The end of September means sunflowers here in New Hampshire. Many students turned out for a cheerful day of painting sunflowers at Tendercrop Farm in Dover! We run these paint classes once a month, they are open to all ages and no painting experience is necessary, it’s all for fun and learning. Check out their facebook page, for info on upcoming events, they are held about once a month-on the weekends from 12 - 2:30!
I recently wrapped up my 6th summer working with kids, ages 3-14 and my staff and assistants are 15-19. The summer went by faster than ever, now that I have a baby waiting for me to get home and feed him =) Some of the creative highlights were making and destroying piñatas with the 11 & 12 year old boys (an excellent project for this age) making Jackson Pollock dish soap resist paintings with the 13 & 14 year old girls, and the abstract watercolors the 3 & 4 year olds made that looked like they belonged in a gallery!
Here is a wonderful way to decorate fabric, ceramics, or whatever else you think needs to be patterned in your life…. a tutorial on Mudcloth from ApartmentGuide.com, simple and effective these hand done pattern techniques can be mastered by anyone willing to try them out. Have fun!
Looking to try Indigo dyeing? Or maybe you love it and want a new way to practice shibori, the ancient Japanese art of folding textiles. Shibori translates as “ to wring, press, or squeeze” it is the active way of manipulating textiles to achieve the light/dark contrast and patterns when dyeing textiles. Here is a photo tutorial of a fun Itajima pattern, notice the reflection of the pattern? That is from folding the textile in halves, this pattern works best with a square.
Step one: Collect supplies needed
5 gallon bucket and lid from hardware store, or some type of large dye vat capable of holding around 4-5 gallons of liquid, you will also want a lid
Natural fiber textiles, meaning cotton, hemp, lenin, silk, bamboo, some rayon fabrics, I recommend Dharma Trading Company or supporting your local fabric store. You may want to wash the fabric first in the washing machine, to remove dust and sizing.
Indigo dye kit from Jacquard which can be purchased on Amazon, Dharma Trading CO, or sometimes I find them at my local Arts Store, shout out to Artist&Craftsman! see photo above for a great photo. This kit contains a small starter pack for indigo dyeing designed for a 5 gallon dye vat. You will also want a great pair of utility or dish gloves that you don't mind turning blue, wooden blocks- you can buy these or ask a friend doing some carpentry projects for their scraps, plastic clamps from the hardware store, and possibly some rubber bands (these come in the dye kit)
Some kind of tray, it could be plastic or metal, or another bucket. You will lay the pieces out to oxidize in the air and excess liquid will run off the bound fiber and drip everywhere. I frequently use metal baking pans, the kind people cook turkeys in =)
In this tutorial I dyed a tea towel, purchased on Amazon, I use these all the time and love them!
The dye kit has amazing instructions to follow, but here are some tips and some general guidance for this pattern.
Step two: Design Pattern
* As you can see there are lots of photos documenting this step, but it is easy, especially after trying this a few times. Important things to note:
This design works best from a square. As you can see, I did not iron my fabric for this one, but you may want to- depending on how small you want to accordion fold your fabric, or the type of fabric, I usually always iron silk because it is slippery, cotton like these, holds well.
Anytime you fold a fabric in half, the pattern will be reflected on the other side. One side of the fabric will be a darker shade of blue because it is the side most exposed to the air **remember the fabric that is showing and not covered by ropes, rubberbands, wood, folded in, etc. will be the darkest blue shades because that part oxidizes the most with the air. If you want to have an even color of blue throughout the whole textile, you should dip the fabric two or three times, then unfold the fabric, let it oxidize, refold the fabric following the same fold carefully, this time place the outside darkest blue folds on the inside, so essentially you fold up the fabric in the other direction, then dip two to three times and it should have an even color throughout.
You can accordion fold the fabric any width you would like and you can also change the direction of the accordion fold, I started the fold from a diamond shape. There are some examples below, the possibilities are endless!
Place one wood block on either side of the folded fabric and clamp or tie it with rope or rubber bands tightly and evenly. Where the pressure is applied the least amount of dye will penetrate the fiber.
