about starting or working on one of my bird pieces, I’d start drifting away.  Suddenly, any thing else was more interesting:  laundry, walking the dogs, solitaire, you name it.  Interestingly, when I thought about doing some work on my cave series, I began designing and working the logistics of the piece out in my head.  I guess I need a break from the birds for a while.

I began working out fabrics and creating new thermofax screens to use in the piece last night.  I haven’t decided whether this will be a pure fiber piece or a piece that combines fiber and etched copper like my Lascaux pieces:  Horses and Bulls I and II

Anyway, here are some of the new screens I made based on the cave paintings in Altimira, Spain and Lascaux and Chauvet, France.

I am going to try to get some screening done over the weekend.  We are getting house stuff done next week (carpeting).  I need to empty out all of our furniture for the job and move it all back again when they are through.  It will be completely chaotic here for most of the week. 

Have a great weekend!

Rust Dyeing

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I am reducing prices on my work for the remainder of 2009-Read more here

I am featuring a piece of my work every day or so through the end of the year.  Here’s today’s piece:

"Crane Series I"  2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Crane Series I" 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

“Crane Series I”

2008

By Tracy McCabe Stewart

20″x20″

Hand dyed and commercial cottons, digitally created fabric.  Machine quilted.

2010 price: $600

2009 price: $450

 

Rust Dyeing

 

Last week  my work group, the Free Motions went up to Nina’s to do some rust dyeing.  Participants included Shelley Brucar, Nina Edelman, Leah Rosenthal, Cathy Mendola and myself  They needed to cure for a week to give the rust time to transfer to the fabric.  Here’s the results:

Rust dyed fabric

Rust dyed fabric

Nina had some fabulous rusty shapes to play with.  I’ll probably over dye them.  too much white for me.

 

Here’s another:

More rust dyeing on cotton

More rust dyeing on cotton

 

the rust transfer is nudged along by adding salt or vinegar to the fabric and keeping it wet.  I used both on these.  Lots of direct transfer, but not much bleed to the rest of the fabric.

More cotton:

Rust dyed cotton

Rust dyed cotton

and finally, some cotton velvet:

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Alterations: an exhibit by the Art Cloth Network

Monday, July 20th, 2009

My gal pal, Shelley and I got a personal tour of the beautiful ArtCloth Network show at the Legacy Arts Center in Crystal Lake, IL from artist extraordinaire, Barbara Schneider (she’s in the show) before doing our photography workshop with her later that day.  Barbara led us around the mansion as well.  The venue for the show is in a fascinating old mansion that is in the midst of renovation.  The mansion currently houses a music school, artist studios and other various community arts spaces.  It’s a great space.  Read more about the center by clicking the link above.    Here are some of the more “in progress” parts of the house. 

Great wordwork all over the house

Great wordwork all over the house

 

All the old fireplaces were intact

All the old fireplaces were intact

 

more great woodwork

more great woodwork

 

This hall is a s big as my living room!

This hall is a s big as my living room!

a beautiful wardrobe in one of the bedrooms.  I wish I had this closet!

 

beautiful staircase woodwork

beautiful staircase woodwork

And pieces from the actual show.  It was really hard to shoot-odd angles and lots of windows.  As usual, I forgot to note the individual artists’ names.  Artcloth is made with numerous layers and techniques of surface design:  dye, paint, discharge, screening, stenciling, etc.  The piece below was beautiful.  Lots of beautiful copper metallics:

a great piece from the show

a great piece from the show

 

a beautiful mosiac piece

a beautiful mosiac piece

 

Barabara's Schneider's piece

Barabara's Schneider's piece

 

Shelley and Barabara look at another of Barbara's pieces

Shelley and Barabara look at another of Barbara's pieces

artcloth!

artcloth!

 

Judy Langille's pieces

Judy Langille's pieces

2009 International Quilt Festival-Chicago

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I went with my pal Shelley to the International Quilt Festival in the Chicago area (Rosemont, IL).  We spent a few hours volunteering at the SAQA booth.  SAQA had two really incredible exhibits this year:  Masters: Art Quilts with works from the fantastic book of the same name and A Sense of Time.  Unfortunately for me, both prohibited photos, so I can’t post pictures from these, but there were quite a few other great exhibits at the show.

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

There were a few with a Japanese aesthetic that I loved:

Walking with Vincent in the Plum Garden by Susan Leise

Walking with Vincent in the Plum Garden by Susan Leise

Susan is from Cedar rapids, NE.  I couldn’t find a website for her.

