Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hydro-Printing at Penland

The name of my week-long class at Penland, "Hydro-Printing" sounded technical and intense. But really it ended up being one of those instant gratification projects. While the process is fast and simple the set-up is a horrid flash back to chemistry lab. Any task that requires a particulate dust mask and more than one measuring device frightens me, so I'll leave the scientific bit out of this post and get right to the fun stuff. Hydro-printing is just a fancy name for marbling. Having never been exposed to marbling before I had no idea what to expect. My friend Ana described the whole process as magic and I couldn't agree more. You start with a large tray container fill with what is most appropriately called "slime." It's a thick clear liquid made up of mostly water, methyl cellulose and a few other dabs of magical potion. Paint is dropped lightly onto the surface of the slime with an eye dropper. You can see my friend Liz working on a piece:

Add as many colors as you like, then manipulate the floating image with various tools. The design possibilities are endless, as are the color combinations. When you're satisfied with the liquid design carefully lay your fabric, or paper, onto the surface of the slime. (The fabric or paper you're printing on will need to have been pre-treated with alum). The alum allows for the paint to instantly bond with your piece. Rinse, hang to dry, iron and repeat if you wish to over-marble. I did a lot of marbling on hand-dyed fabrics as well.

My favorite pieces to make were the long scarves. Mostly because I'm impatient and like to get straight to the good stuff. The scarf trays were obviously much longer and I plan on utilizing my bath tub for future marbling projects. The week was intense, up at chilly 8am on my feet non stop until around 2am. The whole process is beautiful and photos rather than words document it best. I'm planing on having a "hydro-printing" party soon after Christmas. Any and all are welcome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coptic Books

I've always loved journals. When I was a little girl I had this particular pink hard-covered journal with a real metal lock and key. Filled with secrets and dreams--little books have always been something I've treasured. These days my thoughts don't make it into any journals, but for a change I've started making books. These 3 books are my very first attempts at Coptic book-making. If you feel like challenging yourself, making books is a fun project to start. All you need is some paper, waxed thread, needles and something hard to cover or use for your covers. In these books I've used papyrus, wood and covered hard board. I have a fourth in progress that has a copper cover and it's ity-bity, just 1.5" square. I'll take photos when it's complete.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Misery Loves Company

Today is one of those days that makes me want to clear a space on the floor so I can sit down and cry. For over the past several years my little 1270 sq townhouse has been my studio, storage facility, packing factory, and my home. It's always in a state of chaos but today, as I trip over boxes and struggle to find a clear, clean space to simply sit I decided that rather than wallowing alone in my own filth--I'd subject everyone else to it as well. I took a few photos--a behind the scenes tour of what life looks like when you craft and work from home. I've spared you photos of the closets. They are filled from floor to ceiling with boxes full of inventory. I don't actually need real clothes as I live in old clothes ruined long ago from oil paints and greasy turpentine spills. It isn't pretty folks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hand Painted Lingerie

What a great day! The weather was fantastic and I managed to get my new hand-painted lingerie photographed and am happy to debut the first pieces. These are all made of organic cotton from Asheville, NC The next sets will be silk nighties! Oh-la-la

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to Make a Black Widow Spider Wine Glass

******* Click here for video tutorial *******

If you'd like to make your own Black Widow Spider Glasses for this year's Halloween party. Have a peek at my Video Tutorial and I'll talk you through the easy steps. Of course if you're not feeling crafty, you can always just buy them from my Etsy shop.

