wordless Wednesday

© 2010 BJ Parady


new discovery

I occasionally teach a beginning workshop on silk painting. We use fiber reactive dyes, silk scarves, and Elmer's school glue (the washable kind) as a resist. It's kind of a play date for adults; there are no 'bad' results, and fun is had by all.

Last week when I went to buy the glue for the workshop, I noticed that they are now making washable glue sticks. OK, truth time, turns out that when I got home I discovered I already had one in my glue drawer. Bought it, never used it. But I thought that maybe one could get some cool marks by using it.

I just ran it across the demo scarf, pressing hard in some places, not so hard in others, hoping for a dry brush look. When I painted the dye over the scarf, it looked as if there was some resisting going on, but it was hard to tell. I don't think any of my students ventured to try it.

But they should have. Here is a peek at one result:

© 2010 BJ Parady

I love the way the colors separated out, the white spots, the yellow crackled area. I think I could do something with this. Or you could. I'm sharing the idea because I'd like to see what could be done with it, and I haven't all the time in the world to do everything I think of.


on originalness

© 2010 BJ Parady
A friend of mine gave me an old copy of Beadwork Magazine because I was interested in a technique in it. But I read through the rest of it, too, and discovered that the beading world is wrestling through some of the same issues of copying/ copywrite/ originality that the art quilt world struggles with. The SAQA group list is currently discussing whether or not an award winning quilt is original; the Quilt Art list just got done with its semiannual discussion of copywrite. My universes collide.

I'm not sure that very many would-be artists set out to copy someone else. They do it because they need to follow a template to learn, or they don't think they can do it on their own--having been convinced somewhere in childhood that they're not 'artistic'. And that's ok at the beginning

But I believe that if you're going to grow as an artist, if you're going to find your own voice, you have to be willing to take that step off the cliff and hope that there's a ledge not too far down that will shelter you until you are ready to make the next step.

In addition, once your artistic voice starts to make itself heard, you may not be able to copy anyone anyway--you'll have to add your own touches, change things up here and there. That's why I left traditional quilting, why I started to believe that maybe I could be an artist after all.

My current inspirations are wispy, organic, hard to describe. If you asked me what inspired a certain piece, I could often only speak in generalities--the work I've been doing in the last couple of weeks was inspired by a hillside of blooming redbuds--but you might have a hard time figuring that out from looking at the work on your own.

So if you're just starting in the artistic life, step away from the safe. Try something on your own. It'll be fine, no matter how it turns out--no lives will be lost here. You'll learn something. And you might surprise yourself.


Wordless Wednesday

© 2010 BJ Parady



What to do, what to do. I could

© 2010 BJ Parady

unpack from my two day silk paper making workshop with Deb Menz. Or I could

© 2010 BJ Parady

play with the results of said workshop. These need stitching, gluing, applying to journal covers, etc. Or I could

© 2010 BJ Parady

get ready for the two workshops I'm teaching at the Keokuk (Iowa) Art Center this week. Or I could

© 2010 BJ Parady

deconstruct the silk screens I started last week. We did find Gorilla brand duct tape, and I have some new screens to try it on. So far the colored Duck brand seems to be sticking--printing with them will tell the tale.

And of course there's the spring yard work to do--mowing, edging, planting planters.

Since the workshop is fast approaching, that will come first. Then household chores. But what next? I flit, I fly, I dither.

But after this week, there are no deadlines looming. If you need me then, look for me in the studio.


Wordless Wednesday, part deux

© 2010 BJ Parady

Wordless Wednesday

© 2010 BJ Parady


moving through

Art doesn't just imitate life. It is life. Sometimes--rarely-- there are glorious moments when everything comes together, as planned, and the art I make looks just like what I envisioned before starting. Other times, it's one thing after another.

Right now, the bump on the road to fame and fortune is duct tape.

© 2010 BJ Parady

Plain, simple, common duct tape. One uses it to tape off a silk screen, so that the ink doesn't seep around the edges. It takes me about 15 minutes to completely tape a screen, which apparently is then supposed to last a long time if you let it cure 24 hours--during the process of silk screening, you use a lot of water and scrub a lot. Mine has been loosening up on the screen as seen above.

I've tried retaping. I've tried letting it set longer before the first use. I've tried a different role of tape--albeit one I already had. Nothing seemed to matter. And when I googled the interwebs looking for a solution, it seemed like I was the only one with this problem. I tweeted. I complained on my fan page.

Why go to all this work? Look what I can do with a silk screen:

© 2010 BJ Parady

And that's from the very first time I tried deconstructed silk screens on my own. I have things I want to do with this process.

One of my 'fans' (that term does sound a little pompous, doesn't it?) suggested colored Duck brand Duct tape from WalMart. The rolls I already had were the same brand, but the traditional silver (from back when duct tape was used for taping ducts). So I bought a colored roll, based on two ideas--maybe the colored one gets more glue, or maybe the glue dries out with time and I needed fresh tape.

I've now taped one screen:

© 2010 BJ Parady

I chose black because even though I liked the bright colors, I figured that if it works out, color would be distracting to the screening process. It's now curing...I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



I've been bad about posting. It's mostly from a lack of having something to say. I'm stuck on several pieces, I'm playing with new pieces, thinking about restructuring my website, yadda, yadda, yadda. That said, let's go with an inspiring picture instead of words:

© 2009 BJ Parady

I call it Constable Sky.

More soon, I promise/