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White Pocket Rocks (Pun Intended)

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Finally. An adventure to talk about. It’s been so bloody hot here and we’ve been so busy we haven’t really gone out into the desert, but I freaked and asked my hubby if we could please have a day together. I really wanted about a week, but that wasn’t even an option. So, we loaded up the dogs and a picnic and headed for White Pocket–a round trip of about 350 miles. This old body has a hard time riding that much, but it was worth it.

We arrived at camp and set up the table and chairs and broke out the food. I cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save on my efforts. We had ants and this little guy as visitors while we ate.stink bug

My sister loves little things, so I took the picture for her.

After lunch, we headed out for the white rocks. Unfortunately, my shoes hurt my toes, so when we reached the sandstone, off they came. The really cool thing about it was the tanajas that were filled with water. Neither I nor spell check know if that is spelled correctly, but they are indentations in the sandstone that fill with water. Some of them had tadpoles in them and others had had enough water that cattails were growing.

Molly, the black dog, took advantage of the cool water and began wading through all the tanajas she found. But our Max only got his feet wet.white pocket Molly When my feet hurt, I just dipped them into the water. It was a really lovely adventure! We also encountered rain, a welcome relief in the desert, which is ever changing. rain stormSo, I’d say the adventure was a success. I loved it, hubby loved it and the dogs had a great time. The scenery is well worth the drive.white pocket sceneSo, I guess I’d do it all again. Maybe next time we can camp there and explore some more.

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Time To Focus

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When I started this blog, I intended to use it to help market our art. Of course, earning a living quickly got in the way. And my husband sits at the table and calmly says, “YOU need to find a way to sell our art online.” I just nodded. Inside I seethed. “I” need to find a way? I need to find ways to keep money coming in that don’t consume me. But, I agree. I love what we do and I do want to market it.

Right now, though, I am working on a book, which takes up a good deal of free time. I guess that means it isn’t free. I also have an Interior Design business, I teach yoga and strength training to seniors and I freelance for our local paper. Let’s not even talk about the stuff we do everyday, such as cooking.

Anyway, the point of that rant was that I am returning The Adventure of Art to just that. Just maybe I can start another blog or blogs on the things that also interest me. I hoped to do that here, but it didn’t work, and I need to focus. Imagine that!

Right now I am making leather flower bracelets for The League of Women Voters officers. It’s a great little commission and I know the ladies personally, so I’m quite happy to do it. Also, I was able to place some pieces with a gallery in Kayenta, a little red rock community between my home and St. George, Utah. The bracelets are similar to this one.leather flower bracelet

All that aside. It’s spring already in the desert. You should see my cactus blooming. And I’m itching to get out there and have a little adventure of my own. I guess that means a walk up the wash with the dogs. Not really a bad deal. Before long it will be too hot to even venture outside with the intent of spending any time there. I believe I posted a picture of the cactus blossoms, but just in case I didn’t, here’s one for you to enjoy.Cactus flowers 2

While I was looking for a picture, I came across this one I thought you might like too. These guys are wild burros and roam the desert. In 19 years, I have only seen this herd. They let me get quite close, but I was cautious. Burro

Back to art:

My question to you, readers is this: Do any of you use Etsy to sell your products? If so, how is that working for you? Or do you use Artfire? Same question. I know I need to get cracking on that along with all else I do. But I want to make the right choices. I look forward to hearing from you.

I Apologize

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Sorry to have been absent for so long. I have had family and computer issues, some of which are resolved.

We did get a little trip to the desert with my daughter and granddaughter. My daughter isn’t much of an outdoors person, as she was raised in Florida. Her idea of hiking is a day at the beach with a good book. So, I am teaching my granddaughter to hike safely. She is pretty good at it and loves the adventure.

My latest adventure is finally completed. It is a little clutch purse. It started out as a piece of vintage kimono fabric that I thought would be a great pendant for a necklace. Alas, it was too big. Anyway, he finished result is pretty spectacular. Now I am making felt beads, an idea I got from Paula Best. I haven’t photographed any yet, but check our her site. They are pretty cool, and each one is different.

I will try to do a better job of keeping up with this blog in the future. Meanwhile, here is a photo of the purse.Image

Sometimes It’s About Rocks

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How cool is being able to post from the home page. I love this!

Since we are still trying to get out into the desert–the weather hasn’t permitted–I will continue with info on fabric arts! I not only make jewelry, but also make masks and help with the cliff spirits. That is where I am headed (to the craft table) when I finish this blog and write my article for the paper.

