Welcome (back) to Mixed Media Artist!

Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quote of the week

Ok, you really wanna know?  :-)

Image: riptapparel.com

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I may possibly be offline for a few days.  Even if a few more posts show up, I may or may not be able to approve your comments or answer your questions.  See you soon, I hope!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Beading Arts
Cyndi comes up with a quick and easy metal stamping project...with a surprise!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a chance to score yourself a copy of the new book Extreme Origami, tutorials on how to paint a pumpkin and bell pepper and draw skeleton hands and feet and a recipe for a "Corpse Reviver Cocktail".  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy reviews a knew knitting book and uses the word "adorable" too many times.  

How about a needlepoint witch hat? June has the instructions just waiting for you!  

Dr. Who Toile Chair Makeover
Cherie uses Dr. Who toile fabric to remake old kitchen chairs.  

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Eileen used chain maille started by her mother over 50 years ago in this sterling silver Two Generations of Hope bracelet design.  

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book review: Visual Texture on Fabric

Lisa Kerpoe's new book, Visual Texture on Fabric, is very specific in its scope: Lisa focuses on using water-based resists to create layers of color.  What I like the most is that she uses easy to come by resists like flour, oatmeal, soy wax, and acrylic medium.  Just about everyone has one or more of those things hanging around.  Well, I don't have soy wax, but I certainly have all the rest! 

Lisa explains the ways to apply the resists to gain you maximum visual texture when you then apply your colorants.  She prefers fiber reactive dyes to paints, although she does explain how to thicken dyes so that you can "paint" with them.  That threw me a bit, since I am a paint person.  But I figured that I could simply thin my paints so that I could "dye" with them!

The book has several very handy features.  Lisa covers how to layer the techniques for maximum visual texture.  She includes a troubleshooting guide chart for when things don't go exactly according to plan.  And she also has charts to help you remember which application techniques work best with each resist.  The layouts, photos, and illustrations throughout the entire book are up to the high standards you expect from C&T Publishing.

I've been interested in learning more about soy wax, so I spent quite a bit of time on that section.  Overall, as I said, the focus of this book is narrow, but if you've been interested in this way of working, I think you'll find it to be a wonderfully complete guide. 

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quote of the week

People ask me about my politics from time to time. I don't know why. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book review: Journey to Inspired Art Quilting

How do you teach someone to work intuitively with color, create improvisational designs, and find their own personal artistic voice? The answer is to expose them to a master teacher and quilt artist like Jean Wells.  ~ Vivika Hansen DeNegre, Quilting Arts Magazine, 8/1/12

When I read the quote above, I knew that there was no way I could phrase it any better than Ms DeNegre.  Jean Wells is a genius, and her book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting is a work of genius.  The main focus of Jean's book is learning how to translate the design principles and elements into quilting, without losing your way and getting trapped in the details.  Her own specialty is the landscape quilt, and I found that I could easily get lost and trapped in just looking at them, but she has an amazing way of pulling your through the work and out the other side.

Jean is a great colorist, and reading through her explanations of how to get all the parts working in harmony is really an education.  She emphasizes finding "the big idea" and working from that...utilizing color, shape, line, value, etc to reinforce what you want to say.  Even how you choose to frame your work is considered in the quest to put forth the idea.

Since this is a book primarily about design, and only secondarily about techniques, you will not find much discussion of surface design.  The artist works with mostly solid colored fabrics.  One exception is that she introduces adding a bit of imagery through some prints she made and cut apart and also through quilting lines.  It is not a beginner's "teach you how to quilt book," but is an excellent first guide to designing for yourself and stepping away from patterns.  If that's what you're ready for, this is your book.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make a recycled book page coffin Halloween garland.

Beading Arts
Cyndi is celebrating Metal Month! Come meet an amazing metal jewelry artist, Judy Grum.  

Clear Glass Sculpture With Teal Solar Light
Cherie uses glass pieces, a solar light, and some teal beads to create a garden sculpture.  

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside we have a double giveaway filled with Mod Podge, Martha Stewart glass paints and books along with a fun recycled Halloween lamp tutorial and a recipe for a dreamsicle shake.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Namaste is known for its craft friendly bags. Tammy takes a look at a few and gives you the scoop on a special offer available during October. 

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Eileen restores and upgrades a badly damaged charm bracelet.  

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Thursday, October 18, 2012


There are lots of galleries to examine at Detourbutterfly's site, but I think my favorite is the Assemblage collection.  I always want to make pieces like this, but they never quite turn out this good.  Maybe someday if I keep working on it!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book review: More Fabric Art Collage

I love this book!  More Fabric Art Collage starts where Rebekah Meier's first book leaves off. 

