Archive for the ‘Mixed Media’ Category

Inspiring Post from Artist Jeanne Beck

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

One of my favorite fiber artists, Jeanne Beck, had a beautiful post this morning about creativity.  Beside  her own commentary, it includes 2 short videos made by John Coffeen featuring artist John Frame and his creative process.  The videos have one of the most beautifully articulated explanations of the making and meaning of art and the artistic process that I’ve heard.  Very, very inspiring.  Thanks, Jeanne! 


Take a look here

Hitting the Restart Button

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Hi all,

I am back.  Our move out to California has had a much longer settle in time than I would ever have imagined possible.   My life was pretty much in a holding pattern for the first 3 1/2 months out here.  Among other challenges, I was never able to fully unpack and my dyeing workspace never materialized.  I don’t want to dwell on the drama of it, but we have moved for a second time.   We are now in a great place, my work areas are functional and I am ready to get on with living and making some art.


I had been working on cave pieces prior to all of this life upheaval, but am feeling very drawn to making things with nature images right now.  Making things that reconnect me to a feeling of peace seem just right.  I am busy screening pieces with vat dye and will steam my pieces at the end of the week.


Maine Pond (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I have been spending time at a great local studio:  A Work of Heart and took a resin class.  I’ll be experimenting with using this new resin to incorporate mixed media into my pieces.  I’ll post pictures.


Dragonfly (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Thanks for sticking with me!



Tracy vs. Technology

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Well, by my lack of posts, you can probably guess who’s been winning this one.  I finally got the pictures off my phone, but found I had oodles of other pictures on there like movie promo stills and headlines off the BBC.  Weird.  Anyway, when I tried to delete them, I ended up copying them endlessly.  I tried to make a folder with the photos I’d actually taken and deleting the rest, but ended up deleting  some of the photos I meant to keep.  I did manage to save some, so here goes.


I had a wonderful lunch recently with Margie Trembley from the Needle Arts Guild in Chicago.  She was out for a wedding in San Jose.  Beside being an artist herself, Margie and her husband, Glenn have a great gallery in Springfield, NE called Springfield Artworks


Margie introduced me to fiber/bead artist, Shirley Cook.  I took some pictures of Shirley’s beautiful work:

Felted Vessel (C) By Shirley Cook

 I took these at the restaurant table with my phone camera, so excuse the backgrounds:

Felted Vessel (C) By Shirley Cook


This one turned out a bit blurry:

Felted Vessel (C) By Shirley Cook

I’m sad to say I managed to delete the other photos I had of Shirley’s work.


I am setting up my raised bed vege garden this week.  I’ll post pictures, provided that my phone cooperates:-)

Door County Art Crawl

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


I am currently in beautiful western North Carolina, but was in Door County for a few days last week.  Door County is small, but they have a really high caliber of artwork in the galleries there.  There are enough tourists with an eye to buy to support the area’s galleries.  I visited some of my favorite galleries while I was up there.  Unlike my previous visit, this time, I had my camera! 

My favorite galleries not only have stellar artwork, but the owners have created these beautiful spaces to showcase art; often utilizing old barns or outbuildings and creating beautiful gardens to surround or display the artwork.  The use of space is as impressive as the roster of artists.  For me, they are a haven; a place of peace.  I step out of the car and I feel myself immediately quiet and pay attention.

I hope to create an artist space of my own as imaginative as these galleries in the future.

My gal pal Nina’s husband, Richard Edelman had a beautiful sculpture exhibit going at the Woodwalk Gallery.  It’s a great space and they had a gorgeous setting for his work:

Richard Edelman

 Here are some shots of the gallery space.  Here’s a converted corn crib:

Converted Corn Crib (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Here is a shot of the ceiling:

Corn Crib Ceiling (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

 My favorite gallery of all is the Edgewood Orchard Gallery.  First of all, they are the sweetest people on the planet.  All of them.  The owner, Nell, is an absolute peach.  They have a beautiful space with a series of gallery bulidings connected with patios and a beautiful sculpture garden:

Edgewood Orchard Gallery"s Sculpture Garden

The converted barn serves as the main gallery:

Edgewood Orchard Galleries

here’s another shot:

Patio leading to additional gallery space

and here is some of the incredible artwork:

Sculpture by David Valentine

and a beautiful piece by William Jauquet:

William Jauquet Sculpture

and a lovely piece by James G. Moore:

James G. Moore

Here are some other great galleries I would recommend:

The Blue Dolphin House for great garden art,  K Allen Gallery for glass, and the Fine Line Designs Gallery for both sculpture and indoor art.

I will post NC pictures when I return to Chicago.  I can’t seem to get them off my camera!

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!

Big in Japan-More Preparation

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Here are the scarves I started a few days ago.  I will bring them all to Japan and let my daughter choose the one that I give to my daughter’s host mother.  I posted about this yesterday here.

