Archive for July, 2010

Fierce Joy – Words to Live by!

July 26, 2010

(c) 1990 Ayn Hanna, Self Portrait, Mixed Media drawing w/cloth apron, 60"x48"

It’s hot, hot, hot here in CO.  The summer heat is upon us and the year half gone.  So many wonderful things are happening with my life and art career and time is racing by.  I was doing a quick check-in recently on my big picture plan and the goals I set at the beginning of the year, and really thrilled with how many things I’ve already accomplished from my list.

In this moment of reflection, I was also reminded of the word(s) I chose for this year – Fierce Joy.  The idea of choosing a word to focus on for the year came from Christine Kane’s Resolution Revolution – the idea being that you choose 1 word as your touchstone, a word that helps you focus your energies at “the BE” level (rather than the DO or HAVE levels), because when we achieve the “BE”ing, the DO and the Have are easy followers.

This concept also relates to the idea of finding the feeling place in Law of Attraction principles, which Christina Merkley (aka the Shift-It Coach) explains so well in her article, “Finding the Feeling Place of Success”.  (Having had first hand experience with the Shift-It process, I highly recommend this program for anyone who has anything in their life they are ready to “Shift”.  All this great stuff I’ve got going on right now in my life has come in part as a result of completing my own Shift-It process, including my Big Picture and Take Action Plans.)

I have been living my Fierce Joy this year, especially with development of my art career.  A few accomplishments to date:

  • My website, blog and flickr sites are all “live”. (This accomplishment is so much bigger than that short sentence can convey.  Wow, I really had no idea how big this was when I started.  Somehow that sentence almost needs it own page and really BIG font!)
  • I’ve made new art work which I feel are good high quality pieces and have furthered my development as an artist.
  • I’ve developed more of a network of artist friends, colleagues, and new organizations I’m a part of.
  • I’ve entered several juried shows and am showing my work in several locations.

Current and Upcoming Shows

Here are a list of shows where you can see my work, now and through the rest of the year:

There may be others as the year marches on, but this is what I know of at this point.  Please stop by if you can to any of these shows.  I plan to be at all of the opening receptions of all the CO shows and hope to see lots of you there!

Have you selected one word for 2010?  If not, maybe you’d like to pick your word now, it’s not too late.  And if (like me) you can’t decide on just one,  maybe 2 will do.  If  you have one (or 2) selected and would like to share, I’d love to hear about your word in the comments below.

Stay cool out there!


In the Flow

July 19, 2010

Tangled Web #4 (c) 2010 Ayn Hanna (24"x24") Textile Painting (cotton canvas, cotton fabric hand-dyed by the artist, paint, paint sticks, metallic thread

I wrote a post last month about Feeling My Way where I introduced my work-in-progress on these Tangled Web textile paintings.  It’s been very intriguing to me how these pieces have evolved so I wanted to capture the story as it is happening.

First, in that earlier post, I didn’t include a photo of this image above, Tangled Web #4, primarily because I thought it was a lost cause and that I probably wasn’t going to pursue completing it and instead would just go with finishing the 3 others in the group which I had some excitement about.  This poor little #4 piece was off on it’s own.  I thought it was boring and flat compared to the others.

And then a funny thing happened.  I think I was procrastinating about diving in to finishing the other 3 pieces (because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to finish them and I didn’t want to “mess them up” or perhaps ruin them by working on them without having a clear picture in mind of what I was trying to get them to be), and so, I picked #4 back up and started working with it, because hey, it was a lost cause so whatever I might do to it wasn’t going to matter…I couldn’t mess it up or ruin it because it was already a goner, right?

And so I gave myself permission, and free reign to play, and it was exhilarating and FUN!  And before I knew it, I had cut it up and it became this very engaging, exciting, and energized piece which I loved!  Not only that, but it became so interesting that all of a sudden as I looked at the other 3 pieces up on the design wall, THEY now started to seem less interesting and even a bit boring!  Oh my gosh, what have I done?

Ok, so what just happened here?

1.  I do believe that I (as we all are) am constantly changing and becoming my next self.  I am not the same person today that I was yesterday, this morning, or an hour ago.  What looked like an interesting (or boring) work in progress yesterday, now appears different because I am different – fascinating stuff!

2. I have a big picture plan, am practicing Law of Attraction and am very tapped into my feelings these days.  I’m really concentrating on staying in touch with how I am feeling as I make my way through my day.  And I’m especially tuned into noticing the things that make me feel good, fully experiencing that good feeling, and drawing more of that same stuff to me.

