Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ghanain Artist Profile and Class with Oko-Matey

Our teacher, Oko-Matey, speaking. 
Eat and Paint is an events group combining creating art and dinner organized the sculpting and painting workshop I attended.  The session was led by Artist Oko-Matey a graduate and former Lecturer at College of Art at the Kwame Nikrumah University in Kumasi.   He recently returned from a fellowship in Oakton, Wisconsin.  His artwork combines relief sculpture and painting on wood, cement, and metal.  Oko-Matey focuses on integrating traditional themes of Ghanaian visual art into a contemporary idiom.
We explored woodcarving and painting on a plank of wood with.  In addition to this enjoyable class we were all treated to an excellent, gourmet dinner at the Roots Hotel Apartment Sky Deli.   You can contact Eat and Paint here or call Fredrick, 027 442 0466. Photo essay below.
Oko-Matey's painted and carved work.

Plank series by Oko-Matey, paint on sculpted wood.

A prepared sample plank by Oko-Matey.
Our planks set up for our class.
Carving and painting supplies prepared.

We begin with some sketches on the plank in chalk.

Getting started on my plank.
A couple participants with gouges (the cutting tool)
and wood to pound it to carve into the wood.

A break for some dinner, spicy chilled soup,
wine (not shown) and various finger foods.
Crème Brule or rice pudding for dessert.
Don't let the small plate fool you.  There was plenty. 
My painting complete! I call it Love Maybe.

Monday, March 21, 2016

What to wear to the concert

At Sprout Patterns, one can use any of the Spoonflower patterns to customize unique clothing. 
This month the Moneta Dress is 20% off with the code MONTETAMADNESS.  These dresses strike me as being particularly great outfits for going out for an evening.  Bonus:  Free US and International shipping through March as well on orders over $100.
Presenting:  What to wear to the concert.....
Afrocuban Retro Sleeveless Moneta Dress
This dress invokes the hot nights and hot rhythms of Afrocuban beats.  Get your dance on.
or buy it at Sprout Patterns here.

Island Breeze Short Sleeve Moneta Dress
A fresh, breezy dress for listening to the mellow sounds of the steelpan band.
or buy it at Sprout Patterns here.
Coffeehouse Acoustic 3/4 Sleeve Moneta Dress
Casual yet stylish threads to wear to open mic night.
 or buy it at Sprout Patterns here.
And if dresses aren't your thing, Sprout Patterns also has shirts.
Bluegrass Blues
Wear your love for Bluegrass on your sleeve.
or buy it at Sprout Patterns here

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Batik Ghana Style

Using a wood stamp dipped in wax as a resist
Batik is a method of wax resist to dye to create designs on fabric.  Batik was popular in Senegal but motifs tended to be smaller than in Ghana, and really tie-dye was just as popular. In Ghana, batik is very popular and the motifs tend to be larger. Often two or more colors or designs may be used on the same fabric.  Adrinka symbols are common.
I participated in a workshop, organized by NAWA as a fundraiser for New Horizons School.  Our workshop leaders, Mariama, Bernice and Denise work with the school and teach this workshop regularly to organizations as well as the students of the school.
We were each given two yards of white cotton fabric and were allowed to select from a wide variety foam and wood wax stamps.  The stamp faces ranged from about three inches to approximately 1 foot square.  Mariama gave us each a turn with the stamps to see if we were more comfortable with the wood or foam.  Wood stamps are only good for one go while the foam absorbs more wax and can be used repeatedly before needing to be dipped again.  The foam takes a little more practice to control.  I ended up using one design from each material.
Mariama ironed my fabric before we left (she ironed all of them.)

After the first pass of the design, the fabric soaks for a couple minutes in cold water to harden the wax and then goes into the dye vat.  After a few minutes in the vat, it's out to the lawn to dry in the sun.  Once the fabric dries, it's time for round too.  Again stamping, again soaking and then the next dye.  The second dye easily overdyed the previous color and so only the new stamped resist is the first dye color.
Bernise and Denise were the pros at dyeing. 
After the second round dyeing and drying, our fabric goes in to a huge boiling pot of water where the wax melts and floats to the top.  There it is skimmed off to be used again.  Next the fabric is rinsed, and more wax floats off.  To finish, fabric is then washed, rinsed again and then ironed.
All of this process was completed without electricity.  We melted the wax and heated the water over charcoal fires.

warm wax on the grill
the dyes and gloves
new foam stamps
the first dye vat, it started golden and turned pink

Getting a good look at the progress so far with the 2nd stamping

drying after the 2nd dye

Mariama cleaning the wax off with boiling water

trying to wash the rest of the wax off

our class fabric drying on the line
designs from the New Horizons school shop

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Recent Small Works

Serenity Garden
I have found time to do a few Swap-bot swaps this past month.  ATCs can't be beat for a quick art project that fulfills the need to create.  It is a nice break from some of the larger projects I have been working on.
The first picture is an ATC diptych 'Serenity Garden'.  The challenge was to create a paper collage and then draw/paint the collage on a second card.  I drew it freehand with colored pencils.  I think I could have done a better job if I used a grid to transfer the design over.  It was also hard to get the color pencil colors intense enough.

Coy Kitty
The second picture is a collage of papers and plastic.  The only requirement was the ATC include a heart.  Here there is a yellow-eyed, white cat peeking out from behind the heart.  I titled it 'Coy Kitty.'
The last picture is a folded paper Geisha bookmark.  You can find instructions here.  It was so fun that I made another with one of the neighbor girls.
Geshia bookmark