Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Ho Ho

and a Happy New Year to all our blog followers.
Thanks for taking the time to visit with us.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Paper Cloth & Foam Embellishments

Our December FOG session was a stimulating one. We were working with our paper cloth, or fabric paper (whichever term you like) from Diane’s demo at our November session, and using it as the background of our art piece. Pat came with hers virtually completed, but the rest of us were still busy working by lunch break. 
Completed Paper Cloth/Fabric Paper Samples
We spent the afternoon making Fun/Craft Foam embellishments. Yes, even though that sounds rather hokey, they really do turn out great. In a nutshell, you heat up your Fun/Craft Foam with a heat gun, press a rubber stamp into it until it cools and voilĂ , you have an embellishment ready for painting, inking, or colouring by other means. The harder red rubber stamps with simple, deeply etched designs seem to work the best.

We discovered that we could heat the foam sheets and run it through the dry embossing machine (Sizzix) to impress the image. This opens up a plethora of possibilities for designs. We also cut some shapes out of the foam, folded over the top (around a knitting needle), carefully heated the foam and impressed it. This makes a rather nice pendant, especially painted with the Lumiere paints.
Fun with Fun Foam
 We also discovered that not all Fun/Craft Foam is created equal. The thicker the Fun/Craft Foam, the better the impression of the stamp, or embosser. We were really churning them out and didn't get a lot of time to paint, ink or colour them. (Lumiere paint by Jacquard is the best for some metallic or pearlescent colour).
January Challenge
In fact, we were so enamoured with our efforts that we have decided to use the woman’s face for our January challenge, the start of an ongoing art journal project. Can’t wait!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Thornhill Branch

Well, we finished our last Inspired Art Journal session with the Calgary Public Library at the Thornhill Branch.  We had a very energetic group and they were all very creative with their journal pages. It is so inspiring to see people jump in, be creative and want to continue on when they leave.  We have certainly had great support from the library staff for these sessions and we are glad we were able to be a part of the One Book One Calgary event.
Thornhill Branch Journalers
We are happy to announce that we will be leading a Fibre Arts session in the Spring at the Calgary Public Library, Central Branch downtown. We'll post further details as we approach that time.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Glenmore Square Branch

Christina won the Eco-Journal
Our second to last Inspired Journal session based on the Book of Awesome was held on Thursday at the Glenmore Square Branch tucked away in the corner of a small shopping mall. The group was lively and enthusiastic and jumped right in trying out some new found hand lettering skills and decorating their pages.

Glenmore Square Branch
Our final session of the Inspired Journals will be held next Saturday, November 24 at the Thornhill Branch  from 10:30 - 12:00. Sign up on line at the Calgary Public Library. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Book of Awesome - Inspired Art Journals

We've completed two of the four sessions of Inspired Art Journals at the Calgary Public Library for the One Book, One Calgary programs based on The Book of Awesome by Canadian author Neil Pasricha.

The first was at the newly opened Bowness branch in the NW and the Southwood branch in the SW. Participants were shown a number of mixed media techniques to decorate their journals and discovered that with a few white dots and some black dashes that their own handwriting was quite cool! We also wowed them with heat embossing with embossing powders and our industrial strength heat guns! Fortunately we didn't set off the fire alarms this time!
Bowness Library

Southwood Library

There are still two sessions of Inspired Art Journals remaining. November 15 at Glenmore Square and November 24 at Thornhill. You can register at the Calgary Public Library site.

Each participant is given a wonderful journal courtesy of the Calgary Public Library. For a $12 per year library membership fee these adult programs are a real bargain!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Arts Club @ the Library

Jan and I have just returned from the Saturday Arts Club at the Central Library in downtown Calgary where we gave a 2 hour workshop called Mixed Media Madness. A small, but enthusiastic group of participants learned to paint canvas boards with a credit card, use rubber stamps, embossing powder and a heat gun, and embellish their canvas with a mixture of die cuts, tissue napkins and buttons, all adhered with a healthy dollop of Mod Podge. Our theme for the session was Nature.

Many thanks to Candace at the library for all her help. Candace even dove in and started on a panel for herself. Thanks also to Scott Gerlitz, Financial Adviser for Edward Jones Financial for being our very first Patron of the Arts and giving FOG a grant to purchase art supplies for these sessions at the library.

Arts Club Participants and Their Finished Canvas

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Encaustic Update

As promised last week, some photos of the encaustic projects we worked on at our last FOG session. Arlene took the more painterly approach and the rest of us did mixed media collage. As you can see our styles are quite different. I'm sure that there are more projects in the works.

Untitled - Jan S.
Untitled - Arlene W.E.

Serenity - Meredith H.
Just a Little Cog - Diane D.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

We Were Smokin' on Tuesday!

Our October meeting came and went so quickly but we had a great time trying our hand at Encaustic Mixed Media. Despite all the safeguards we put into place, windows and doors open for ventilation, the stove hood fan and table fan on, location of the fire extinguisher, we still managed to set off the smoke detectors!

