Archive for October, 2010

Board Game Redux: A New Art Card

October 26, 2010

In my last post, I talked about the cool handmade card collage I received in the mail last week from artist Annie Vought.  Annie is doing a project to check and see if our regular old US postal system still works, given that we all seem to communicate only via computers and phones these days.  She asked her interested blog readers to send her their snail mail addresses and in return, she would send them a handmade card in the mail.  So, I sent her my info and she sent me a great postcard collage.

The image below is the “art card” that I made to send back to Annie.  It is constructed from cut up pieces of a Scrabble Jr. game board, sewn back together with pearl cotton, and then embellished with a spinner and a card pocket (with cards).  I even spelled out a few applicable words (using creative directions of course).

"Art Card for Annie" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 7"x9", Re-purposed game board, spinner, cards,& thread

I am very attracted to old board games – the bright graphics, “maps”, shapes/patterns/colors, spinners, moving parts, playing pieces, cards, dice, the memories, the analytic challenges and quests involved.  They are laughing warm nostalgia, toasty Saturday nights lounging around a living room with popcorn, family, and friends.

One of my fondest board game memories ever – a favorite image of my Grandma I still have in my mind’s eye today, sitting at the dining room table at her house in Sioux City, dice cup in hand, tears and giggles streaming.  We used to laugh so hard we were crying (and my face actually hurt from smiling) and then laughed even harder once Grandma started snorting – we couldn’t help ourselves, we just got that silly and giddy every time we played Yahtzee.

"Art Card for Annie" (backside) ©2010 Ayn Hanna

I have long been collecting old board games (I have 15+ large boxes in the attic….and yes, it’s clear I got the “collector” gene from BOTH parents) with plans to re-purpose them into art pieces.  I’ve been thinking about ways to do this for years (yup, I’m a planner too) and I have some good ideas to explore, but just haven’t jumped into all of that yet until now.

Annie’s use of paper cut letters and old postcard collages inspired me to try out one of my ideas – cutting up the game board and re-assembling it like a quilt, embellishing with the game parts and pieces.  It’s a start at playing with these old board games and exploring how I can use them in my artwork.

We’ll see where this leads to next.  For now, I’ll be putting this in the mail and then seeing what (thoughts, ideas, experiments, or possibly even more cards) comes next.  It’s fun to have a new artist pen-pal!


A Handmade Card and New Artist Pen-Pal

October 21, 2010

I miss the good old days of getting hand-written cards and letters in the US postal mail, holding an artwork in my hands that another person had just been holding and writing or drawing upon only a few days earlier.  I still have a box filled with some of my favorite cards and letters I’ve received from family and friends over the years and I enjoy the trip down memory lane and the good feelings re-lived when I re-read all those cards and letters.

These days, I get so much junk mail that it’s the rare good surprise when I scan the stack of mail and find the odd non-business-sized hand-addressed envelope.  But it sure makes my day when it happens! Here’s the fun surprise I received in the mail this past week:


Handmade Card and Envelope I received in the mail from artist Annie Vought.


A few weeks ago, I happened upon artist Annie Vought’s website.  Annie makes amazing artworks out of cut paper, most recently focusing on paper cut letters.  Annie is doing a cool project in which she has asked her blog readers to send her an email with their snail mail address and in return, she will send them a handmade letter in the mail.  Since our society now primarily uses computers and phones to communicate, she wants to see if our postal system still works – and I am happy to report that yes, it does!

Below is a photo of the great handmade card collage that I received in the mail from Annie a few days ago:


Handmade card collage, constructed of layers of cut and stacked old postcards. ©2010 Annie Vought (reprinted with permission by the artist)


Annie makes these cards by cutting and stacking old postcards that she’s been collecting.  She is posting pictures of these card collages here on her website before she sends them out, and she will post pictures of cards that she receives back from her new pen pals as well.

Ok, now it’s my turn to make a card and send it back. I’ll post a picture of my card too, before I put it in the mail to Annie.

And, if you would also like to get a cool handmade card in the mail, visit Annie’s site for more details on her project.

The Eagle has Landed: Navy Textile Paintings Done and Delivered

October 19, 2010


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 41"x42", Textile Painting (Cotton Fabric, Fabric Paint & Ink, Cotton Thread, Cotton Batting)


It feels like graduation, and like working in a factory.  After several weeks of emails, web research, sketching, designing, dye-painting, carving, stamping, stenciling and stitching, the Navy textile paintings are done.  And, just like the other textile pieces I’ve completed this year, as soon as the last stitch was tied off and trimmed, the pieces were out the door on their way to a show.  No time to sit back and enjoy or critique them, just get ’em done and send ’em on their way.

You can view the progression of completing these Navy textile paintings on 3 earlier posts: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3.

The Details – “Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six”

The title of this piece (pictured above and detail below) is a Naval Aviator phrase from one of the stories Captain Bill related to me about Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) tactics developed by the Navy.

In this situation called “Loose Deuce”, two working together in a coordinated “high energy” manner have the potential of beating an adversary flying better machines with a number advantage.  “Keeping your mach up” refers to high energy/kinetic energy and always having an altitude advantage over your enemy while “check six” is the responsibility of each Loose Deuce member to check that his teammate’s vulnerability zone is clear of enemies.

Text from the label I created for the back of this piece:

As a Navy Test Pilot, Ops Boss, and Squadron Commander, Captain Bill had opportunity to pilot well beyond 15 different types of aircraft ranging from  supersonic fighters (Navy, US Air Force, Royal Air Force) to Dehaviland Otters and Beavers (Canadian Outback birds), to Gliders, multi engine Army and Navy machines, and Helicopters.  Many, (but certainly not all) of the aircraft he flew are abstractly represented here, along with my liberal interpretation of the many gauges and dials that confront the pilots in those planes’ cockpits.


