Diane Stavola Blog

Module 8

April 24th, 2008 by Diane

My spastic blog entries might make it seem like I’m out there doing nothing, but it’s just the opposite. I have been so busy I don’t have tons of free time for blogging. I love the written word,  but I love the tactile nature of my work more and the ideas are backlogging in my brain!!!

Module 8 is really pulling together everything that I have learned thus far about sketchbooking. The last two modules are assessments. So I am almost there! Yeah!

 I have really pulled out the stops on this one. I have been so energized and inspired! Maybe it’s the advent of Spring. Whatever the reason, I am on a creative whirlwind binge.

This module has dealt with apertures. Lots and lots of apertures. Looking through pages to reveal the designs underneath and looking back to see where you have been. A great concept.

Of all the work I have done so far for this module, my pears and my waterlilies have been my favorites.

module-8-activity-3j.jpgI used my pear image from  previous modules. I liked the carving my own stamps so much that I carved another of the pears and then found a poem by Linda Pastan about pears.

I painted and stamped and wrote the poem along the apertures and pages so that the images and poetry would unfold as the pages open.

      I have since located several books of poetry by Linda Pastan and just love her work. She is truly a woman’s poet.     

  module-8-activity-3p.jpg  module-8-activity-3o.jpg                                       These are two views of the final design. I have painted, cut and glued so that the image and poem actually become dimensional as they are revealed.  

   The poem is written so that it can be read from start to finish or read in parts but out of order. It is so well contructed that you can read it out of order and it still makes sense.     I do need to contact Ms. Pastan and get her permission to continue to develop this idea while using her work.                                                                                                                                                   

Fiber Forum Retreat 2008

April 24th, 2008 by Diane

As a member of EGA, I have been able to join its art group, Fiber Forum.  Members must jury in every three years, but those who do not wish to jury can become Friends of Fiber Forum.  I did jury in last year.

The group’s primary focus is finding venues to exhibit the work of its members and their annual retreats. This year I was able to take part in the retreat.

We met in Asheville, NC for a three day beading workshop given by Carol Wilcox Wells. What a combination of Wonderful!

Asheville is nestled snugly in the Smoky Mountains. It is the home of the Biltmore mansion and a myriad of fabulous restaurants, galleries, and shops. It is also home to the Haywood Park Hotel, which is where we stayed and where the workshop was held. Talk about being in the lap of luxury! 

The Haywood Park is in the center of downtown and walking distance to so many fabulous shops and restaurants as well as galleries, a theater, and a museum. We didn’t need a car for the entire stay!

About two blocks from the hotel is Chevron beads, heaven for the die-hard beader! And around the corner is Beads and Beyond! A smaller shop but also a beader’s must-see.

Some of the other shops that got the groups attention were its terrific clothing stores, Tops shoe store (I have never seen so many shoes in one place!!!), Purl’s- for the fiber and knitting enthusiasts in our midst, the art supply store-one of the entrances opens into the hotel lobby, and the renovated Woolworth’s building that now houses a co-op gallery and lunch counter, and last but not least, The Chocolate Fetish-the name says it all.

And the restaurants! My favorites are The Market Place – fabulous food, atmosphere, and service, Early Girl Eatery – Oooh! Breakfasts, Tupelo Honey Cafe – Amazing southern fusion cuisine in a fun raucous atmosphere, Malaprop’s coffee and World coffee, The Flying Frog-Bar, Deli, and Restaurant with outdoor seating, and ofcours, The Bier Garden-the best sweet potato fries I have ever had! And that’s just the tip of the Iceberg!

The workshop with Carol Wilcox Wells was a great learning experience. She is an artist of amazing skill and talent and generous in her sharing of those talents. Her classroom is comfortable and fun, and she makes sure that eveyone receives the individual attention they need.

I learned and learned and learned and had my vision expanded. How could you ask for more? I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Step 3: More Golden Rectangle

April 18th, 2008 by Diane

I have been busy in step 3 generating several different quilts and beaded projects. I probably have well over a hundred different color ways for all of them combined. I want to stitch as many as possible, when the opportunity presents.

I took some of the photos and also made a large beaded chart using the colors from the pictures taken at street level.    The colors are quite muted in comparison to the bright primaries of the other applique quilt and bead chart.                                           

I did this chart in Bead Creator Pro. The manipulation of the photos was done in Corel Draw. The cost of beading a 5×7 hanging is prohibitive. So I decided that for my final project I would take one of the motifs and use it to create a pendant. beaded-quilt2.jpg 

I don’t tend to wear muted colors so I went back to the bright primaries for the pendant. As I mentioned, I did many, many color ways and in order to keep true to the original motifs and the spirit of Art Deco, I retained most of the original colors but made them more intense.

