Archive for September, 2007

First Thoughts and Experimentation – Those Cliffs

Cliff Study

Iris Karp of Attached Inc! recently sent me some of her new Mistyfuse Ultraviolet with which to play. So with my cliffs in mind, play I did.

The above piece started with this interesting chunk of “fabric” (polyester felt, hand-dyed silk, stitched and burned) from a previous experiment as a base.


Here is some fabric I painted earlier that seems to me to very evocative of the cliffs:


On top of the felt base, I layered Mistyfuse Ultraviolet and long, skinny “trees” cut from the painted fabric. I fused using a teflon sheet. Stitched. Added another layer of Mistyfuse Ultraviolet and scraps of hand-painted silk organza. Fused again.


A little heat gun action and here’s the end result:

Interesting for a first try. Time to cut that up and move on.

I made another sandwich of the funky felt base, Mistyfuse Ultraviolet and a handful of good stuff (thread ends, fabric snippets) from my “compost pile” bucket. Fused. Added another layer of Mistyfuse Ultraviolet, some skinny trees and a layer of blue tulle. Fused. Stitched. Burned. I liked this a lot and was so excited that I forgot to take a photo.

I cut it into strips, then put down a layer of Mistyfuse Ultraviolet on a piece of the yellow painted fabric and layered the strips very tightly on top. Fused. I thought the piece was going to be vertical at first, as shown here:


I chose some skinny strips from the first piece that I had cut up and sewed them to the top which I had turned horizontally. See the finished piece above and here’s a detail showing the many layers of interest:


I think it’s important to do studies that are not finished artwork in any sense of the word in order to see what materials and processes might work for a new series. And, as in the Andy Goldsworthy Challenge, it’s good to work fast and without a lot of thinking sometimes.

I hope you enjoyed this special theme week. Since this blog is now replacing my Art, Nature, Creativity, Life e-newsletter, I wanted to do something special to mark that occasion. I’m always up for a challenge, so if please let me know if you have a request for another special theme week.


09 2007

The Mysterious Ways of Inspiration


This is the artwork-in-progress I left on my design wall almost three weeks ago. The white dots are pin heads, not design features.

I left it at this stage because I was stuck. It was so different from the other Boundary Waters series pieces; where did it intend to go? I was thinking rock and rock textures, but really didn’t have a specific scene in mind.

Then we camped next to this cliff


and I took MANY photos. I am very interested in this texture, this line, this colorway.


Did the cliff interest me because of what was already percolating or did the artwork I had started cause me to notice this particular cliff at this particular time? The ways of artistic inspiration continue to amaze me.

ADDITION: This is Susan Kennedy’s Sabinal Sunrise from the comment below. Thanks to her sister, Karen Krull Robart, for sending the photo.



09 2007

The Ultimate Journal – A Tent


I knew when we started this trip in the Boundary Waters that it was the last trip for this tent. I planned on moving it down to being our family tent as one of the zippers was broken.

Since I had already been using it as a quasi-journal when bored and rained in on previous trips (see Monday’s post for a portion of the tent journal including a Tick Count from May 2007), I thought Nancy and I might as well do it up right with some markers.

What fun! My side is pure stream-of-consciousness:



Nancy wasn’t sure where to start, so I said to start with our trip slogans (our favorite is What will be, will be said in a James Earl Jones’ voice). Then she really filled in her side with her wildlife sketches:

We both left space for our 100th day celebration notation, but the tent was so saturated by our last day that we couldn’t write on it.

We set the tent up in Nancy’s yard upon our return to let it dry. Here’s the outside, with space for 100 Days in the BWCAW in the upper right corner:


After we crawled inside, added our last notes, we went to zip the one zipper that still worked and it died also. Ah, the fates. No more camping for this tent journal.


09 2007

The Garbage Day Project and A Wilderness Photo Challenge


I like how these two Tuesday things always go together: A reminder that there is a new post on The Garbage Day Project and a photo, usually from Nature, for your inspiration.

It makes for a nice balance in my world – the realization that there is just WAY too much garbage, but that Nature is still hanging in there for us if we make the effort to appreciate it.

Today’s photos are from Bat Lake. Nancy and I can’t stand to be in the tent just because the weather is rotten, so we will often find a corner out of the wind and, hopefully, the rain and just settle in.

We were just hanging out when I took my camera (it’s a point-and-shoot Nikon CoolPix digital) out of my Gortex coat pocket, set it on macro, took a photo and passed it to Nancy and said, “Andy Goldworthy Challenge.”

Andy Goldsworthy takes photos of ephemeral art he creates with found objects in Nature. Our A.G. Challenge rules: Use what you can reach, don’t think and shoot quickly. The camera flew back and forth. The photo I like best from my series is above and this is my favorite from Nancy’s work:



09 2007

Tested to the End

Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

I’m back! My sister and I chose “Tested to the End” as the slogan for our latest wilderness canoe camping adventure. After 13 days of camping in the area recently burned by the Ham Lake fire, we reached our 100 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. There was so much beauty, so much laughter, so much solitude.

But we were also humbled by the portages. Here’s Nancy portaging over one of the less challenging ones:


We also experienced snow with 28 degree temperatures; sleet; freight-train loud torrential rain for an entire night; blinding, and continuous, lightning storms; winds that made our little tent billow and bend; and, oh, yes, the portages which were either rock quarries or running streams.

There must be some statute of limitations on equipment as our propane stove died, our SteriPen (for treating lake water for drinking) died, our tent zippers died and my boots ended up in the garbage can upon our return.

We were alone on “our” lakes for 11 of 13 days, Nancy became expert at building fires with wet materials in crazy winds, and we found inspiration for our journals (it’s never too cold to journal),

Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

our photographs (I’ll share more this week):

and our tent art (more on this later, also):


09 2007