Techniques...don't we just love to collect 'em?  The more the better.  Well, here are 64 techniques that you can draw from for use in mixed media, surface design, and embellishment of just about anything.  Rebekah features some of the newest materials and products out there, including TAP, Mul-Tex, and Lutradur (which isn't all that new now!).

After covering tools and supplies, including basic fabrics and papers, Rebekah discusses in depth the topics of surface design, resists, fabrics, acrylic mediums, alternative materials, paper, embellishments, display, and scrap projects.  I'm not 100% sure that I understand why the topics are broken down in this way, but in the end it doesn't really matter.

The pure fact is that this is not yet another compilation of the same old same old techniques.  Sure, if you've been around the block, you will be familiar with some of them, but I'm willing to bet that there are more materials and techniques here that you haven't tried than there are ones you have.  Besides all the fabulous suggestions along the way, there is also a chapter near the end which has 7 full-blown mixed media projects to try in order to get familiar with some of the new materials.  I have to say, though, that I look at this book as more of a reference work than a project book, which means it will be on the top of my list for quite some time!


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sequined quilt - part two

So here is how I finished up the sequined quilt that I began showing you last week.  It would have been better to have painted the outside portion of batting before quilting if I had known then how I was going to finish it.  Oh well!

1. Paint the batting that sticks out beyond the top fabric.  Let it dry thoroughly.

2. Choose a backing fabric and cut it even with the batting "frame". 

3. I used my favorite blanket stitch all around the outside, stitching just the batting and the backing together.  Another option would have included adding another row of blanket stitch around the top fabric, stitching it just to the batting before adding the backing, but I decided to keep the edges of the top fabric raw.

4. The finished quilt.  I added a few small buttons to the back (not shown), stitched through all the layers, to keep the heavy decorative button from sagging (see an example of how that's done here).

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Eileen - The Artful Crafter Check out The Artful Crafter's Halloween Parade of Craft Projects. 

Paper Covered Pumpkins With Poetry
Cherie adds old pages and poetry to a Dollar Store pumpkin.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to carve a maple leaf rubber stamp from an eraser.  

About Family Crafts
Drop by the Family Crafts site and play along with the new craft challenge! This challenge is all about making scarecrows.  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shares about her latest yarn store splurge, which, of course, means baby alpaca.  

Beading Arts
Cyndi finishes up her leaf-inspired project using tools from ImpressArt. 

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trip to Portland - part two

Mount Hood...not always easy to see with Portland's weather!

Last week I shared a few shots from our adventure visiting Dani out in Portland Oregon.  Since it was Labor Day weekend, a long weekend, we crammed in as much activity as we possibly could.  And the weather was amazingly cooperative too!

I thought you might enjoy seeing what happens when two artists share an apartment...your kitchen takes on a nautical theme...and your studio sits in the middle of your living room!

We took a trip to the beautiful rose gardens.  Portland is known as the Rose City because of the wonderful rose-growing climate.  Even though the gardens were past their peak, they were still amazing.   

From the gardens, we caught a little steam train (kind of steampunk steam train...) over to the Portland Zoo.  I love how it's all hooked together so that you can park at one spot and take the train around to the other places you want to see.

This house has nothing to do with anything.  I just thought it looked rather festive :-)

The last night that we were there, we went to one of the McMenamin's restaurants.  This one is the St John's Pub and Theater.  The McMenamins own different cool historic buildings all over the region that they've turned into restaurants, each with its own flavor and theme.  Guess why Dani likes this one?

The view from the bridge in St John's

Part one

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book review: Connecting Design to Stitch

Sandra Meech has written Connecting Design to Stitch as a very serious book on design, a much more scholarly work than most.  So often we expect our quilting and fiber arts books to be about techniques, but Sandra has taken a different approach.  She feels we should pick our colors, embellishments, and surface techniques wisely, not based upon what the latest trends and materials are, but rather based upon how well they will support our theme.

Connecting Design to Stitch explores how our theme can be carried through our textile art through the judicious use of design elements and principles.  Sandra focuses on the creative process more than the details of technique, and she also includes interesting exercises to help us refine our own patterns and preferences.

"A dynamic design draws the viewer into your work. The strong use
of shape, image, or color captures the viewer’s interest initially, and
then their eye will be led across the rest of the surface." 

This can be tough for people who have learned quilting through traditional methods, like creating bed quilts with their regularity in design. In order to break through, it is essential, Sandra feels, to have a design wall and a digital camera.  Makes sense to me. 