3. In combination with #2, I’m also trying to soothe myself into enjoying more of moving ahead without a clear picture of where I’m going.  It’s a teeter-totter between the rush of excitement and adventure of a wild ride, and some hesitance because of the unknown.  But what I’ve discovered here recently (and this played out for me in the course of completing Tangled Web #4), is when I Trust that what I am getting is the good stuff that I’m drawing to myself, I’m much more OK with moving ahead along the path without clearly knowing the destination.  And what’s more is that I am LOVING this journey!

Don’t get me wrong – I am a major Planner, and I do have a big picture plan and I have my compass set, but I’m also really realizing how much more fun the journey is when there’s some mystery to it and it isn’t all planned out.  You never know what might be around that next corner, but it’s bound to be something really cool and interesting and whatever it is, I will appreciate and embrace it because it’s what I’ve drawn to myself.

I knew on some level when I started these Tangled Web pieces that they are significant and have some importance.  They emerged from within and I have been getting to know them as they are developing.  It’s so interesting to me that #4 is the first one to be completed, especially since it was headed for the trash, and it causes me to see the other 3 so differently now.  It’s also helped me understand and put into words what is going on with my own personal development.  I know there’s more to come as I finish the others as well.

I did dive into working on #1 after finishing #4 and it is close to complete now as well (photo below).   I’ll post the final image once it’s complete and write my thoughts about it once I have the words to talk about it.

Tangled Web #1 (c) 2010 Ayn Hanna (24"x24") Textile Painting (cotton canvas, cotton fabric hand-dyed by the artist, paint, paint sticks, cotton and wool threads)

My Etchings in Proof No.1 Printmaking Show at Art Lab Fort Collins

July 17, 2010

Williamsburg Bridge (c) 1993 Ayn Hanna (15 3/4" x 11 3/4") Soft Ground Etching

The image above is one of 8 of my prints (etchings, a woodcut, and a collograph print) that are included in the Proof No. 1 Preview Show at Art Lab Fort Collins, on view now through end of the month in downtown Ft. Collins.  It is a “preview” of a larger print show that will open in mid Sept. at the same venue.

The Sept show will be interactive, with actual letterpress and other presses on hand at the gallery, along with artists who use these presses, helping patrons learn about handmade prints.  Visitors will not only get to see how the prints are made, they’ll also have the opportunity to make a small print themselves to take with them as a souvenir.  The show is the brainchild of Art Lab founder Dawn Putney, who envisions an exhibit and gathering of the local printmaker community coming together on an annual basis to do a show.

Although I’ve mostly been focused on textile work recently, printmaking is my first love.  I did buy my own etching press before I got my long arm quilting machine.  It’s so comfortable for me to turn my focus back to printmaking, like coming home in a way.  You know when you’re having a conversation with someone and all of a sudden their energy just takes off and they clearly are excited and could talk for hours in detail about the topic being discussed?  Yep, that’s me when the topic is printmaking.

I love black and white (well I like color too, but there’s nothing more beautiful than a gorgeous black and white etching), the process, textures and surfaces and marks that are possible, giving up some control (and letting the magic happen), and getting (some) resistance.  I could go on and on.  For those less familiar with handmade prints, here is a very cool interactive site from the Museum of Modern Art where you can learn all about printmaking.

Here’s another print that’s in the show:

Last Call (c) 1990 Ayn Hanna (22" x 15 3/4") Color Reduction Woodcut

This is a Reduction Woodcut.  I used to be a DJ at a night club back in the day and this image captures my feelings about the club as well as incorporates some of the imagery/forms that I saw from my view of the club  from the DJ booth.

The process for doing a reduction woodcut involves printing multiple colors but using only one piece of wood.  It is accomplished by starting with cutting away any areas of the woodblock in which you want to appear “white” or with no color, and then you print (either by rubbing the back of the paper with a baren, or by cranking it through a clunky etching press) your lightest color (in this case that was the pink) on each sheet of paper of however many prints you want to have in your edition.  Then you go back to the woodblock and cut away any areas of the plate surface in which you want that first (pink) color to appear in the image.  Then you print all of your pieces of paper with the next darkest color (orange), and now you have a print with white, pink, and orange.  Then you go back to the block again, and cut away the areas that you want to appear as orange in the finished print, and then print your next darkest color (red) on each sheet.

You do this cutting and printing for each successive darker color and when you’re finished, your block is “gone” and you have your edition of finished prints.  When you’re done, you’re done…can’t go back and print any more of this particular image because the plate is gone.