All our art is created from recycled materials, or reclaimed materials, in as much as possible. With jewelry, I do have to buy certain things and I just can’t resist rocks–you know, the kind that are mined and cut and polished. Well, that’s not entirely true. They can be just any old rocks that are lying about in the desert and happen to catch my eye. I even incorporate rocks into the cliff spirits and my jewelry. I made an awesome cuff bracelet with a found rock as the focal point.

I once picked up a piece of rusty metal and made a necklace out of it. Here’s a picture.

Okay, so I haven’t figured out how to insert a picture with text. I can get it in, but I can’t add text after it. So, it’s at the end of this piece.

It’s such fun to find objects and creating something with them.  When finished, you have a story to tell. The metal is from an old mining site here in Nevada that we visited. I believe that is where we saw a rattlesnake as big as you’d ever want to see one, and a little too close for comfort. He was cold, though, and didn’t bother us.

I find my fabrics, trims and yarns in various and sundry places. Some come from my discontinued books (I have an interior design business), some come from friends and family, some come from yard sales, and some come from the local fabric store. I just love fabric and sometimes a pattern just has to come home with me. It sort of jumps into the cart as I pass by. How can I not give it a home?

Sometimes, I create a unique fabric with some of the methods I’ve described previously. There are many more ways to create unique fabrics and they can be made with objects you probably have at home or that are easily found.

I have collected stamps at yard sales with the intent of making designs on fabric. Stamps are easily procured. Or if you’re feeling really creative, you can cut a simple design on an eraser–one of those tan ones–and carve the design out so as to leave raised places on the eraser, making it a stamp.

Using acrylic paint, put a bit on a plate. Using a foam paint brush, brush some to cover the stamp surface. Now, you can press the stamp onto the fabric. Press hard and don’t rock. Do this all over the fabric until you are satisfied with the results.

Or you might try the same thing with paint sticks and a stencil. Transfer the paint from the stick to a brush and then paint over the stencil pattern. 

Just remember to let it dry thoroughly, and once dry, iron the back to set the paint. You can paint directly onto fabric, which I do with metallic paints to embellish existing prints. I usually do this after I’ve rolled them because I think you get better results this way.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas because next week I’m going to explain how to roll them. It’s pretty basic, but it does take practice and good fine motor skills.

Have a great weekend. Maybe we’ll get to go roaming in the desert after all.

 

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Texture is the Trick

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The appearance of texture is what makes fabric really zing! Do people still use that word? Anyway you can do some really awesome stuff with a little bit of imagintion. You can simply paint design with acrylics, tea juice or fabric dye, but remember that you will be cutting it into little rectangles or triangles. I prefer to do something a little less well defined, like tie-dying for example.

How about scrunching–sort of a tie-dye technique. You’ll need metallic acrylic paints, fabric, rubber gloves, foam brush, spray bottle filled with water, newspapers or newsprint, and iron and ironing board.

Here’s where the creativity comes in. You can use a piece of fabric that is already colored for this one. Then use the basic method I talked about in the previous post to coat it. While the silk is still wet, wad it up into a ball starting from the middle f the silk. Then carefully unfold the fabric and rewad ittwo or three times. Each time you wad it you add more texture. After the last “wadding” leave it wadded up to dry. As always, iron the back side, once it is dry, to set the paint.

Or you could salt the fabric. You’ll need the same basic ingredients as above with salt added to the list.  This time, you’ll want to put the fabric on a sheet of plastic. You need to have water sit in puddles for this to work. After painting, while the fabric is still wet, sprinkle salt on the surface. Then spray just a little bit of water on the fabric. Don’t drench it or you’ll ruin it. Let it dry completely, brush off the dried fabric and iron the back side of the gabric.

Now you’ve got two cool techniques for making texture on fabric.

With that done, I’d like to talk about inspiration–the best part of creativity. Our art is inspired by this beautiful desert we live in. We are surrounded by mountains and hills that have hidden treasures. These treasures are in the form of really wonderful red rock that is painted with petroglyphs. Some of these were done 10,000 years ago and I always get a sense of wonder when I pick up a piece of chert. I realize that it was handled by the ancient ones as they created arrow and spear heads.

Then I see the figures on the wall created by these ancient humans and wonder what their lives were like. No one really knows what the figures mean because there is no rosetta stone to break the code. We can only guess.

Where we often picnic.

I’m going to insert a photo that either my husband or I took, but here is a great link:http://indra.com/~dheyser/ . If you search rock art or petroglyphs, you can find tons of info.

I love the color here and they tend to be what I use in my jewelry, although I do use other colors that I think people might like.