Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Deeper Sense - Doing the Work

For a few weeks, I've been getting the parts of my mixed media interpretation of the Smitty Creek watershed project together. The botanical contact printed silk panels have been hanging on my design wall, as I added bits of blue fabric to signify the important of the water component in this ecosystem.

The next component was the textured background on which I wanted to print my photographs and other images. I used a non-woven synthetic fabric stabilizer (also know as interfacing), on which I spread fiber paste, an acrylic product that contains small fibers that create a stable texture when dry. I have to be careful to lay on a thin layer so the resulting material will be accepted by my inkjet printer. (Sometimes I use molding paste instead of fiber paste.) When the paste was completely dry, I sanded it thoroughly to remove any small peaks and extra rough areas.

The next step was the application of thin washes of acrylic paint to the stabilizer. For this piece, I used both medium brown and blue-grey paints. I accidentally applied more paint than was compatible with my need to have my photos show up fairly well, so I rinsed parts of it under running water in my big studio sink before the paint dried.

More to come - LOTS more!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting to the Deeper Sense

For me, making art based on a particular place is a long, slow, thoughtful, enjoyable process.  I often bring objects back to the studio to think about and to work with. When I visited the Smitty Creek Watershed in October, I collected plants, along with photographs and notes made while listening to the Paul Smith's College students and faculty about the research going on there. I also do a fair amount of research, exploring related scientific literature and other writings, maps, and images.  
The plants I collected were frozen until I had was ready to begin the work. I decided to make a couple of eco prints with them, a process of wrapping the leaves tightly in fabric or paper and then processing them with heat.
I dipped each leaf in a dilute ferrous sulfate and water solution to deepen the tones of the plant pigments. A few old iron and copper nails were wrapped in the bundles as well, to add some marks representing the human influence on the landscape. The leaves were laid out on two silk panels, then wrapped tightly around pieces of pvc pipe and secured with string.
The silk, metal, and leaf bundles were then simmered in hot water for about two hours to set the leaf pigments and the nail marks on the fabric.
Above is one of the silk panels, now permanently printed with the leaves and nails, as well as with the long linear resist marks made by the string wrapped around the bundles during the heat processing. Below is a detail of the print, showing evidence of spruce, fern, red maple, aspen, and black cherry leaves.
Next, I will add maps, data, photographs, and words. Check back here to see how I do that in my next Deeper Sense post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Deeper Sense: Looking at Place with Science and Art

 This photo is from one of several field trips that have already taken place this semester with Craig Milewski's Stream Ecology class, a course for senior Paul Smith's College students working on final projects before graduation - called Capstone Projects at this college. As a scientist and a poet, Craig encourages his students to do high quality field research and to also think about this final project as an opportunity to interpret their work artistically, through visual, written, or musical arts. And he again has invited several area artists to join in to produce artworks that interpret the project in some way. The students' final presentations and art will be presented to the college community and the public, along the artwork of the lucky professional artists invited to join in.

(The first of these art-and-science projects in which I participated took place in Spring 2012. See my blog posts from March through April 2012 for my process that time. And here are images of three of the five final works, which I now realize I did not post!)

This new project - "A Deeper Sense" - focuses on a forested watershed not far from the Paul Smith's College campus where research has taken place for about 12 years. Questions about the role of stream channel disturbance after 2 consecutive hurricanes with heavy rains are being investigated, among other issues.

As I prepare my art work focused on this project you can follow my process on this blog. I'll post on my main page, and you can also find the whole project on my page "Deeper Sense Project" listed in my blog header. I welcome your insights and comments!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Studio Tour

This week, Saranac Lake area artists are inviting everyone to our Artists' Studio Tour on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Art at the Pink House will be open each day of the Tour to demonstrate eco printing (Friday), fabric collage (Saturday), and simple book making (Sunday).

See which artists will be participating and download a map to plan your route here.

Art at the Pink House is at 25 Woodruff Street, Saranac Lake. Call me if you want more information: 518-524-0533. Try your hand at something new!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to See PINK on the Radio

Mammoth sunflowers and pink coneflowers greet visitors to the Pink House in Saranac Lake. Photo: Todd Moe
A lovely thing happened today. The interview recorded with me last week by the fabulous Todd Moe of North Country Public Radio aired on the "Eight o'Clock Hour" program. If you ever wanted to know a little more about Art at the Pink House and my view of this business, click HERE for Todd's audio interview and some photos.

I am SO grateful to every person and every organization that brings my business to the public with such good wishes! My Humble and Everlasting Thanks!

