Thursday, January 8, 2015

Something Crafty and a Touch of Photography Too!!!

Hi Everyone,

This post is not about photography.. no Sir or no Mam! It's about crafting stuff. So, stick with me because there is a photo treat at the bottom of the post. 

Two days ago, I decided to go hog wild and dye me some fabric and seam binding! Well, it was a blast and I can't tell you how seeing these vibrant color dye my linen, muslin, cotton fabric and seam binding actually put a smile on my face.. and I need that!!
In the past, I have dyed linen with my homemade alcohol inks. They are really easy to make and so much cheaper than paying Timmy H. for his Adirondack ones! I say "just do it".. the only draw back is the noxious fumes of the 90% alcohol that I used. This is a totally different conversation.

So, I decided I did not want to use my precious alcohol inks to dye my fabric and trimmings this time because I spent a whole day making those precious little bottles of alcohol inks and I knew there is much cheaper ways of doing this. So, I did what the Frugal Crafter does.. I made my own watercolor sprays out of liquid watercolors made by Sax.. you can buy them inexpensively on Amazon  in a set, but I suggest that you just buy yellow, red, blue and magenta and mix your own colors to get the shades you want. I also bought my bottles in bulk from PaperMart online. Now, if you go this route, don't do what I did.. I bought the 9 oz. bottles that Lindsay of the Frugal Crafter suggests and I think really you should go for a smaller size and find some friends who want to buy them with you and split them up. I eventually did a trade with my friend, Jeri who was kind enough to swap some of her smaller bottles for my 9oz bottles. 

 Dyed Seam Binding, Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley

Oh, and don't forget to buy the spray guns.. you definitely need those.. of course!!
Here is the Frugal Crafter video on making he sprays:

The other advice I have for you is to not buy all the colors. You don't need them and will waste your money. Just get Red, Blue, Magenta and Yellow and you can mix to your heart's content and get all the colors you will ever need. Oh, and I would also advise you to get a second Yellow because it's really necessary to make several color combinations.

So, I decided to make my favorite colors: I made Orange, Hot Pink, Turquoise, Light Green and a Darker Green. I went online when I wasn't sure how to mix the colors I mentioned above. And I was really pleased with the colors that I got. I sprayed them on paper and tested them in the lab (LOL!) to make sure they were indeed the exact color I wanted and made sure to add water and voila!! I had my color sprays. I will also attach a photo of a page I sprayed and started to doodle on. You can definitely make color sprays for papers that are very cheap and really are intense this way. I like them rich and intense so, I am heavy handed when I pour the liquid watercolor dyes in my spray bottles.

So, I cut my strips of fabric the way I wanted before dying because I intend to use the fabric ones for making flowers.. hope to share those soon.

Turquoise, Yellow and Lime Green Hand Dyed Fabric,  Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley

This is how I do the dying:

And I learned this from some woman on YT, but I can't remember her name or the video, but it's efficient and neat as in you don't make a big mess all over the place. Take a cardboard box like a banker's box and at the bottom lay down your craft mat. I spritz or pour a bit of the desired color in the box, just a bit and then I add a little extra water, and then the fun begins. I take the uncolored fabric and I put it in the box and I sop up all the liquid dyes and I do this for a bit and squeeze out the excess dyes and the do it again and try to get the entire pieces of cloth dyed. And if there is any little extra dye left over, even small itty bitty drops, I take out my seam binding and I swish it up with some because that looks awesome too.. it's partially dyed and very beautiful.
So, after they have all been dyed in my color box, and after squeezing them out, I put them on hangers and hang them to dry. With the seam binding I take a lid of a cardboard box. that's the lid that of the bankers box that I call the dying box and I crinkle them in my hands and leave them all bunched up in a ball to dry over night.

Orange Muslin, Orange Linen and Pink Muslin, Hand Dyed Fabric,  Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley

So, something unexpected happened and I doubt you will be able to see this in the photographs I am posting here. The colors on most of the fabrics were variegated or rather the the dye did not take to all of the fabric with my swishing in the box with liquid watercolors method. But, I like it and I like it a lot and I think it makes it much more visually interesting. But, I will say that when I used my homemade alcohol inks and dyed fabric and seam binding, it evenly dyed both.
Now as far as Rit goes.. I own about 8 different colors and I have tried to dye paper with it. Dying with Rit is cheap, but it's more work because you need to rinse out everything after you dye it. I might try it in the future if need be.. and I love all the colors you can create with Rit... check out their site and the hyperlink because it will show you all the core colors and how you can mix them to make other colors. I actually think it might be a good thing to download because you could use it probably with the liquid watercolors or acrylics. I'm not sure about that, but it might be worth investigating. They do have great colors. 

Oh, yeah, you can buy your seam binding here on Amazon. The Frugal Crafter suggests that you buy off white seam binding and this is what I got.

The Bauhaus artists really understood how color can really effect ones emotional state. It's interesting to read about Johannes Itten who wrote a book called "The Art of Color". You can also check out more about his ideas about color here.