We called the building manager to say that we had NOT set the place on fire and would she come to turn off the alarm for us. She was very nice about it all and has even offered us a locked cupboard to store our items.

Encaustic - a very interesting addition to collage mixed media. An old process brought up-to-date and finding its way into a new generation of mixed media artists. While we all still have lots to learn about it - mainly working out of doors on a nice day - I think that we all agreed that we liked the process.

I was most intrigued that you could put rub-on decals, Letraset letters and foil accents directly onto the wax.

Photos to follow...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Calgary Public Library Sessions

In a previous post I promised that I would update everyone on a fun series of Mixed Media and Art Journaling sessions that Jan and I will be facilitating for the Calgary Public Library in November.

The first Saturday of November we will offer Mixed Media Madness as part of the ongoing Arts Club offered by the library on Saturdays at the Central Library Branch downtown.

During November we are leading workshops on Inspired Art Journals at 4 city libraries based on the One Book, One Calgary event hosted by the library each year. Our Mixed Media and Journaling techniques will be based on The Book of Awesome, the One Book, One Calgary selection for 2012.

EcoJournals a Success!

In the previous post we mentioned our involvement at the EcoLiving Fair using recycled materials to make a denim covered art journal.

Those who attended had a great time creating and it was gratifying to see that our project was a success.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Art Journals

After a very fun and successful trip to Portland to see a quilt show and to finally get to visit a Dick Blick Art Shop in person, Jan and I are back and ready to complete planning for several workshops that we will be doing for EcoLiving Events and the Calgary Public Library.

At the EcoLiving Events session at SAIT on Saturday, September 29 we will be doing two sessions on making your own Art Journals using recycled materials. We've been having lots of fun putting them together and coming up with creative uses for items that normally hit the blue bins once they come through the door.

I'll be back to update you on our sessions at the Calgary Public Library, so stay tuned.

Monday, 17 September 2012

September Meeting

September 11, 2012

Everyone is back to school.  Including the members of FOG for another year of learning, exploring and sharing.  


Yes we have a plan but most of us are nonconformists and view plans as guidelines not the law.  Sometimes we deviate because life is not cooperating as was the case for two of us who are in the middle of moving and have limited or no access to our supplies!   Sometimes, creativity sends us in a different direction searching for an outcome while trying, a least on the surface, to adhere to the general plan. 

No matter, because we all agree agendas, rules, etc. are merely guidelines.  We have as few of them as possible.

The plan for September was to prepare any substrate, such as paper, canvas, fabric, wood, etc. for future use as a background or part of another project.  Suggested mediums included paint, watercolor pencils, crayons, and gesso.  As usual, anything goes!  The goal was to prepare backgrounds for future projects and we certainly did that.


In the afternoon we explored using foil to add a little sparkle.  

Using liquid glue to adhere foil on fabric is tricky.  The glue tends to soak into the fabric in some spots and lie nicely on top in other spots.  The result is an uneven application of glue with various drying times!  The sections where the glue has soaked in is ready before the rest.   Along with varying drying times due to temperature and humidity, the results are random.  

Fusible web makes a more consistent adhesive.  The first method is to cut out the required shape, fuse the adhesive side to your fabric (if you use steam a seam you first remove the paper from one side) and use the iron to apply the foil.  The foil will adhere where there is fusible web.  No surprises, nice even application.

An alternate method is to adhere the foil directly to the fusible web.  The foil does not go on evenly because the web is textured and it is only the highest spots that adhere to the foil.  The result is a nice lacy effect which you can then fuse to fabric.  The one drawback is that you have carefully remove the fusible web from the backing sheet (you need the non foil side exposed to fuse it to fabric).  It wants to stretch, pull, tear, and generally be disgusting.  But the effect when fused to fabric is worth the effort!

BoNash 007 is a granular adhesive that can be sprinkled on in any amount and then the foil is applied in the usual manner with an iron.  The heavier the application of BoNash, the heavier the foil.  You can also use a freezer paper stencil to confine the grains of adhesive to a specific area, such as a star shape.  Using the freezer paper stencil you can get a specific shape same as with fusible web, but the foil doesn’t go on as densely.   The lighter the application of grains, the less foil that adheres to the fabric.

Lots of options for lots of glitter!

And here are the results of our efforts:

Decolorant (discharge paste) through a stencil onto cotton madras

Acrylic paints on (vintage 45+ year old) watercolour paper with red foiling

Tissue over bingo dauber ink on a book page

Painted & foiled fabric, painted fusible web and organza

Painted and foiled fabric, painted and heated Timtex,
painted coffee filter and painted needlework canvas

Multiple layers of paper, stamped and painted on canvas

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

It's A New Year for FOG!

While today is the first day back to school for most students the members of the Fibre Optics Group are looking forward to a new year in 7 sleeps!

We're quite excited to have new members, a new format and a new blog where we will be sharing our ongoing antics, activities and art throughout the year.

Stay tuned...