Step Four: The dyeing process
* Indigo has a very unique dyeing process, because it is a natural dye, there is a chemical reaction involved with the oxygen in the air, which turns the fabric blue. You obtain darker richer shades of blue by continually dipping the fabric in the vat and letting it oxidize over time and then redipping. There are excellent instructions in the dye kit. Keep in mind that it is possible to dye fabrics over several days, leaving your fabrics out and the dye vat covered. However, the dye will be strongest the first few days.
* You might want to do this outside, on a patio, or in a local park. If you do this inside you will want to have lots of plastic sheeting underneath for stray splashes and drips that always happen. Also you might want some type of storage container to rest your piece in as it oxidizes, something to catch all the excess dye.
* Also it is important to flip your pieces over as they oxidize, you will see they are green/teal where the air is not getting to the fabric. After 15-20 minutes dip again
* What I tell my students all the time, is the most deceiving thing about this process is how dark blue the fabric looks when you are in the middle of dyeing the fabric, but this is because the fabric hasn't been washed/rinsed and dried. After the fabric dries it will be much lighter than you realize. Therefore, it is important to have patience with this process and dip the fabric as much as you can. (The dips are only 2-5 minutes, the time in between can be 15+ minutes) Sometimes I set this up and dip fabrics throughout the day or over a few days. The dye will be strongest the first day you make it, so be ready to dye when you make the vat. It will last for a few days if you keep it covered and are gentle with the vat, not adding too much oxygen and bubbles. After your last dip, you can immediately open it, you do not need to wait 15 min for oxidizing on your last dip.
Step Five: The reveal
* Now for the most exciting part! The revealing! When you are sure you have dipped your fabric enough, I usually try to do 5-6 dips. Unclamp or unwind the wood pieces and unfold your fabric.
* As you can see in the photos below, the fabric will be that light teal/greenish color that we started out with, this is normal! The oxygen hasn't been able to penetrate this part of the fabric, overtime the whole fabric will oxidize and the piece will change right before your eyes!
* Keep in mind the white will stay white, the teal will turn lighter blue, the already oxidized blue will be the darkest part.
* Hang your fabric to oxidize and dry, when the whole piece is blue and white you can rinse the fabric in cool water until the water turns clean. Then you can hand wash with mild soap and more dye will come out again, wash and rinse until the water runs clear again, hang to dry and you are ready to wear your new garments or sew a new project!
Here are some striped abstracted landscape pillows inspired from places I have visited in the United States, a country of SO many different landscapes, this country is beautiful!! Get out there and check it out. These patterns are intended for larger scale items like these pillows below. The patterns are in my Spoonflower shop and are available for wallpaper, fabric, and gift wrap…
This month kicked off with a mural extravaganza at Wrong Brain’s new headquarters in Dover, New Hampshire. Artists from around New England came by to jazz up the space! My spot was over a doorway so I was inspired to write a positive message and paint the doorframe with a glitter Mod Podge (which doesn’t show up that well in photos) So go check it out and Share Your Sparkle today and everyday ;)
I hand dyed these adorable onesies this summer with natural indigo dye. At the time I didn’t know if I was having a boy or girl, turns out a boy is on the way anytime in the next week! Looking forward to this new adventure!!!
Painting a Dr. Suess mural was so much fun! I chose a mash up of two books I love, The Lorax and Oh The Places You’ll Go! This project took a few weeks because first I had to paint the entire room light blue, then paint the mural, and finish with repainting the horribly painted baseboards and heating system. It was definitely worth it in the end. Here are a few process shots and the final product. Best tip for painting a mural with really curvy outlines like these, buy an acrylic paint maker, it made the job so much easier than using a brush. I also made custom curtains with my happy thoughts fabric, which has a whimsical balloon pattern. It can be purchased by the yard in any fabric here….https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/7947029-happy-thoughts-by-rousehousedesign Once the furniture is placed I will finish off the design with The Lorax painted somewhere fun!