Cris Winters enjoys being surrounded by flowers and art, creating fiber designs in her home studio and tending her front garden at the Art at the Pink House in Saranac Lake. Photo: Todd Moe

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colorful Threads

"Spinning Sun" by Madeleine Appell
 The Pink House Gallery is currently showing "Colorful Threads." It's all fiber art and includes the art quilting of Madeleine Appell, the silk paintings of Lynne Taylor, and the embellished screen prints and eco (or botanical contact) prints of Cris Winters. Lots of fun smaller art and objects for sale as well.
"A New Day Dawning" by Madeleine Appell
"Seascape" by Madeleine Appell
"Up Spear Hill" by Lynne Taylor
"Sunset on the Lake" by Lynne Taylor
"Uplake Twilight" by Lynne Taylor
"Spring Enhanced" by Cris Winters
Detail from "Peony Leaf Fantasy" by Cris Winters
While this exhibit is in place, I'm preparing for a Fiber and Mixed Media Art Juried Show that opens at the Pink House Gallery on August 5th. More information and an application on my Juried Show 2016 page.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Botanica Exhibit

This month I'll be showing my own work in the Pink House Gallery, all on the botanical theme, with an opening on Friday, June 3rd from 5 to 7 pm. I've been enjoying using plants as partners in my art making for several months and it will be fun to hang some of that experimentation on the walls. Below are a few examples of both finished works and of those in progress. For more information, see my page "In the Pink House Gallery." I'll have quite few new fun gifts this summer too. I hope you can check it out.
"Findings - Live Oak Leaves" - leaves embroidered on paper with watercolor
"Beech Leaves" - deconstructed screen print on paper
"April Remains I" - screen print on fabric
"Purple Grape Iris" collage - fabric and thread

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Continuing with Botanical Topics - Solar Printing

Two prints on linen with "Black" SolarFast paint. The fabric was light rosy pink to start.
 I've just finished writing the April posts for the very cool blog "... and Then We Set It on Fire", where I wrote about using plants as both medium and subject matter in surface design work. I am mainly designing on fabric but works on paper show up as well. I wasn't able to post about my entire list of topics on the Fire blog, so I'll do it here.

One of the topics on my list was sun printing. I've done some of that with Setacolor paints, with good success and I am going to experiment with that again. But Robbie, of the blog "Robbie's Paw Prints", and I had a short online chat about her experience with SolarFast paints as one way to solar print on fabric with plants (and other materials). (Thanks, Robbie!)
Fern photo edited and converted to a negative on my computer (l) and the negative printing on Solarfast transparency film (r).

SolarFast paint and cotton fabric laid out on a foamcore sheet.
Spreading SolarFast paint on the fabric in a dim corner of my studio. This is supposed be the "Avocado" color.

Transparency negative immediately laid over the painted fabric, covered with plexiglass to keep it flat. I placed it in a sunny window.

Finished fabric, with transparency removed after 40 minutes. Still doesn't look like "Avocado" to me, but I like it.
This was a very easy process. A few things learned:
  • the less intense the sunlight, the longer the material needs to be left to develop. (Five p.m. is rather late this time of year.)
  • the colors of the SolarFast paint don't quite do what is expected. Be open to that.
  • although I correctly placed my printed film ink-side up (it was the darker side on my film) to avoid dissolving the ink onto the fabric when developing, I left the plexiglass on it for awhile and some evaporative moisture on it caused a small amount of ink to come off on an edge of the film.
  • the feel of the printed fabric is about the same as the original fabric. Can't wait to stitch on it!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April in My Studio and Beyond

To say that April is quiet month where I live is an understatement. Which means that it is a great month for travel, writing, and art making with few interruptions. So this post will be a bit of a diary of my projects and whereabouts over the past 3 weeks.
The colorful photo above is the catalog cover of the gorgeous art quilt exhibit at the Wayne Art Center a bit northwest of Philadelphia. I went there as part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates annual conference, held in downtown Philadelphia. The conference included great talks, lots of interaction with terrific artists, and renewed energy for the whole field of art quilting. If you want to see the art made and promoted by SAQA, click here. Lots of diversity and skill to be seen.

In addition to the conference itself, it was wonderful to see some of Philadelphia's attractions, including the quite astonishing Magic Garden, located on and around South Street.
Me, taking those Too Many Photos

As an added bonus, it was SPRING there! I drove home in a blizzard, and we still haven't see much green. Good thing the summer is glorious here.

The other big project this month is my turn as the month of April artist-in-virtual-residence on the fabric surface design blog "... And Then We Set It on Fire." I am so honored to be part of this group of accomplished fabric artists. If you are interested in fabric surface design, you might want to join and follow.

For the "Fire" blog, I'm writing about and showing images of fiber art with plants as both part of the media used to make the art and as subject matter. Here is one of my deconstructed screen printing projects, using an overwintered wood fern and some dried grasses from the Bloomingdale Bog Trail (to ground you locals).

There are several classes going on in the Pink House studio too. I'm especially enjoying the "Learn Drawing (and Some Botany)" and our monthly drawing group. And you haven't really seen the world until you look at box elder flowers under the dissecting microscope!!!

Can't help myself - I'm such a botany geek!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Eco Printing from the Shoreline

A significant portion of my childhood was spent on this beach at Ft. DeSoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida. Each winter when visiting my mom, we spend some time there. It's always a highlight of my stay.
This year, the mysteries of printing with plant pigments is always on my mind. And I had read recently that sea water makes a good mordant for printing on cotton. The photo above indicates it might be a good mordant for sand as well. Do you see the brown pigment bleeding from the mangrove leaf?
My shoreline walk that windy, cool day yielded lots of mangrove leaves washed up on the beach, along with some seaweeds. I used them as I found them - with a salty, sandy coating straight form the sea.
The seaweed (Sargassum, I believe) printed beautifully on seawater-soaked watercolor paper that was steamed in a packet, along with the mangrove leaves. I love the experiments!