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I’d like you to meet my new inspiration, Jill Gardiner. Jill is an 19 year old artist with a passion and flare for pattern and design. She walked into my studio one day to exchange a necklace I had created for her as a gift from her family. We had set aside a time to redesign the necklace to be more to her liking. During our visit, she asked if I could give her some advice on the wall design for her bedroom. She had already been experimenting with Wallovers stencils.
Then she pulled out a paper cutting design from her folder that made my jaw drop! She had cut and created this tiny, intricate pattern in a repeat islamic tile design… BY HAND!
I soon forgot about the jewelry project… as we spoke about Islamic art and architecture, pattern, color and textiles. What fun! (Above are her designs soon to be Wallovers’ Stencils)
Jill found a love for art after taking a multi-media art class in high school at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut.
“I used newspaper to build a replica of a mosque and I realized I loved working with paper!”
But her real inspiration came after a civilization class with a fascinating unit on Islamic art and architecture. Kudos to that teacher! But all the real credit goes to Jill, who took this love into her independent senior study on the Ottoman Empire architecture. Her project focused on Turkey and the works of Sinan, one of the head architects under Suleyman I.
Jill traveled to Turkey to see the architecture which increased her passion for the style.
“I love to incorporate graphic design in my work and, because I and a perfectionist and love math, I find repeat designs fascinating! I used to carry around a ruler in school because I loves lines, but now I can see my work developing as I create more complex curves and repeats.” she says
If you have read blogs about my daughter, Stephanie Davis, you will see why I think these two girls would get along! Stephanie, also a huge lover of pattern and design, will be soon exhibiting her colorful, ethereal paintings at The Skinny Pancake restaurant in Burlington, Vermont.
I can only imagine if I had both of them here to collaborate!
Jill is now an intern in the studio, working on new designs for Cynthia designs and Wallovers, marketing and efforts for the Canvas Peace Project.
Her paper cutting above will be translated into our newest design to be released in March….And….she did an excellent job as my assistant faux painting this very large wall for Spinning Lotus Studios using Wallovers Serenity stencil.
Unfortunately for us, Jill does need to go back to school, but we hope to share our passions for pattern as long as we possibly can. So, if you call Wallovers or Cynthia Designs and hear a new, energetic voice…say “hello” to Jill.
I cannot imagine where this passionate and talented young woman’s talents will take her, but I definitely will be watching and staying a part of it!
Oh, and I think she was happy with how her necklace came out. Maybe we will design some jewelry together too!
My son, (Ben Davis, Beats-On-Tap) says I am not a good blogger because I don’t post enough. He’s right. After all, he blogs regularly about music and it is worth checking out! I wait and wait until something really inspires me. Well it hit me tonight as I walked into my studio. My husband and I had just returned from the airport after dropping off our daughter Stephanie to fly to Barcelona, Spain for 3 months. No… not as part of a college program, or any program… After Freshman year at Connecticut College, Steph felt she needed to break out and away from the constraints of art classroom assignments and see what kind of artist she could really become. Somehow she landed upon a website for Estudio-Nomada. She applied and was accepted to the independent art program in Barcelona. She found a family to live with and after private lessons of Krav Maga, self defense class by the best in the State at breakthru fitness.… off she went.
For a moment I felt empty walking back into the art studio without her paint brush in action as it had been all summer. She had just completed a large canvas and her palette papers were still there like their own work of art.
Her glass lamp-working table left with glass all about and an empty gas tank.
…but then I found myself sifting through her work table. I had not touched her side of the studio for weeks as she prepared her journals and inspirations for her 3 month art adventure. I admit I was tempted to throw out some scraps and gain some real estate on the 6 foot table but I never did and tonight I could not break away from the table of art books, cuttings of colorful hand-painted paper, mini cards, poems, fabric journals and paintings. With a list of things to accomplish myself, I just sat and let the colors and textures soak into my senses and let the time slip away.
The last thing we had done together at home was sit across from each other on our yoga mats and say a final Namaste. Finding her work left behind was like another ujjayia breath left from her in the room.
I am tempted to photograph every page of her journals and publish them. Don’t worry Steph…. I kept them closed. But seriously. Her writing is Bob Dylanesque and her paintings a mix of Dali, Kandinsky and Matisse wrapped up in one hippy, vibe, mystical, mother-earth-loving imagination. Is that a genre??
It is hard not to get lost in her passion for her work. Her cat is obviously protecting her territory so I guess I will not be cleaning up tonight!
I recently took a trip to the textile museum in Washington, DC. The museum is small with only a few rooms which I felt couldn’t do justice to all the history and global influences on textile design. I was mostly enthralled with the gift shop with a wonderful selection of books and magazines I found myself sitting on the floor sifting through pages of scrumptious photos.
I love textiles. I just want to look deeply into the stitches and find out how each and every weave is accomplished. I never appreciated work more than my visit to the weaving market in Chinchero, Peru located 13,000 feet above sea level. The air is thin but that does not stop these women from producing. We watched as they dyed alpaca wool and worked looms for hours creating the tightest stiches imaginable.