Another with a Japanese feel, from Japanese artist, Noriko Endo:

Radiant Reflections by Noriko Endo

Radiant Reflections by Noriko Endo

“Collaboration II”  By Peggy Brown of Nashville, IN:

Collaboration II by Peggy Brown

Collaboration II by Peggy Brown

and a detail of her work:

Collaboration II Detail

Collaboration II Detail

 Here’s a great one by Betty Busby of Alburquerque:

After the Rains by Betty Busby

After the Rains by Betty Busby

I loved this one by Ferret from the U.K.:

Herd Mentality by Ferret

Herd Mentality by Ferret

 A lovely journal quilt piece using digital imagery by Judy Momenzadeh of Homestead, FL:

Tranquility by Judy Momenzadeh

Tranquility by Judy Momenzadeh

Another lovely Journal quilt with wool roving work from Beth Porter Johson of Houston:

Fire Above the Clouds by Beth Porter Johnson

Fire Above the Clouds by Beth Porter Johnson

and this fun one from Pamela Allen of Ontario, Canada:

Three Guinea Fowls by Pamela Allen

Three Guinea Fowls by Pamela Allen

I thought I had taken a picture of Norma Schlager’s wonderful piece, but apparently didn’t.  I have pinched one fron her site  (Thanks, Norma!)  That’s Norma herself posing with it.

Salsa City by Norma Schlager

Salsa City by Norma Schlager

 

Ther were so many other wonderful pieces at the show, but I have a relatively short attention span for editing photos.  I do have to say that I thought the SAQA exhibits were particulary wonderful.   I sure wish they would allow photography!  There were some other really lovely exhibits that didn’t allow photography either:  “The Sky’s the Limit” and “Town and Country” didn’t either.  You can see some of these quilts here.  IQF  travels to Longbeach, Houston, and I think somewhere in PA.    It is definitely worth the trip.
Enjoy.

In the Spring a Young Man’s Fancy………….

Monday, April 13th, 2009

 crane-2-smaller

“Crane Series II” (C) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Digitally created fabric, hand dyed and commercial cottons.  Machine Quilted.

I took a walk with my dogs over the weekend to one of my local nature preserves, Rollins Savannah.  Rollins Savannah was restored to wetlands after years of use for cattle grazing.  Read about it here.   Our forest preserve department did a pretty amazing  job of it.   They have restored enough wetlands and nesting sites that it has a really amazing migratory bird population.   I like to try to identify birds, but I am absolutely the worst bird geek ever.   I have a bunch of bird books, but have not ever been able to identify a SINGLE unknown bird from looking at them.  I love to be outside looking at nature of any kind, so don’t really care.

 

 I was hoping to see some sandhill cranes; they are known to stop in here since the restoration.  Sadly, Chicago’s spring has been so miserable that all the birds seem to be taking their time getting here. 

I ran into the longest. slowest train in history trying to get to the park.  It did have some nice graffitti:

 

Train Graffitti 1

Train Graffitti 1

and this:

Train Graffitti 2

Train Graffitti 2

Rollins didn’t really have all that much to look at.  It’s been too cold for much plant growth.  My experience was much more auditory.  It wasn’t until I moved to a place a bit more rural that I had the joyful spring experience of bazillions of frogs calling for mates in the early spring.  I got an earful of the crooning of the what I think is the Western Chorus frog.  They are a little bitty frog, but when they have their hearts set on spring romance, they make up for their size.  They congregate in wetlands and even big puddles and can be really LOUD.  It brings a big smile to my face every time I hear them.  Here’s a snippet of what they sound like:

Frogs Looking for Love

Mutiply that by hundreds and that’s what it can sound like out here.

 

 The other really noisy courtship around here in the spring is the redwing blackbird.  They like to hang around wetlands, which we have a fair amout of.  Here’s a snippet of them.

Romancing Redwing Blackbirds

They are WAY louder than this!

My pictures on this walk were pretty underwhelming but I did like this one of last year’s cattails:

 

Last Year's Cattails

Last Year's Cattails

Hopefully, it will warm up really soon.  If not, I will have my head in the oven!

Recreating Water on Thermofax Screens

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

I am currently working on a commission piece combining tree and water elements.  I have decided to screen the water texture on to hand dyed cotton and possibly cover it with hand dyed silk organza.  I am combining this water element with  side panels that have heavy branch screenings and larger branches under silk organza. 

Side Panel-Hand dyed cotton, fused cottons under hand dyed, discharged silk.

Side Panel-Hand dyed cotton, fused cottons under hand dyed, discharged silk.

Because of this, I want a watery texture that  will convey water without clashing with all the branch textures.  Here are images I have manipulated in Photoshop to use as screens.  I will make the screens up tomorrow and hopefully, have some screened fabric to post over the next few days:

Water Screen 1

Water Screen 1

This is one where I inverted the image to have the highlights from the photo show as black.  That way, the highlights are what will come through in the screening process.