I thought the scarves needed another layer of vat dye, so I screened an indigo and grey mixture over them.  I got better haloes today, too.  I think this one below is my favorite.  There’s a real hot spot from my camera’s flash.  The color is much more even:

Procion MX and vat dyed scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

 Here’s the second scarf:

Tree screened scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

The final scarf turned out all right, but the new screeend flowers turned out really blurry.  It was all the same vat dye, so I don’t know what happened.  I like the look of it anyway:

Procion and Vat dyed Scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Big in Japan-Trip Preparation

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

I am headed out for a 10 day trip to Japan this Wednesday.  My daughter has been finishing her last year of university in Kobe and staying with a host family there.  she has a minor in Asian studies. 

Big in Japan is a fun song from the 80’s by Alphaville.  It’s one of the worst music videos ever; complete with Robin Hood sort of outfits that don’t really have much to do with Japan, as far as I can see.  See it here.   We hum it around here because I am 6’2″ and going to the land of 5′ people.  I’m guessing I won’t exactly blend in. 

Right now, I am trying to get gifts together for Ashley’s host  family.  The Japanese have a somewhat complicated ritual of gift giving.  Here’s what I know:  gifts from/related to your geographical location are appreciated.  The presentation is really important, too.  I will wrap my presents in hand dyed fabric to try to make them extra special.  

I am from Chicago, so I am bringing them a book on Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.  I am also making a hand dyed scarf for my daughter’s host mother.   Apparently she wears very plain, dark clothing, so I am trying to do something pretty subdued.  I started by dyeing silk scarves blue grey and screened them with vat dye solution.  Here are the results form the vat dyeing.  They will probably get a layer of fabric paint before they are complete. 

Here’s a picture.  I am having a hard time getting the colors true because the silk is so reflective.  I barely got any haloing on these-too bad.  She wants plain, so I won’t add another design layer, but may screen some paint to make the effect more monochromatic.  

Hand Dyed Scarves by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Reddish Egret Progress Notes

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

I have been working away at the head of my latest wading birds piece; this one based on a preening reddish egret.  I haven’t done any shading work to add depth to the head, but the feathers are placed:

Progress on Reddish Egret Piece by Tracy McCabe Stewart

The feathers are all hand dyed fabric, the beak commercial cottons.  On to the body next!

Torches and Hammers and Wire, Oh My!-Mary Hettmansperger Workshop

Monday, February 8th, 2010
I would have gotten these up sooner, but this was the maiden voyage of my new camera (Nikon Coolpix S570) and I couldn’t remeber where I put the manual.  It’s a pretty great little camera.  It has more megapixels than my big Nikon and it’s about the size of a pack of cigarettes.  The pictures are a little washed out; I had to resaturate them in Photoshop, but the detail is awesome.  enjoy!
Combined techniques by Mary Hettmansperger

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in a workshop with the incredible Mary Hettmansperger; learning metal techniques to combine with fiber art.  I was an action packed two days.  I learned a ton and we had a fabulous time.  Mary is an incredible teacher:  very, very funny and really informative.  I cannot recommend her highly enough.  If she comes to your town, run to take classes with her.

The course was on making mixed media art quilts, but most of us concentrated on learning the metal techniques, rather than creating a finished product.  I started in the art world making jewelry, so some of the metal working stuff was review for me.  Mary uses basket making techniques in her metal work and that was all new (an great) stuff.  Here are some action shots of the workshop:

We learned a great stitching/looping technique for attaching things like rocks.  We worked with bth 26 guage wire and waxed linen.  It’s really beatiful and sturdy when done well like Mary’s pieces:

Looping technique piece by Mary HettmanspergerAnother beautiful one by Mary:Mary Hettmansperger piece

Cindy Heineman had a gorgeous application of this stitch on her art quilt using regular thread:

Rock stitching by Cindy Heineman

We also learned a twining technique:

Twined piece by Mary Hettmansperger

 Here’s one by Shelley:

Twining by Shelley Brucar

Combined twining and looping by Mary Hettmansperger

Stana Marie Coleman used the loop technique on this pretty piece:

Metal work by Stana Marie Coleman

 We all had fun with the torches and hammers:

Fun with Fire

Joan Bratton did some gogeous weaving on this piece:

Gorgeous stuff by Joan Bratton

 Mixed media quilts by Shelley Brucar:

Graffiti by Shelley Brucar

A mixed media mini quilt by me:

Mini art quilt by Tracy McCabe Stewart


 Everyone made peapods.  I can’t remember who did this beauty.  I think it beloged to Sheila Shaffer-Hirsch:

Peapod Mania!

The Upside of this Endless Winter

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Hi all,

We had a really cool frost a few weeks ago that created lovely formations on the trees, etc.  My pals tell me it’s called a hoarfrost.  Here are some pics of my backyard:

Frosty Willow Tree

 You can’t see it as well here, but my magnolia got some, too:

Frosty Trees

Frosty Chokecherry

I had my Needle Arts guild meeting today and Mary Hettmansperger was our speaker.  She does unbelievable mixed media work:  baskets, jewelry, textiles and a cross over between all media.  Truly gorgeous stuff.  I’m in a class with her for the next few days.  I’m hoping to take tons of pictures.  Check out her work here:

I drove up to my house today to see a red tailed hawk munching on a squirrel on the sidewalk.  He let me stare from the car, but as soon as I came out with my camera, he flew off.  I sure wish I could have captured him on film, but camera or no, it was definitely an awesome gift for the day.