Thoughts on February's Take it Further Challenge

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The theme and color pallette have been posted over at In a Minute Ago and I've already had lots of ideas about how to handle this challenge. The challenge this time around is a question: What are old enough to remember? Sharon's idea is that there are items, skills and general qualities that are disappearing from our world with changing technology and cultural habits and many of these things are worth commemorating. I like the concept but I'm not sure my idea will work with this months color palette.

One thing that is worth remembering to me is the sky and the weather in the 1970's here in upstate NY. We used to get these amazing sky-scapes with hundreds of huge, magnificently puffy clouds mounded together, moving gracefully across the sky in summertime. We would get several quick rainstorms a week, including some real cracking thunderstorms and a few all day soakers scattered throughout the season. Perfect cloud and lightning watching conditions. We've been in drought conditions here almost every summer since I returned from Arizona in 1991 and we just don't get that weather anymore.

This last summer was as close to a 1970's summer as we've been in a looong time. Several times we would be outside or in the car or I would look out of a window and shout, "Look, it's a 1970's sky!" My daughter eventually started to roll her eyes at me whenever I got excited about the sky. She did not grow up spending days laying on the lawn, looking at the sky - there hasn't been much to look at up there in the last 13 summers. Hardly any dragons or turtles or charging horses in the sky. I had forgotten how magical cloud watching can be. We started out with a 1970's winter here, too, with lots of snow (before thanksgiving, even!), reasonably cold temperatures and actual snowbanks in a few places. I've never considered myself a sentimental person, but the weather in '07 has really tugged at my heart. If you are wondering what I mean by these amazing cloudscapes, you just need to look at some of the nostalgic commercial art of the 1930's-50's. Eric Sloane, a highly talented illustrator of barns and early American material culture, published a book back then about how to draw these sky-scapes. Dover has just re-issued it and you can get it for 6 bucks right now. So there's one more thing to work on.

I'm also interested in playing with mono-printing. The new issue of Quilting Arts has some amazing articles about the process, including a story on monopriniting on sheer fabric as an overlay for collaged images on a base fabric. I immediately went to the Pro-chem website and ordered some print base so I can try this at home. I've never tried this stuff before because I have never been set up to do screen printing, but the Quilting Arts article shows how to use thickened dyes for mono-printing. I do have a piece of plexiglass and a brayer and my pro-chem stuff arrived Thursday - I hope I get time to experiment today. The issue also has an excellent article about preparing textile arts for display and another fun article about mono-printing using textile paints.

Well, my boy is awake. I'll bet he will want breakfast before we go to the studio to learn about mono-printing.


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