"water" screen adapted from bark photo

"water" screen adapted from bark photo

FYI, thermofax screens require black and white images, no grays.  I take photos, desaturate the color and then gradually up the brightness and contrast until I am left with a black and white photo.  The screened images will be the black part.  If necessary, I will invert the image in Photoshop, to create the desired screen.

Water screen 3

Water screen 3

Here’s one more:

 

 

another Water Screen

another Water Screen

I’ll keep you posted!

Solo Show Shelley Brucar

Monday, April 6th, 2009

My lovely  and talented friend, Shelley opened her solo show in Evanston, Illinois over the weekend.  I went to see it Saturday.  Here are some  pictures of her beautiful work.  I can’t remember the titles!

Smiling Shelley in front of one of her pieces

Smiling Shelley in front of one of her pieces

That’s Shelley’s husband Wayne holding the camera
This next one is my favorite piece of Shelley’s.  I plan to steal it:
Floating Leaves

Floating Leaves

Shelley has done a whole series of water lily pieces.  She starts from photographs she has taken and printed on fabric.   Here are some below:

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

View from above

View from above

 

This piece is one of her latest.  I think it’s called January Dream:

shelleys-january-dream1

 

and her is a sweet little needlefelt:

 

 

wheat-stalk

The show was truly beautiful.  Congrats, Shel!

Tracy, the fake farmer, dreams of spring

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Chicago’s weather is really kicking my butt right now (snow mixed with rain for tomorrow) and I am desperately pining away for spring.  Since we can’t seem to get a week of good weather here and, frankly, since my current piece is making progress at a snail’s pace I thought I would divert your attention with some hopeful pictures of sunnier seasons and more than you ever wanted to know about me through the story of my fake farmer fantasy.  BTW, the pictures really have nothing to do with the story, except they are in North Carolina.  One day I will return to art related postings.

I think these are fiddlehead ferns

I think these are fiddlehead ferns

As an introduction to these pictures, I have to tell you that my long time fantasy is that I have a parcel of land in Asheville, NC and that I live a fake farmer’s life.  I say fake because I am not really interested in getting up at the crack of dawn (I already do that), killing my own food, or depending on my country skills for a livelihood or food.  Really, I don’t even want to do really countryish things like canning or baking my own bread.  I wouldn’t mind growing a vege or two.  I do love to garden.

My Garden in Chicago. Ken built the structure, but we hadn't shingled it yet.

My Garden in Chicago. Ken built the structure, but we hadn't shingled it yet.

I want to live in  Asheville because it has an incredible arts community, gorgeous mountains, friendly people, the Blue Ridge Parkway and great restaurants like Salsa’s.  What more could an artsy, hungry girl want?

Love those falls

Love those falls

My farmer fantasies spring from my youth summer camp experiences.  They were some of the happiest, simplest times of my life.  I went to camp in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin for about 4 summers or so.  The camp had the unfortunate name of Gay Acres (GA) which was pretty terrible, but when gay began to mean gay, it was changed to the Vacation Farm.  I always thought this sounded a bit like some sort of country asylum.  These were exceptional people, but they needed to leave the naming to someone else.

Rhododendron root formation on walk through Craggy Gardens

Rhododendron root formation on walk through Craggy Gardens

GA was on a working dairy farm, but the focus of camp was horses.  We rode horses, fed horses, cleaned up horse crap, had mini rodeos, trail rides, learned to jump horses, rode bareback. and generally did all the dangerous things that kids today aren’t allowed to do today because of liability.  They even let us try to ride a cow.  In the course of camp I was bitten, kicked and stepped on by horses and developed a love for the meanest ones.  I think this was the groundwork for me later working with kids with behavior disorders and autism.  I also volunteered to wake up at the crack of dawn and milk cows and baled hay with the meanest, scariest farmer named Marvin.  Marvin scared me, but I sure loved those cows, even though cows have a perpetual case of diarrhea and you had to be careful moving around them.  The barn was a magical place with kittens and a ginormous hayloft which always felt like a secret place away from the rest of the world.

Lichen

Lichen

As an aside to this incredibly long aside, my husband and I were coming back from Door County, Wisconsin and I was feeling nostalgic about the old camp days and I made him help me track down  GA.   We went into town and asked the local librarian and she directed us to the old camp which had ceased to be a summer camp 30 years ago, but was still owned by the same family.   We drove to the camp and, even though it was now a bison farm, it looked exactly the same.  I sat there in the car and told Ken stories about all my camp adventures and got a little teary eyed.  Then I called my sisters that went to camp with me and left them weepy messages filled with nostalgia.  Oh, I should add that Ken had had the stomach flu the whole time we were in Door County and was just getting over it.   In short, my husband is a VERY good man.