See, told you I like process (AND printmaking)!

What topics or processes get your energy level revved up?

Resist This? Fabric Dye Results and a Bonus!

July 8, 2010

In my last post, I showed pictures of my fabric dyeing experiments in progress.  Here are the pictures showing how the dyeing experiments turned out:

Resist dye experiment after curing and washing

Compare the above photo to the one in my earlier post of what it looked like before washing out.  The end result is much lighter than what it looked like when the dye was first applied.  In this instance, I applied the fixative (soda ash) to the fabric before applying the dye and then covered the fabric with plastic to let the dye cure overnight.  I was hoping to allow the dye ample time to cure and fix as much of it to the fabric as possible.  This experiment is a good learning for me as far as understanding how much darker the dye/fabric looks while wet and how much lighter it will be once the dye is set and the fabric rinsed out.  I like the different kinds of marks that result from the various resists that I used, and I will continue to work on manipulating this piece of fabric into a finished image.

Next, here’s the result of the direct dye application experiment:

results of painting dye directly on fabric

Compare this image to what this piece looked like when it was wet and the dye first applied to it.  The “wet” image is harder to see, since it is under plastic, but it too was a bit darker when wet/before being rinsed out, but the change in color is not as drastic as in the above example.  On this one, I added fixative to the fabric first again, but then also added some fixative to the dye paint as well and I think this helped the fabric absorb more of the dye color in this experiment.  I used the same process of covering the fabric with plastic to keep moisture in while letting the dye cure over night, and actually for a couple of days before washing it out.  So, I think the combination of a)adding fixative to the dye paint and b) letting it cure for 2 days both contributed to the fabric retaining more of the dye color than the first image above.  I like the results of this piece of fabric too, and have some ideas about how I’m going to use this for a next piece in my Wall Drawing series.

Of the 3 experiments, I’m really excited about my little 2 mile island resist dyeing results:

results of "ruching" resist dye technique

This involved first sewing the fabric into tubes and then applying the fixative and then wrapping the fabric around 2 PVC pipes and scrunching it down and holding it scrunched down with rubber bands.  Then I painted dye on the fabric and then let it soak in dye solution for a couple days.  Since the dye bath wasn’t deep enough to cover the whole piece of fabric, I also occasionally returned and re-applied more dye on the whole pieces of fabric.  I really like how these turned out – they (and this technique) will be perfect to use in making more of my triathlon swim start textile paintings.  I especially love the lack of control of the results and that it’s done completely with physical resists…something about that really appeals to me on a physical level.

A Bonus

One more picture to share.  Here’s my sweet little brown girl Emma (I also call her “Boo” for short)!  She’s an almost 5 year old Chessie/Lab mix rescue puppy that I’ve had since she was 9 weeks old.

Emma Louise Hanna

She’s my helper and my buddy and keeps a close watch on me while I’m in my studio.  Mostly she’s just happy all the time (especially if there’s a ball or sock nearby), which makes me happy too and always brings my attention back to the moment and what’s important in life.  I learn a lot from her.  Some day I’ll probably write a post about that.

How bout you?  Have you learned any bits of wisdom from your beloved animal friends?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below if you’d like to share.

The Garage Sessions: Mad Scientist at Work

July 2, 2010

Resist dye experiment

This week has been all about experiments.  I feel a little like a Mad (Fabric Dye) Scientist and I’ve turned my garage into my lab.  With both the Tangled Webs and the Wall Drawing series in mind, and after having done much research on direct application fabric dyeing techniques, I’m finally diving in and playing with it.  I love the surprises and the unknowns and not having (much) control over the results.  I also love playing with using physical resists, like rope and wire, as well as more traditional resists that can be drawn or painted on, like presist.  What’s really fun about this is it combining drawing and sculpting with fabric manipulation and I like the challenge and varying effects of combining techniques.

Direct Dyeing Experiment

I’ve experimented with soaking fabric in fixative soln first and then applying the dye (with the fabric being both wet and dry before dye application).  I’ve also tried adding the fixative to the dye solution itself before adding to the fabric.  And I’ve combined these with various resist techniques.

Resist dye experiment - Ruching technique

I’ve even created my own little 3 mile island, trying out the “ruching” technique where, in the version of this that I am trying,  you wrap fabric around a tube and then scrunch it down, hold it in the scrunched position with rubber bands and then paint dye on it, and submerge it in an immersion dye bath.

I’ll post more images to show the results of these experiments after they’re done  “cooking”.

Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone!

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