Thursday, June 28, 2012

Photography class assignments

My creative energies right now are pretty bound up in the digital photography class I'm taking. So I thought I'd share some of the assignments, and the images I came up with for them.

This is the 'Up against the edge' assignment. We were supposed to use the edges of the photograph in a deliberate way, drawing attention away from the center of the image. This helps counter the tendency to put everything smack dab in the middle of the shot. These were taken on back roads around Flagstaff, Arizona.

This set was about 'selective focus'. In other words, one part of the shot is in sharp focus, and the rest is blurred out.

And then the counterpoint to that assignment, a couple with extended depth of field where everything is in sharp focus. I played with the f-stop setting to accomplish this pair of assignments. This set was taken at the airplane graveyard down in Tucson, AZ.

A couple for a 'freeze motion' subject. That is my daughter practicing her veil work in the back yard. I needed a fast shutter speed for this.

Not surprisingly, this was paired with a 'blur motion' assignment. That is a D20 D&D dice spinning around there. In this case, a slower shutter speed caught the blur of the movement.

And this latest one was to shoot self portraits. I had to be in the shot, and I had to take the shot. I learned how to set the timer on my camera for this set. The first two are of my historical recreation alter ego, Mistress Gwen.

Then we've got my imp of a shadow, off playing in the woods.

And finally, a shot of me behind a drawing of me. This took some fiddling to get it to line up correctly. I did the drawing several years ago, from a photo set that was taken of me several years before that. So this is a self portrait on several layers. And, being a life drawing model, I find some symbolism in a shot of the woman behind the artwork.

I've got 3 more weeks in the class. This weekend's assignment is to shoot panoramas, which we'll stitch together in Photoshop. That will be another new thing for me to learn. I really feel like I've stretched already in this class. It will be fascinating to see what the next few weeks bring!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Color in the studio

I'm taking a digital photography class this summer, and this weekend's assignment was to make a dominant color actually the subject of the picture. So I spent the afternoon puttering around my studio, making textile/color pictures. I figured it might be fun to share some of those shots here, just for eye candy.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Hand Painted Silk Ruanas: New product proof-of-concept

If you'll remember, a while ago I mentioned that I was experimenting with painting silk panels to try to make a ruana out of. I included a shot of one of the panels on the stretcher frame drying. ( Well, I steamed those panels to set the dye a few days ago, and today I washed them, ironed them, and sewed them together into a finished product. And I am absolutely tickled with how they turned out!!!

And of course, I took pictures.

So, I had two big rectangular scarves. I matched up the edges, and pinned one edge half way up the side.

Well, almost half way up the side. You can see here that I folded the scarves in half to find the mid point, and then pinned up to about 2 1/2 inches shy of that mid point. This is because I want the finished silk to hang evenly from front to back on the body. The mid point needs to be on the top of the shoulders. But there is this silly neck thing that gets in the way, and you need to give enough room for that too. If you're making your own, you can try it on and adjust the pins to drape properly on your own body type.

Then I sewed the seam by machine. I needed to be careful right at the start of the seam, because my machine wanted to suck the silk right into it.

Then I gently ironed the seam flat. (Yes, I know the silk changed color. Magic!)

And then I held my breath, and tried them on...and grinned in relief because the idea worked! I love mine!! I'm going to keep the blue one for myself. The orange one is being modeled by my daughter here, and she was very tempted to keep it for herself. But instead it is being traded for some Medieval garb for her, and I'll make her another one once I make another supply order.

And? They fold up into a nice tiny package, so they should be great for travel.

The only drawback I've found so far is that the silk will wrinkle if you scrunch down on the couch and play video games for hours while sitting on your new pretty.

So, I think it is time to make another order to Dharma Trading Company for more silk scarves. This is a creation that I am really proud of, and I can't wait to add them to my line of products. (If I calculated the time and supplies right, they should sell for about $85.) I really like the idea of 'wearable art', and would like to expand more into that area.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pattern weights? Picnic weights? Wedding Favors? Wet felted stones.

Yup, I've been playing with the felt again. This time I've made a slightly larger version of my little Fairy Stones. These are big and heavy enough to actually be useful. I use them as pattern weights when I'm sewing. They'd also be good for table settings for picnics, to hold the paper plates from blowing away. One lady suggested that they would be lovely wedding favors, scattered on the tables at the reception. Someone else thought they'd be awesome worry stones. And another person figured they were modern pet rocks.

What are they actually? Smooth palm sized river rocks, that are flat on at least one side so they will sit nicely. I wash the rocks, then wrap them in at least three layers of 100% wool roving. I drift different colors of roving around the outside. Then I wet the whole mess down with hot soapy water, and rub the wool and rock between my hands until the wool almost magically felts down into a seamless, soft and fuzzy coat.

Aren't they fun? I've added them to my Etsy shop, in sets of a half dozen for $24. I'm really looking forward to hearing what people decide to use them for. What do you think?