The first pendant chart contained well over a hundred colors. In fact, I think it contained about 150 colors.  This made for a lovely chart, but far too many colors. The more colors a chart contains, the more expensive the piece is. And there are many colors that  use only one or two beads. Paying $5 for a tube of beads so that only one or two can be used seems a bit extreme. bead-chart.jpg So I reduced the number of beads to three colors: yellow (gold), red, and blue. I used two different yellow beads: a matte and a shiny metallic. The red and blue are transparent and lined with silver. They are very close to being saturated colors, although that is affected by the light reflection from their shiny surfaces and the silver lining. As the lighting conditions change, so do the intensities and values of the beads. The yellow beads are less saturated. If I had used a more intense yellow, I think it would have overwhelmed the whole piece.    

 The chart at right contains the reduced color palette.  I worked my first sample in peyote stitch. It created a very supple piece of beading. Unfortunately, it was not suitable for the odd count that was required. Increasing in odd count became a problem.

My next choice was brick stitch. This worked much better. The pendant lost much of the suppleness, which was actually good for the overall work.              chart-1.jpg

 I made several mistakes and learned in the process that brick stitch can be cut apart and reworked with few negative consequences. For this I was very grateful, because my most disastrous error occurred when I was three quarters of the way through beading the piece.

As I approached completion, I found that the upper most triangles were just not appropriate to the design. They had been bothering me all along but they fit the Golden Rectangle parameter, and I was reluctant to  make significant changes to the size. I ended up having to any way.


   This is the final design chart. The amount required to lengthen the design in order to add the curves at the top was easily offset by adding a few beads to the width of the bottom curves. Those top curves add a great deal to the cohesiveness of the entire design.

Now I just have to complete the necklace that the pendant will hang from and I am set.


Module 7

April 18th, 2008 by Diane

This module has been all about printing and creating original stamps from my own photos and art work as well as using fonts.  activity-2a.jpg

Using this photo that I took in Chicago last fall, I did a line drawing that I then transferred to a  piece of speedball rubber and carved


into a stamp. I cut the stamp into four quadrants that I then reshaped by trimming. At left is  one activity-3-ntf.jpgof the prints I made using the stamp.

I explored this further by creating a print with acrylic paints and then extending the lines with pencil.            

 For the next exercise, I used the letter Q and created a stencil with which to print designs.

activity-5.jpgThe background was created using oil pastels and then an over wash of water color. The stenciled letter was made with oil pastels.

The one problem I have found with the oil pastels is that they never seem to dry. They remain tacky almost forever and need a sheet of waxed paper over them to protect the page next to them.

My favorite for this exercise is this print.  The background was created with a water color wash and the print was made using the oil pastels again.   

activity5-a.jpg  I didn’t use oil pastels in the background, but let the water colors create the background.    The paper was also smoother in texture since it wasn’t water color paper, so the look and feel (literally) is ver different.

I am surprised at how the actual physical texture of the paper impacts me. I know that I am a very tactile person, and this is true even when I am working with paints. A good thing to know about myself.

I returned to a drawing and photo from a previous step for the next exercise. It is my pears.    There is nothing of special interest about my particular pear except that I like it.   So I drew it onto some styrofoam and created a stamp with it.

  copy-of-module-7-activity-3.jpg                                                          activity-3a.jpgThe shape is relatively easy to draw. So using acrylic paints again, I created a strips of pears that traverse two pages of my sketchbook.

                    activity-3c-ntf.jpg       activity-3c-ntf.jpgAs the exercises become more complicated, I am enjoying them more. They are more interesting and challenging. And I am always up for a challenge.


March 17th, 2008 by Diane

A friend emailed to let me know that I won a second place ribbon at Woodlawn. Yeah!!!! I Woodlawnam thrilled. Sometimes the prize is  attainable. It’s not why I do the work, but it sure is a nice compliment and encouragement.

 This is the set that won the ribbon.    



March 5th, 2008 by Diane

I think I may get addicted to this blogging thing. It’s what got me to have a website created. I first started on Blogspot which got me thinking that I really needed to do a web page.

Then I lost my password to blogspot (not an unusual occurrence for me) and I had this blog to use. Now I have found my password and will continue both blogs. There may be large time gaps in my entries, but such is my life: there’s lots going on, I just don’t have time to sit a write at leisure. My grandson is the love of my life (don’t tell my husband) and he keeps Grandma very busy at least two days a week. I wouldn’t  miss that time with him for all the world.