Friday, September 11, 2009


photo by dsherrilldesign
Fall in North Carolina is my favorite time of the year. The whole world turns into a brilliant painting. Perfectly clear blue skies, glittering golden yellow and pumpkins orange leaves and just enough crispness in the air to keep your skin a little tingly. I want to spend every meal, every moment outside. Sleep with the windows open and buy a new favorite sweater for my forest romps. But this fall is going to be even more special. I'm going to be spending a week of it in the mountains of NC. For those who have experienced fall in the mountains of North Carolina I can feel your pangs of valid jealousy, and for those who haven't--it's time to add a destination to your life list. But it gets even better. I'm spending the week at Penland. I like to call it an artists commune because I think that sounds cool and hippie. Imagine vast green fields surrounded by mountains in all the varying bright shades of fall. There are small buildings all around the "campus" where classes are taught throughout the day. Metal welding, glass blowing, paper making, painting, ceramics, letterpress, photography..the list is endless. I'll be emersing myself in a week of textiles. Hydro-printing and marbling on a varying fabrics. I don't even know what hydro-printing could mean. I'm assuming water is involved. By the end of the week I hope to be well versed, creatively energized and full of mountain air. I'm sure it will result in many new blog posts of my creations and I plan on sharing everything I learn with you in a video tutorial so you can see each step easily.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've been regularly cheating on my boyfriend. Not in the horrible I should be ashamed of myself, how the hell could I sort of cheating. He'll laugh about it one day if he ever finds out. He's fallen in love with me, and my homemade pizza. I load it up with Portabella mushrooms sauted in butter and fresh oregano, onions and garlic caramelized in white wine, crispy baked salted paper thin potato slices, fresh chopped home-grown tomatoes and a pizza base of pesto and ricotta. Top it off with fresh sliced mozzarella and shaved Parmesan. It's all pretty incredible, but his favorite part is my crust.

"This is the best pizza that has ever been created" he'll mumble between savory bites.
"But this crust! How did you do it? It's amazing--it's thick and light and soft and crispy all at the same time."

"I'm so happy you like it. I made it just for you."

"No really--it's incredible. It tastes just like it's made by an old Italian who's worked in a Pizzaria his whole life."

"Well, I just hope the next one is as good. Dough is really hard to get right--I think it's more luck than anything."

"You've got to teach me how to make it like this. You're incredible. Tell me how you did it."

"No Nick--a girl's got to have a few secrets."

I hope to take this particular secret to the grave. I pick it up fresh, already made (but still unbaked) and ready to go at any number of the local pizza joints around town. It costs me $4.00 for an extra large and I get to chat with the old Italian guys, who have been making it their entire lives, while they flour and box it up for me.

I love how impressed my chef boyfriend is of my pizza dough. This remarkable light, crispy creation coming from the girl who can't even bake boxed brownies properly. He's totally clueless and even though it's cheating--his reaction to the taste is worth it every guilty time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

007: Windy Blue Skies
size 11x14 inches
oil on stretched canvas

Click here for more views or to buy:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am in so much trouble.

I’m the sort of snob that is snobby about not being a snob. I pride myself on not shopping in the malls or subscribing to fashionable trends like TV or magazines that most gals my age read for pleasure by the pool. I eat organic vegetarian and snub my nose at chain restaurants, blockbuster movies, cruises, pharmaceutical medicine and tanning beds. I dress in organic cotton handmade in someone’s backyard with vegetable dyes and the sound of free-range chickens cooing in the background. But now—my entire disdainful cover is about to be blown apart.

Anthropology has opened a store at my local mall. I’m so screwed. I have a burning need to put on make-up and heels, swing by Starbucks for a caramel macchiato and spend hours on a credit card spending spree; then maybe easy my tired feet with a pedicure, an apple martini and a romantic comedy. I’m going to need to find an AA to join.

Monday, July 13, 2009

007: Sicilian Landscape
size 8x10 inches
oil on stretched canvas

Click here for more view or to buy

Saturday, June 27, 2009

006: Palette Knife Tomato
size 11x14 inches
oil on stretched canvas

If this tomato looks a bit off to you, it's because the entire painting was created with a palette knife. "No brushes were dirtied in the creation of this painting." A palette knife is a tool artists sometimes use to create rough, quick paintings. It looks like a thin triangle shaped piece of metal on a handle. It allows paint to be scraped away and thickly applied. The result, as you can see, is heavy texture with a lot of personality. This tomato was picked from my own garden and now that I've painted it I plan on eating it for lunch.