Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome to my studio

Studios, workspaces, ateliers, many different terms for spaces that feed our souls. My Studio is magic. Filled to the brim with lace, vintage bits and glittery things that I've collected along the way.  It's magic because I believe it is!

 I carefully brought each piece back, to create a nest. A safe place to create, to love and to nurture each idea into fruition. 

Prim Pumpkin studio boasts things I have toted with me for years. As I surround myself with these vintage items, I take comfort in the many stories that each item holds. The fabric that was once a mourning jacket, now a piece of a quilt.  The quilt... part of a transformation. First a mourning coat worn during the most heart wrenching of times, then worked into a quilt of silks and satins. The quilt has held places of prominence in my life and home for so long and now brings a smile to my finger-tips, enchants my boy and is a catcher for positive energy and  of tears if need be. I love keeping memories ...
In my studio you will always see art dolls in various states of love.  I spend so much time with each pumpkin that sometimes they like to stay in the studio for a bit.  I give to them and they give to me.
This Pumpkin is swathed in colors that I am pulled towards.  Soft buttery oranges and pale blue green create the feel of Autumn, a time and color palette I am comfortable with.  The pumpkin  pictured above is very special. She is a Granny, Her charges are loose in the studio and it may be sometime before she can collect them all.  She has that wonderful Matriarch feeling about her. 
Did I mention my love for vintage suitcases?  Yes, I do love them.   Where have you been all my life you wonderful suitcase?
If you look close you will see a gift from my friend Grimitives.  Kaf send us this beautiful Frida and she sits proudly in the studio, she is a happy doll! My love for birdcages has carried in to the studio as well.  This one is a round top favorite!

Hand dyed silks and pink roses... hmmmmm... the stuff of dreams!
I have apothecary keeps all over to house small bit of that and this that I simply must keep!
A few of the forgotten friends that I just can't say no to.  Imperfect dolls find  their way to me, they know they can come and live in my studio and take tea with the others.   They are all feathers in my nest.

I take responsibility for the energy I bring to the studio. I try to be observant of the energy and honor it.

 I wish I could have each one of you dear readers to my studio.... not all at once, but with time to sit and soak in the inspiration as I do.  Next year I'd like to have an open house and let you peek into my studio!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Numbering our tables

Sadly, this was not my first attempt at making table numbers for the wedding.   At first I found dessert plates with beautiful shabby chic roses and hand fulls of luscious lilacs.   I hot glued buttons from my collection forming the numbers.  I found the results to be okay, but hard to read due to the randomness on the size, color, and shape of the old buttons... So I scrapped it and moved on. 

In our Gypsy Cottage, I have collected lots of random vintage jars.  Joe had worked on a job-site years ago and during his lunch time he would excavate glass jars from mounds of dirt. So we married our collections and had just enough for our table numbers.
My basic concept was to use the bottles as a vintage element to accent the entire tablescapes. I went for a whimsical look with the numbers differing from table to table.   I wanted to carry the overall look of our stationary, so I purchased these wonderful little tags from Robyn Love,she is the wonderful artist that designed our entire invitation suite.

They are a two part design with the back being card stock and the top a scrolly layer of vellum.  I then wrote my numbers in the center of the tags! Easy Peasy.  For the others, I found this yummy polka dot fabric and hand sketched  the numbers with a black sharpie.  I cut out the numbers with pinking sheers.
Then I traced the sharpies lines with a glue pen, I think it's by Martha Stewart.  I glittered each one.

I placed a vintage paper doily on the bottle and then glued the respective number to the doily.  I used hot melt for the main gluing of each bottle.
Vintage bits or jewelry and ribbons were added to the finished numbers. 
The table numbers turned out so whimsical! They fit the bill just perfectly.  I finished the entire collection of 16 in one evening.  Sometimes the hardest thing is coming up with the concept...

Photo: Kalamazoo Photoworks

Photo:Kalamazoo Photoworks

Photo:Kalamazoo Photoworks

Thursday, October 13, 2011

From The Prim Potion Pantry

Old textiles touch my soul. Maybe I was a weaver (or some profession in which fabric is as important as eating) in another life.  I covet vintage textile, luscious new cottons, and the simplicity of muslin.  As a teen, I dressed in lace, not realizing that while I was living in a Jessica McClintock dream, I was the only one in my Junior High doing so.
While the cool kids were chillin at the mall I could be found prowling through steamer trunks of bark-cloth and thinking about how the lacey beautiful tablecloths could be used in a different manner than on a table. I found  out early that a large bedspread or tablecloth looks wonerful as a room divider! It simply didn't occur to me that this was not the norm for a 13 year old. 

I employ many of the old techniques that I learned from my Gran, Mom and trial and error when dying my fabrics for my art dolls.  I coffee/tea dye almost all of the fabrics I use.  One technique that I find gorgeous is the fast rust method. 