I just completed this installation of my “When Haring Met Matisse” wallpaper. This design is of course inspired by Henri Matisse and Keith Haring, with their energetic biomorphic shapes and abstracted nature interpretations. The pattern is black and white with a pop of bright blue in there. I had enough left over wallpaper to cover a bookcase as well! The wallpaper can be purchased here https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/7454017-when-haring-met-matisse-by-rousehousedesign
The Final products…
We went to Montreal in March, yes I know that's crazy. But we actually escaped a blizzard here in New Hampshire and were met with a reasonable amount of snow in Canada. It was cold and snowy, but so colorful with all these murals and fun stores!!! We had a great time and want to return to see the city in a warmer month =) We stayed on Rue Saint Laurent, where most of these murals were found.
Last year my husband (a chemical oceanography professor at the University of New Hampshire) and I started an ocean education social media campaign. We launched it on the day of the march for science as a way to share facts about the ocean with anyone yearning to know more. The ocean is massive, most of it empty and unexplored. With the climate changing rapidly, there is a huge need for humans to step up and protect what is 70+% of our planet. We feel we can inspire positive change through education and facts about our ocean, which is why every Friday we post an ocean fact to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Check it out and share this knowledge with others! @SaveOur70
I recently designed this artwork for our fans and to promote the oceans, oceanography research, and as a visual aid to help understand how much of our planet is covered by our ocean! If you love this idea you can find this design on all kinds of merchandise! At my Society 6 shop RouseHouseDesign
Maybe your resolution for 2018 is to shake up your workspace! Here is a tutorial for a simple, affordable stand up desk. I built this for around 100 dollars, including the comfort floor mat, but not the chair. I also owned a drill, which is definitely needed for this project as you want to be sure you have attached the desk accurately to the wall. I love working with the flexibility to stand up or sit down. ****It is very important to measure your height accurately and place the desk on the wall at the right height**** Do not skip or rush this step.
Because there is always more to learn and relearn! I love this design flow chart that I have had for years, unfortunately I am not sure where I got it or who made it originally. So I can't give the creator credit, but thank you to whoever you are =)
In the past 13 years of my life I've spent two of those living somewhere with four seasons. I am thrilled and slightly scared to navigate seasonal changes again. This fall has been truly exceptional weather and I have spent many hours outdoors discovering all the rural New Hampshire beauty.
I have become fed up with the extremelllllllly long posts that people make when explaining how to cook a recipe or complete a simple DIY project. Therefore, I decided to create tutorials with clear directions on a one page PDF, no more scrolling through a book of anecdotes and advertisements just to re-read what step 6 was again! I made these coasters this summer with maps, it is super simple but you want to work on this project a little bit each day over a week or so, so start it when you have a little time each day to layer a coat of glue!
Well June 30th I fell off my bike and dislocated my right thumb =( very poor timing to injure myself right at the start of a busy summer of creativity and teaching. I have been trying to make the most of being a lefty, it has been a fun, but frustrating experience. Cutting with scissors, opening jars, and doing my hair have been next to impossible. My handwriting is atrocious! However, I am not terrible at teaching painting with my left hand or painting in general! I had to make a fundraising children's book themed painted bed (see below) I also learned what it's like for left handed kids to work in the art studio-found some new tips for them. I am also grateful I am still very mobile and didn't injure my ankle or foot, making it possible to dance two nights away at Phish Chicago Summer Tour!!!! Life is always teaching lessons with its twists and turns.
Celebrate diversity, demand equality, say hi to your neighbors, and be kind!!! June is pride month in the United States, this "GeoBow" Pattern celebrates all living beings in every shape, size, and color.
I absolutely love going to live music and dancing with friends. Once I made a ticket stub coffee table collage and made it permanent with epoxy. The tutorial can be found here, it is a very popular Pinterest pin and maybe what led you to my blog =) Here are some patterns generated from this very coffee table using the adobe capture tool. Enjoy!
I love seeing these nature thumbnails all spread across the page, and I thought you would too! These are just Pinterest pins of amazing creatures and plants, mainly in the ocean. How about all the colors and textures!!!?!?! Nature is my favorite source for inspiration =)