How to Make Potholders

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Potholders…

In working with color, fibers, and a childhood aesthetic, these potholders are the perfect choice for my work.  These traditional objects are a great choice due to the fact that they are very durable and can be used for multiple options.  The steps in making these potholders are rather simple, can easily be learned through the sequence of photos posted above.  Let me take you into further detail…

STEP 1: Gather Supplies

All you need to make a potholder is a potholder loom, which can easily be found at any Hobby Lobby or online, and nylon stretch loops.  The nylon loops are the best choice for fiber because of its durability and how far they can stretch over the loom spikes.  Once you have gathered your materials, you are ready to work.

STEP 2: Stretch your First Loops

The first step you must take in creating the potholder is to cover the loom.  The first set of loops will be going the same direction, any color choice you like.  Do not spread out the loops, as they must be placed right next to eachother.  If spread out they will make the potholder have holes and be smaller than desired.

STEP 3: Begin Weaving

Your second set of loops will create the actual weaving aesthetic of the potholder.  To start, loop one end of a loop to a spike, and begin weaving.  The weaving technique is the alternation of going over and under each of the loops placed in the first steps.  Once the first loop is placed, the second loop can be run through.  Make sure the second loop is woven in the opposite way as the first: example, first is over/under, make the second under/over.  Continue these steps until you’ve reached the end of your loom.

STEP 4: Finishing off the Loom

Once all the loops are placed, you can begin to finish off the potholder.  Take the first loop on one side (all the way to the left), and pull it off the spike without letting go.  Bring the loose loop to the spike directly to the right of it, and pull the second loop off the loom, pulling it through the first loop.  Pull tight, and you have successfully cast off the first loop.  Continue this process until you’ve gotten all the loops cast off.  The last loop will be pulled tight and will act as a hanger for the potholder, so don’t be alarmed by the extra loop.

STEP 5: Enjoy!

Your potholder is now finished, and can be used for whatever you need!  In my experience, the best way to use these is with multiples, creating larger masses of potholders.  These can also be used for their main, practical purpose.

For supplies, check Hobby Lobby, or any online crafting website.

Happy Making!

How to Needle Felt

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The images posted, in order, are the three easy steps to needle felting.  This is a common technique used in creating my own works, and has been done by many for hundreds of years.  For those who are unfamiliar with needle felting, let me give you a bit of background…

Needle felting is done with either a single needle or a cluster, which contain a sort of notch on the sides.  These notches are placed on the needle to hook the wool fibers together and dread them.  Once done, these fibers become so entangled that they are practically impossible to undo.  No ironing or sewing is necessary, this process is quite simple.  Wool is always used for this process, as its fibers have many barbs that easily lock into one another.

Now to explain the sequence…

STEP 1: Gather Materials

What is needed? 1. Sponge to serve as a poking surface for your wool and so you don’t break your needle. 2. Felting needle, which can be found at any local craft stores or Michaels Crafting Store. 3. Raw wool, which can be anything from sheep wool to alpaca.

 

STEP 2: Flatten and Poke

Take a handful of the raw wool and place it onto the sponge. The best technique is to spread fingers across the raw wool to evenly flatten your surface.  With your open hand, take your needle and begin to poke the raw wool.  This will begin the felting process; make sure to flip the felt over as you work with it, that way one can avoid your wool being completely felting into the sponge.  Continue this process until desired amount of felting has been completed.

 

STEP 3: Final Product

At the end of this simple process, you will have a felted piece of wool.  The possibilities with your creation are endless!  Many will felt pictures onto flat pieces of wool, and some will go so far as to create three dimensional felted sculpture forms.  This can be easily done by inserting pipe cleaners into the raw wool and felting around the pipe cleaners for desired forms.

ALSO…

If you’re a local Cincinnatian, look into the Needle Felting classes being offered at Homemeadow Song Farm!  Classes are being offered for a low fee that includes materials, and the experiences are priceless.  For more information, visit: http://www.homeadowsongfarm.com/classes%20&%20workshops.htm

 

“The Third Orange” Performance Piece

After much trouble with uploading this file, “The Third Orange” can now be viewed on my blog!

About this Performance…

The Third Orange Performance brings attention to the repetitive motions and internal anxiety associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. Through this performance, a mythical magic approach is taken in hopes of casting out the anxiety and evils of the performer.

Enjoy!

Breaking Foundry News

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Breaking News from Foundry…

These sculptures are not completed by any means, but I am proud to announce that each of my abstract portraits came out of their foundry molds successfully! I will continue to post their progress as time continues. Thanks for all who have followed my progress thus far and thank you in advance for the continued support!

Happy art making!

Local, Self-Employed Cincinnati Artists

The mission of our Professional Practices class at the University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is to introduce the class of emerging artists to local, successful artists.