Shopping in the local market was a feast for the eyes with brilliant colors and patterns stacked like candy.
The difficult part of shopping was choosing just one thing to bring home when every piece was its own work of art.
After a long day in the high altitude, we happily returned to our peaceful chakra garden, mystical surroundings and yoga room at Wilka tiki in the sacred valley of Urabumba.
Driving down 3000 feet in altitude also helped the headaches and breathing, giving us energy for some much needed yoga. In the studio I was keenly aware of the antique carpets and woven mats used making each little bench a unique retreat. Everything at Wilka Tika awakened the senses of the soul.
Have you ever had the “after vacation blues” when you know work is awaiting you and the memories and restful feeling of the trip begins to slip away? Those blues set in for me on the airplane ride home. To channel the energy from the trip I took out my computer and began drawing the hundreds of small geometric shapes that would create “Batik” by Wallovers, reminding me of the fabrics in the peaceful valley.
“Batik” is a stencil design that once applied to any surface will create the look of hand paintied and dyed fabric.
Remembering the wonderful spaces at Wilka Tika Retreat I realized the space between the walls at home was a perfect spot to fabricate a bench in our own small yoga room. I began by painting a wonderful red and fushia base, hand-brushed to create a an impression of a woven background. I used modern masters metallic Gold Rush paint and some mica powders for the strong contrast of a yellow gold. The base was then made from Terracotta chimney flues that I painted in a periwinkle blue.
The final touch was the Bench pillows made from the fabrics collected at the markets in Peru and the Chakra Gardens book from Wilka Tika. What a cure for the blues!!!
Proceeds from the book benefit the non-profit Wilka Tika Children’s Fund to support the isolated mountain schools and Andean children in their communities founded by the writer and Wilka Tika owner Carol Cumes.
When I was asked to paint on muslin I was challenged. First of all, if I made a mistake, if the paint bled under the stencil or left a mark, I was finished. You can’t paint over or get fabric paint off fabric. I was also asked to try a new paint that I was introduced to at the Quilt show in Houston last fall. So the inexperience with this particular paint and the thin Muslin was enough to make me sweat. The muslin was given to me by Rockland industries to then be made into a quilt. hmmm, ok, I’d like to see this happen.
Well, Of course I used a Wallovers stencil to start and chose a couple of contrasting and happy colors, copper and aqua for my design. I chose Mediteranean Tile as it is simple, small with an easy repeat! By blocking off some of the design with masking tape, I easily turned the stencil into a two color pattern.
Surprisingly, the thin muslin was extremely easy to work with! (Roc-Lon #5115 118/120″, bleached, 100% cotton, CRF crease resistant finish). The stencil, with a little spray adhesive on the back, stayed beautifully on the fabric. The fabric did not scoot and the paint……like butta! (Stewart Gill Paints available through Notions Marketing)
I still do not know if it was the fabric and the way it accepted the paint, or the really creamy, delicious fabric paint that made the job so simple. I used the old swirl stencil technique, (I am usually a pouncer),and the small, 8oz container of paint completed 2 sides of a king size quilt. It just kept going and going! After stenciling the two king size sides of muslin, I shipped it back to Roclon and off it went to the quilter. Where the real magic happened!!!
White Lotus Quilting in Bainbridge, Washington took this basic painted muslin and tuned it into a real work of art.
By adding her own creative touches to the design, Marybeth O’Halloran and her quilting machines at White Lotus created a one-of-a-kind, muslin quilt.
Gorgeous! what a team effort! Thanks Rockland, Wallovers, Stewart Gills Paints and White Lotus. Can’t wait to see it displayed at the next quilt show!
It’s pretty easy to blog about Stephanie Davis. Afterall, she is my daughter. But watching her paint is truly inspiring to me. She changes from a teenager of 17 to a young woman full of experiences and passions that come to life in her work. Her paintings enable the viewer to escape into an ethereal world; magical and mystical.
Her creations inlcude memories, experiences, life lessons and clandestine objects all deep within the complicated twists and turns of color.
Her paintings relieve stress but her palette is so passionate it also explodes with life.
Today Stephanie is having an especially fun time experimenting with Golden’s mediums; Soft, Light Molding Paste, Coarse Pumice Gel and Clear Tar Gel.
Each medium creating a different sheen and viscosity.
Once inspired, Stephanie works the textures and colors in layers. When I tell her I am loving her work she will reply, “mom, it’s nowhere near done”. Her patience and love for her work is like a seasoned, lifelong artist.
What was once an abstract swirl, later becomes a roaring fire, tree, or hillside from a foreign country she once visited.
You might find a figure holding a yoga pose or a small critter or musical instrument wrapped within the texture.
Photos of Nicaraguan children, classmates or decoupaged, decorated paper hides within as well.
Steph loves Golden’s Open Acrylics which allow her to keep the colors wet and work with them, blending until she is happy with the form.
Amazingly these painting are simply a way for her to express and take a study break. I think we have yet to see where this artist will go with her vibrant and dreamy creations.