The recipe I use for this method varies depending of the textile I am working with.  First off, you have to have a rusty thing to work with.  Any metal that has rust will work, and keep in mind all of this magic happens outside.  Put your fabric under the tap and get it a bit wet, squeeze the water out.  Place your fabric on the rusty metal you have picked out.  Get yourself an extra spray bottle and make a mixture of 3/4 vinegar (white) and 1/4 water.  Saturate the fabric and sprinkle with table salt.  My piece of metal is flat, this works well because the next thing you do is wrap the metal and fabric with plastic wrap.  It's important that you keep the fabric moist and the plastic wrap helps with this.  Just keep checking on your fabric, the warmer it is outside, the faster it seems to happen. 
The two pieces of fabric featured in this post have each had an artful treatment in preparation for a Prim Pumpkin costume I am working on.  The terracotta piece is wool, it started out a light peachy color and after a tea bath, I treated it with ground cinnamon. This is a small detail that adds a large pop of prim to my artwork. 
When I create, I look to textile for inspiration and I strongly feel that when I prim each piece for a pumpkin the fabric conveys a mood, preserves a memory and evokes a warmth that only fabric can. 
Each fabric I use, eagerly plays a supporting role in the production of my merry pumpkins. Creating for me is about layering with textile, heart, and merriment.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Back from Ghoultide and still floating on clouds... Skeleton Opal

Well honey, let me tell you, I kind of feel like I am still recovering and getting back into the swing of life.  The wedding is over.... The trip to Ghoultide Gathering was made, and now I am settling into a new season.   One of the wonderful things about attending an artful gathering is the creative charge that everyone gets as a result of so many inspiring people in one spot!  Ghoultide Gathering is the premier show for artists in my genre and it's the one time during the whole year when I am able to commune with artists I consider close friends.  Many of the friends I have connected with through EHAG (Eclectic  Halloween Artist Guild) and PFATT (Primitive Folk Art Talk and Tea) are sparkling individuals I talk to on a weekly basis, they get me, embrace my oddities and have traveled the artful path that I am merrily skipping down!  In visiting with these folks I am more aware than ever that I am on the right path.  My signature is feminine vintage Halloween characters, this is where I flourish and staying true to what I love is the most important thing... I'd like to introduce my latest Prim Pumpkin creation, a vintage skeleton dame called Opal.

Opal is a garden spirit. She is greeted each morning by a group of miniature pink flamingos! What a very pink way to start each day.
                                                Her garden in one of pure magic with topiaries of fabric blooming. 
When I started the color palette for Opal, I knew I wanted muted shades and I settled on French Vanilla.  This is an easy palette to work with because when dealing with vintage you often get time worn white which, in my book equates to French Vanilla. 
Opal's hat is a big part of her charm.  It features beautiful plumes in unexpected colors. 
She adorns random lost books with lace and ribbon and pearls... This is my kind of dame!

                         Notice her sculpted hands! They are a bit wicked and just as sweet as can be.  I really like the look of her hands!
Her dress is a little bit machine stitched and a whole lot hand stitched.  Take a look at the vintage lace, it's just luscious.

Almost all of my art dolls sport fabulous feminine hats, they all have personalities that requires one...  I make them for myself now!     

Each bit and morsel of shabby charm came right from my studio.

It could be said that I design dolls, but really what do is tap into my own magic and give you a piece!

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great" Mark Twain  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ghoultide Gathering 2011: Bountiful Ghouls

  I look forward to this event each year with the anticipation that a wee one might have on Christmas morning.  Life, after all, is about collecting the moments which inspire this wonder.  As we entered Ghoultide this year we were greeted by a happily familiar character. A Scott Smith creation making sure that everyone knew where to get tickets. Joe and I received tickets compliments of the promoters of Ghoultide Gathering. This was such a kind gesture and we were greeted like rock stars!
              One thing that has remained throughout the years is the convergence of true collectors to Mill Race Village.This year, a Friday night pre-buy was added to the event! Although the rain and wind were wicked on the hair,  I doubt any amount of elements could deter this group.  The Ghoultide Gathering is comprised of  3 buildings, housing artists and a new "Tents on the Green" section for new artists.  There were other buildings, but they were either closed or only open for historical tours. 
 New this year was sweet gourmet kettle corn tent.  I am still eating the huge bag we bought. 
The gardens looked amazing throughout the village. I even captured roses in October!
                                           This is a Scott Smith greeter Jack o Lantern instillation
 The tents on the green played host to new artist including my friend Joyce Stahl of Enchanted Productions.  I love her orange tent and the wonderful decor. The Enchanted Production tent won Best of Show for visual artistry. 
                                                        She was so busy the entire show!
Mill Race Village is a beautiful venue with tons of charm. This is one of the Victorian styled homes on site. Joe and were so enchanted with the tiniest of details...
                                               From the tiny crab apples adding a touch of natural color,
                                      to the luscious moss growing on the shingles of an out building....
                                             I was amazed at the green hydrangeas, they were huge!

                                   My green boots are so trusty! They kept my tootsies warm.
Passed the gazebo we spotted a small waterfall.... After all of they years coming to Ghoultide I have never noticed this.

                                                    This was taken at the Carriage House.
                                                     Joyce Stahl of Enchanted Productions
                                                                        My new hat!
                                                  Our faux mustaches proved to be so fun!!

                                                                              Ha ha!

We had a wonderful time!