Laura Fisher, one of our guest speakers for Professional Practices, is currently a self-employed photographer in the Greater Cincinnati area.  As a graduate of DAAP and a past intern for Professor Jane Stevens, Fisher can be seen as a great mentor to us, as she has walked in our shoes only a few years before.  Fisher has participated in many internships that were both in and out of school, and also spent 2009 and 2010 creating work in Germany on work study trips.  She has been very successful in her tactics of networking her fine art through her own photography business, but has also created an income through photographing weddings and other special occasions.  We, as emerging artists, can find much inspiration in Fisher’s story, as she was once just like us.

We can take much advice  in her networking process of creating a business that also supports her photography.  Her advice to apply for all opportunities to continue learning and perfecting your craft can give much of us inspiration, especially when we are so new to the application experience in regard to the Art World.  Her professional presence serves as a proper example of how we should not only conduct ourselves in a business setting, but also how we should view ourselves.  We must remember, we ARE professional.

Fisher is currently working on her fine art work, but also continuing to photograph weddings and other special occasions.  If you are interested in learning more about Laura Fisher, her story, and her business, you can visit her site for more information.  I am certain she’d love to hear from you as well if you have any questions; after all, in her About Me section she lists writing letters to strangers as one of her favorite things to do!

http://www.laura-fisher.com/

Art in the Cincinnati Community

Art in the Cincinnati Community

During this past week in Professional Practices, we were asked to investigate different art communities nestled into our own budding art community of Cincinnati. Fellow artists Michelle Corbett, Claire Talbot, and myself decided to look into the gallery Art Beyond Boundaries, located on Main Street in Cincinnati and we were able to speak to the gallery director.

For those who have not yet been acquainted with the gallery’s mission, it is definitely one to hear! Art Beyond Boundaries is a gallery that is focused on giving artists with any sort of disability the opportunity to exhibit their work. Every year there are at least five exhibitions giving these artists a chance to get their work out into the world that would potentially be pushed aside simply because of their disability. The current percentage of profit split between artist and gallery is 70-30, which leaves the artist with plenty of funds to make a living and to continue making art!

The current exhibition at Art Beyond Boundaries is entitled, “A Thousand Flowers Bloom”. If you’re interested in learning more about the gallery and its mission, please visit the website: http://www.artbeyondboundaries.com

Artist Inspiration

Artist Inspiration

Meet the Artist…

When looking for new inspiration in my fiber art creations, I didn’t have to look very far. In fact, an ability to work with fibers runs in the family. My mother, Shannon Motzer Sandlin, owner of Cheeky by Shannon, creates custom fiber art pieces for just about everyone.

From personalized wearable art to her line of “Baby Cheeks” stuffed animals, her works can be admired by young and old alike. She is currently working mainly with fleece and recycled shirts as her fiber materials, and her work can be found in many places locally. If you’re unable to catch her at one of the local art and craft fairs happening in the Greater Cincinnati area, you can most definitely buy her works and “wears” in local boutiques. I find inspiration in her work through her ability to transform these simple, recycled fibers into a completely new and aesthetically interesting work. As we both work in recycled fiber materials, we can bounce ideas off one another to come up with the perfect pieces; subject matter and concept may differ, but verbal collaboration is always happening. Also, as a young artist, I can look to her in how she networks herself and has created a business for her own art.

If you are interested in contacting her or viewing her most recent works, she can be found on facebook under “Cheeky by Shannon”. One can also view her website for the latest works and wearable art!

http://www.cheekybyshannononline.com

 

Words from the Artist…

  1.     How long have you had a studio?  Six years total, but two years in my current space.
  2.     Why did you get a studio?

I needed more space to work other than in the living room or dining room.  It’s hard to get things done when you’re home, especially when the family needs you!

  1.   How do you financially support your artwork? (Through sales, salary, grants, etc.)

I currently earn a living by selling my art.  I had a full time job along with creating their art, but decided to take on their art full time and try to better market my work.

  1.  What are the problems you face in getting your artwork done?

Time, and trying to keep up with the inventory demand.  Demand fluctuates between each show entered; so, the highest demand needs to be met before every show in case of a complete sell-out of product.

  1.  What do you do to market yourself as an artist?

I am involved in various forms of online networking, such as Facebook, twitter, and their own websites, but also through belonging to local artist guilds.

  1.  What type of person buys your art?

I would say everyday people, but my work also fits well into boutiques.  Due to the handcrafted aesthetic, crafters and lovers of crafts tend to be drawn to my work.

  1.  What are your greatest challenges as an artist?

My greatest challenges are lack of funding and time management.

  1.  What are your greatest rewards as an artist?

Definitely previous buyers coming in praise of the product and purchasing more.

  1.  What recommendations would you give to an artist who is just starting out?

-Approach as business

-Put yourself on a schedule

-Set prices honestly