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" (detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, Textile Painting


To make this piece, I used some of my own hand-dyed fabrics, along with dye-painting, stenciling and stamping techniques.

I first cut some stencils of several of the airplane types that Bill flew and used them to stencil/dye-paint the orange background and then also to apply shadows/definition to airplane shapes that I cut and appliquéd to the surface.  I drew and cut out some stamps of the gauges and dials and printed these on 3 different colors of yellow fabric and then fused them to the background and also fused 2 pieces of blue/green fabric, cut to surround the “dashboard” of the cockpit.

Next I painted in the black areas around the gauges to complete the dashboard.  Once all of these elements were in place, I loaded the wholecloth onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted this top together with the batting and the backing layers.

The Details – “Cat”


"Cat" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 40"x40", Textile Painting (hand-painted cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting)


I covered most of the process that I used in making “Cat” in an earlier post here.  Once the images were all painted, I appliquéd the flight suit name tag at top and cockpit gauge on lower left, then loaded this piece onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted the top, batting, and backing together.

Where to see the Navy Quilt Displays throughout 2011

Many of the CONA (Celebration of 100 years of Naval Aviation) events across the US during 2011 will include displays of the Navy Quilts from this challenge. Preliminary travel dates and locations for all of the displays are still being finalized and can be viewed here.

A selection of 80 of the quilt entries will travel in small groups to over 100 events throughout 2011.  While many of the events will display a subset of the total, the entire group of 80 traveling quilts will be on display at a few of the events; the Centennial opening event at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL on Nov 12-13, The Road to California Quilt Show, Ontario, CA on Jan 20-23, 2011, and the Centennial Closing Gala, Dec 3rd, 2011 at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Drawing in the Expanded Field & Navy Quilts Update, Part 3

October 12, 2010


First of 2 quilts in progress for the Navy Quilting Challenge, loaded on the long arm and ready for quilting.


This past week has been a blur – day job, pilates, working on the 2 navy quilts, and an art show opening, Drawing in the Expanded Field, on Wed night.

Drawing in the Expanded Field

It was great to get to meet juror, Deanna Petherbridge and hear her presentation about The Primacy of Drawing, which is the title of her newly published book.  She also did a gallery talk in which she spoke about many of the works in the show and the drawing aspects within each.


During her Gallery Talk, Juror Deanna Petherbridge discusses the drawing aspects of the artwork included in the show.


I really love drawing and think it is so important to a successful work of art.  Regardless of what medium an artist chooses to work in, the work has to have strong drawing inherent within it, or I really don’t consider it very successful.  I just have no interest in artwork that lacks good drawing.

I am happy to see an art show devoted completely to DRAWING, and expanding the view of “drawing” such that it recognizes the drawing aspects contained within works that are not traditional drawing media (sculpture, textiles, installations, video, etc).    And I am thrilled to have one of my textile paintings included in this show, as the only piece representing the textile medium.  The show is a national juried show and is at the CSU Clara Hatton Gallery, Visual Arts Building on the CSU campus in Fort Collins, through Nov. 12.



Juror Deanna Petherbridge discusses the drawing aspects in a scroll artwork, during her Gallery Talk.



Juror Deanna Petherbridge and I, next to my Wall Drawing #1 textile painting.

Navy Quilt(s) Update

I am in the final week of completing my 2 entries for the Navy Quilt Challenge.  I ended up going with 2 of the 3 initial dye-painted whole cloth pieces that I had started, one of which is a collage of different imagery associated with Captain Bill’s Navy career and the other (shown below) a more abstract composition including some of the many types of planes that Bill has flown as well as some of the many gauges and dials from the cockpits of those planes.  You can read my previous posts on creating these Navy textile paintings here.


Navy Quilt #2 in progress, ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 40"x40", (cotton fabric, dye painted, stamped, stenciled, hand painted).


I will post final images of these 2 textile paintings later this week, once they are done done (finished quilting, binding, and with hanging sleeves attached).  And I’ll provide more details in that post about techniques I used to make these.  For now, it’s time to get to the studio and get busy!


Both of the Navy Quilt entries loaded on the long arm quilting machine, ready to be quilted.


Photos from the opening reception of the “Simply irRESISTible” Show

October 4, 2010

Viewers enjoying the artwork, including my 2 Tangled Web textile paintings, at the opening reception of "Simply irRESISTible" at Some Things Looming Gallery in Reading, PA.

The Simply irRESISTible show opened on Sept. 12 with a reception that evening.  Thanks to Gallery Managing Director, Rebekah Ritter, who posted some great photos, those of us who are not local to the venue and were unable to attend the opening or see the show, can now view all of the work in the show online here, via the world wide web.

My Tangled Webs #1 and #4 are included in this show which has textile artworks that all have been created using resist techniques.

Simply irRESISTible Show: Gallery view of artwork in the show, including my Tangled Web textile paintings.

"Simply irRESISTible Show" - Gallery view of some of the artwork in the show, including my Tangled Web textile paintings (center left).

It looks like the opening was a fun event and very well attended.  And the artwork looks really strong and interesting – makes me wish I could see it all in person.  And who knows, maybe I will see it in person, the show is still up until Nov. 14, so there’s still time to make a quick trip to Reading, PA!

Viewers, musicians, and artwork at the "Simply irRESISTible Show" Opening Event.

More viewers and artwork at the "Simply irRESISTible" opening reception.

I am posting just a few of the photos from the show in this blog post, so if you’d like to see the rest of the work in the show, you can view all of the photos from the opening of the show here.

Some Things Looming Gallery, Reading, PA

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