My favorite parts of this book cover about a gazillion suggestions for sources of inspiration, just in case your well runs dry.  There are also excellent sections on abstract textile art, compositional styles, and border design.  All in all, if you are looking for help with design, this is a great place to start.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sequined quilt

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah, who writes Saturday Sequins, prompted a group of us to do a blog hop that she called Sequintastic September.  I decided to join in, and ended up surprised that what came out of me was kind of on the dark side rather than the bright and cheerful thing I had expected.

I found the button and the fabric out in Portland OR while visiting Dani.  The antique gold sequins and copper-colored seed beads were already in my stash, along with the embroidery floss and batting, so I set about to use the sequins in some hand quilting.  Here are the steps I took, so far:

1.   Cut the fabric to size and layer onto a slightly larger piece of batting.  Cut a small piece of cardboard to sit behind the button, under the top fabric, and reinforce it.  I poked two holes through it to make it easier to stitch the whole thing into place.  


2.  I used 3 stands of black embroidery floss to quilt the piece with the sequins and beads, following lines that were on the fabric.

3.  I used the Inktense Pencils that I showed you last week to add color to the rings of the tree.  I was amazed by how the color added a dimensional look to the fabric.


4. The quilt has not yet been backed or finished.  I'm thinking about clipping the batting smaller than the top and leaving the edges raw, maybe just using a running stitch around the outside to add the backing.  Haven't decided yet though.  I guess we'll have to revisit this one in awhile!

Part two - here's how the quilt got finished!

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Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Artsy blogging round-up!


Crafty Princess Diaries Crochet socks are not that easy to make, but the Crafty Princess is tackling them anyway. 

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Eileen shares the how-to for a Sand and Sea themed Glass-Beaded Bracelet. 

Painted Glass Garden Mushrooms
Cherie makes some glass mushrooms for the garden using recycled materials.  

Beading Arts
Cyndi gets busy with some tools and materials from ImpressArt, the metal stamping company!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to create your signature initials for your Zentangles, a fun portrait made from confetti, some zombie fun and a yummy recipe for tomato pie.  

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Trip to Portland - part one

Art in the Pearl, an amazing art show in downtown Portland,
Labor Day weekend

A year and a half ago, Dani moved to Portland Oregon to take a job working for Michael Curry Design.  Even though I hate having her so far away, I am very proud of the work that they do, and I'm thrilled that she is making her living doing the kind of art she loves.  We were able to take a long weekend and visit her over Labor Day, and yes...I am just now getting around to going through the pictures I took.  Don't judge me ;-)

Along with about a million other people, we decided to head out to the beautiful Columbia River valley and do some hiking.  By "we", I mean Dani and her roommate Meg, Mike and me.  First stop, Crown Point.  That's Meg and Dani above...I told them to look tough.  And here is Crown Point building, with its amazing interior architecture:

We stopped to see a couple of smaller waterfalls, and also stopped in to see Herman the Sturgeon (estimated at 70 years of age and approximately 11 ft long) at the Bonneville hatchery.  But the real draw for the day was to hike up Moltnomah Falls.

I couldn't get the falls into one shot without going back across the highway.  The trail takes you all the way to the top, so it's really cool, but the best view is actually from the bridge. 

Part two next week!

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Calls for entries and submissions

What's in your heart: ATC challenge and swap
Deadline: 11/05/12  
Haute Handbags

Deadline: 11/15/12  
Wearable Art Awards 2013

Deadline: 11/15/12  
Art Journaling

Deadline: 11/15/12  

Deadline: 11/30/12  
Vogue Knitting Design Contest

Deadline: 11/30/12  

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

Derwent Inktense Pencils

Check it out!  This is what my sweetie gave me for my birthday.  Am I a lucky lucky girl or what?  The Derwent Inktense Pencils (Set of 72) are everything that I was hoping for when I read about them.  You can use them wet or dry, but I prefer dry.  Why?  Glad you asked!  Because once you've scribbled them on dry, you then go over them with a wet brush and the colors just burst into life.

These are different from other watercolor pencils that you might have used.  They behave more like inks: once the color has dried, it is permanent.  Adding more water will not lift them back into liquid form.  That means that you can add layers upon layers, and the colors will stay true.  As long as they're wet, the colors blend beautifully, so you really can have the best of both worlds.  And, I haven't tried this, but I've been told that as long as they haven't yet been wet, you can erase them like regular colored pencils.

Wow, huh?

Of course I had to start using them immediately, at least to experiment.  They are truly luscious.  Next week I'll start showing you some projects...at least I hope I will!

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