Much to my husband’s frustration sometimes, I developed a deep love for my idealized idea of the rural life and being surrounded by critters of all kinds.  I have been trying fill our house and yard with critters ever since.

Bigass frog that moved onto the patio

Bigass frog that moved onto the patio

Anyway,  I fuel these country fantasies with the best magazine in the whole wide world: British Country Living which combines my love of all things farmy and beautiful stuff about the British countryside.  It is basically all about fake farming combined with quirky Britishness that will make you want to be a fake farmer, too.  My favorite feature is the monthly “Poultry Pinup” which tells you all about various breeds of chickens you can raise.  They have put me on to all kinds of ideas like rescue donkeys and gypsy caravans.  If I only didn’t live in the Chicago suburbs!   God, I love those Brits (I guess that’s why I married one).  Ken is ready to cancel my subscription.

In closing, here’s a springy piece of mine:

Crane Series II (C) 2008 21.5"x21.5"
Crane Series II (C) 2008 21.5″x21.5″

Any other fake farmers out there???????

Oh Happy Day or Playing with the Beast

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Hi all,

Tuesday afternoon my Thermofax machine arrived!  I have just gotten down to really playing with it.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, a thermofax machine allows you to make screens, which operate like silk screens, of any image you can reduce to black and white.  It creates a permeable screen of the image that you can then run paint, thickened dye, or discharge paste through and get a finely detailed image on your fabric!  It’s like magic :-). 

The machines themselves are pretty archaic.  They are actually the old “ditto” machines from the 1960’s.  They aren’t made anymore and fiber artists are competing with tattoo artists for them.  Consequently, they cost a bazillion dollars.  That is why I waited so long to get one.  On top of the high price for purchase, the are HUGE; I almost had a coronary when I saw the shipping costs.   This thing weighs as much as a first grader, so I have dubbed it “The Beast”:

Dollar store tape for scale to show ginormity of "The Beast"

Dollar store tape for scale to show ginormity of "The Beast"

 I’ve included some pictures of screened fabric so you can get an idea of the fine detail you can get with these screens:

Branch screen used on hand dyed cotton

Branch screen used on hand dyed cotton

 

I used numerous colors of thickened dye on this and the following piece of hand dyed silk organza:

Same screen used on silk organza

Same screen used on silk organza

 I am happily making tons of tree screens-because that is what I’m working on right now- and plan to use them to do a ton of discharging once the @$#%^&*% weather gets out of the 20’s.  I had done some discharging in the basement, but it’s pretty evil stuff and even with a gas mask on, it hangs in the air and gives me a headache later.  God knows what it’s doing to my dogs who are sans gas mask. 

Do I look like I have spare brain cells??????????

Do I look like I have spare brain cells??????????

Discharging is definitely outdoor work.  Tons of pictures to come, I’m sure

The Free Motions Session #1

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Today was the first work session for our new surface design work group, the Free Motions.  If you knew this group, you would know how fitting the name really is.  We decided to focus on layering of sheers for this session (and probably many to come).  Group started with a request for the rest of the group to critique a piece I am working on:

Don't ever ask these women their opinion!

Don't ever ask these women their opinion!

We then ate something.  We are always eating something!  It’s a wonder we get any work done.
Below is one of Shelley’s experiments.  It’s got a great ghost of trees in the back layer-that’s the screen printed fabric showing through.
Digitally printed organza over screen prinitng on hand dyed fabric

Digitally printed organza over screen prinitng on hand dyed fabric

And Leah’s:
One of Leah's experiments

One of Leah's experiments

Again, thermofax screen printed fabric behind a digitally printed photo on translucent silk organza

 Here Shelley used my homemade stencil to screen hand dyed fabric and put a digital print of water over it.  Pretty cool.  Nina was doing alot of playing with monoprints and I forgot to get pictures until after she had left.  Sorry, Nina.

Shelley's

Shelley's

Here’s one of mine.  This is the organza from my great stencil experiment .  it’s hand dyed organza discharged with a stencil and then layered over cotton screen printed with ancient languages.  It’s too subtle.  It would definitely work better with a less saturated piece of organza, but it has some interesting potential.  All in all, a successful day.   The point was to play and to try out some techniques, rather than make anything into a piece. We barely scratched the surface on layering and will be back at it for a few more sessions, at least.
Tracy's

Tracy's

 We did a lot of screening with metallic paints behind organza.  The setacolor metallics are pretty subtle.  I will do some more experiments with Lumiere metallic paints, which are anything but subtle and some metallic Shiva paintsticks.  Both show through organza really beautifully.

Any suggestions for future experiments are very welcome!