If I can figure out how to do it, I will add a link to my other blog here and vice versa. In the meantime, if you just have to read some more of my ramblings go to: www.handiwomen.blogspot.com

The Jury Process

March 5th, 2008 by Diane

I truly love to walk into a large exhibition space and see my piece hanging in the midst of all that wonderful art. What a thrill! It is the same feeling regardless of the venue or type of exhibition, but it is especially rewarding to know that the work was chosen out of many entries by a jury. It’s a boost that validates my expenditure of time and energy.

I don’t know about other artists, but there are times when I really have doubts about what I am doing. I wonder whether it’s worth the effort or not. I will read about an opportunity to exhibit and think that my work just isn’t good enough. Then I’ll jury into a show which is great. And when I walk into that room and see my piece, I always think, “Wow, I like it.” I fall in love with the work all over again. More than anything else, that is what keeps me going back to the jurying process: the falling in love with my own work.

The process itself is beyond masochistic. It is brutal to be rejected. I know that it is not necessarily that the work is bad (although, if I am honest, sometimes it is). Sometimes it is that the work is not the right color, or the juror is looking for a specific theme that the piece doesn’t match, or the juror just doesn’t get it, whatever. The reason doesn’t really matter. The pain is still the same.

Fortunately, I jury in often enough that my ego isn’t totally crushed, because no matter how hard I try to remember that the rejection isn’t personal, I still feel bruised after getting a rejection notice.

Here are two pieces I am waiting to hear about. I sure do hope I get to see them hanging in exhibition.




March 5th, 2008 by Diane

I think the reason that I am an artist is color.  I love color. All color. My favorite color is red. But then sometimes it is blue or yellow or green or…. I just love color.

I remember falling in love with color in the second grade. We were given a worksheet with different shapes on it. We had to color the shapes in such a way as to demonstrate an analogous gradation. I chose yellow through orange to red.

I can see that sheet as though it were yesterday. Little did I know how much paperwork would be involved in being an artist.

Until very recently, I had an image of myself holed up in my studio happily sketching, painting, stitching, glueing, burning, cutting and twisting my chosen media into gorgeous pieces of art.

I had no illusions that anyone would even like what I do.  I am often still surprised that anyone does like it, and some people even like it enough to buy some of it. Now that is a daily source of amazement to me.

Some of what I do is lovely; some of it is weird; some of it is just blah! All of it is satisfying at some level. Satisfying to me, in such a way that I actually feel a sense of completeness when I have managed to scrape together a few hours to actually create something or work on designing something.

My illusions have been shattered now that I have pursued my love of color to its logical expression. What is the point of any artistic endeavor if no one but the artist sees it? Art is supposed to be shared. It is supposed to enhance life. It is a method of communication.

In the effort to share my work I have found that there is an incredible amount of paperwork. And I include time working on my website and this blog in paperwork.

Entering exhibits, trying to jury into exhibits, keeping track of inventory, purchasing supplies, writing classes, writing proposals, keeping my blog and upkeeping my website. It all takes a crazy amount of time, but it is a necessary part of the process.

Well, enough griping! I have a website to update, more blog to write, and maybe I will even get to stitch some today.

The New Year and Classes

January 25th, 2008 by Diane

Amazingly, I have survived another holiday season.  Although, as usual, it took its toll in time and energy as evidenced by the fact that I have not written a single item here for almost three months. Well, Happy New Year (a bit late) and back to work!

I have been able to get a few classes together and written several proposals, so my time hasn’t been all fun and games.

I do love Swarovski Rivolis so I have done a series of classes using them. The pieces are all in 24 kt gold plate, Swarovski bicones and Rivolis.  I love wearing them to events and have gotten lots of compliments.

As soon as I have all my pictures of the pieces ready, I will add them here as well as on the class page on the website.

Nintendo – The Demise

November 27th, 2007 by Diane

Well, having served gallantly and fearlessly, the Nintendo did finally succumb.  I could not get the thing back together.  So on a crisp autumn day, Nintendo was carried to its next to final resting spot in our trash bin. On a positive note, it no longer is gathering dust in my attic!

Here is the final tribute collage I created with some of the photos I took.  There are also pictures I drew (can you tell which? LOL) and some of the pictures were altered in Paint Shop Pro.  nintendo-composite-3-a.jpg

I couldn’t figure out how to do the collage in Paint Shop so I moved the pictures into Corel Draw and made the collage.  Then I took a picture of it and reloaded that back into Paint Shop and cropped and resized for the blog.

Learning new software programs takes an awful lot of time, but eventually, I expect to be able to do this in a faster method.

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