The Bauhaus movement made a great impact on how we view color photography. Before the 70s, color photography was not seen as fit or worth to be shown in museums and galleries. Color photography was merely used for magazine advertising and family snapshots. But, this all changed in 1976, when the well-known color photographer named William Eggleston opened a show of his work at the Museum of Modern Art. He was definitely influenced by the Bauhaus movement and he forever changed the view that color photography was lesser than B&W photography. If you don't know about Eggleston, his work is really worth looking at simply because of his amazing ways of creating relationships between colors in the frame. And also like Itten believed that colors really can influence our moods.

I hope this has been helpful to someone out there!

Thanks for reading! And excuse my writing mistakes. . first draft!!

Oh, if you were wondering, the colors are true to life. They haven't been enhanced in Photoshop or Lightroom.. They are really vibrant. Good luck!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Graham Macindoe Wins the Big Time Patterson Grant!!

I'm proud to announce that my friend and one super fab photographer, Graham Macindoe and Susan Stellin have been awarded the 2014 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship. This is amazing and stunning work. Go check out the links. Congrats to you Graham!!
Press release

Here are some images from the project! Check out his site for more images!


Monday, December 23, 2013

All Aboard on The Old NYC Subway Car

Well, I must admit... I am a big fan when it comes to riding the old subway cars in NYC. Yesterday, I took a ride down memory lane along with other choo-choo train enthusiasts and had a blast with my Fuji X100. It was a snap happy way to spend an unusually warm day in December and a great way to begin the holiday.

I'm on a roll right now and you can join the commitment. Pick up your camera and not your iPhone and take 3-5 images a day. Make it a daily commitment and see how your creativity begins to burst alive. I recently made the commitment with one of my tutoring students... and then I got my friend Joe Medina involved and my friend and intern Maddy Budd. There is not doubt that the iPhone is incredibly convenient and a great way to keep that trigger finger snapping away, but isn't it a terrible waste when you have taken the most amazing shot with Instagram and then realize that you will never be able to blow up the photo to anything bigger than 6X6".  So, now is the time to pull out your Graflex and keep shooting images that can be blown up really big.

Have fun and happy holidays. Give yourself the gift of photography this holiday season!!

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley      

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley  

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Abbie/Abby the Day After Thankgiving

I took this picture of Abbie/Abby the day after Thanksgiving. She was outside with her family putting up Christmas ornaments in their front yard. And I don't know how to spell her name.. so, this time, I decided to give the reader to possible versions of the spelling of her name since I misspelled her sister's name in the previous post. Happy Holidays to all!!

"Abbie/Abby, The Day After Thanksgiving", Bethesda, Maryland, 11/30/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Down In Chevy Chase

I took this photo of Maddie while she was getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner at Nan's annual gathering. It's always wonderful to leave NYC and to be inspired with new surroundings. I hope to take more portraits of her and her sister Abby!

"Maddy Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner", Chevy Chase, Maryland, 11/28/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Photographs.. Memories from the Early Days in the Rockaways

In 2003, the Palm Gardens was still open before the owner renovated it with hopes of bringing in a more sophisticated gentrified clientele. I often stopped there when I arrived to the last stop at 116th St and would sit amongst the regulars and draw a bit of curiosity with my Rollei camera in cradled in my hands. I also was shooting with my Contax 35mm camera until I soon realized that although, I had captured some good images with the smaller camera, I was more successful and comfortable shooting with my TSLR.

I took this photograph of Frieda sitting at the bar with a cigarette in her mouth right after she had lit it. The No Smoking laws were already in effect and even though most of the regulars were getting used to walking outside the door of the pub to have a cigarette in the cold and lean up against the facade of the building, Frieda just did not give a damn'. I remember hearing one of the barmaids telling her that she would have to smoke outside, but she continued to puff away and didn't seem to even acknowledge their request. And they weren't about to tell her to leave.. she was a welcome regular and added some flavor to the milieu without a doubt. Someone told me that she would get gussied up for a night out in the Palm Gardens and take a car service from the adult home where she lived.

She was full of life and I believe I took this photograph on New Year's Eve. She got up and danced with another regular Mike and I took some pictures of them in the small dive bar. I don't believe I ever met up with Frieda again after that night and when she died several years later or maybe it was just a year, I found out and of course, was deeply saddened that such a wonderful spirit, so full of life and chutzpah had passed on.

"Frieda Smoking", Rockaways, NYC, 2003. ©Juliana Beasley

The second photograph, I took of Deuce. I never learned his real name, but this is the name he went by when I met him sitting in a lounge chair in Paddy's boarding house that was in a dire state of disrepair. Supposedly, Deuce also living in an adult home for the elderly, but like so many of the institutionalized that I met over the years, he preferred to spend his golden years drinking away his days watching TV for hours in a comfy lounge chair. I often found him there for hours on end sitting with Paddy with an end table between them cluttered with cigarette butts in several ashtrays and empty Guinness cans.  They occasionally would exchange a couple of words and usually it was speckled with very vulgar profanities with little regard to my presence in the room. Paddy would be reading his newspapers compulsively-- the room was scattered with piles of old newspapers-- and all the time the television provided a background noise. They would cackle and laugh and tell crass jokes about women, but they rarely made eye contact.

I will never forget the day when I noticed that Deuce had a photo of a spaniel dog in his breast pocket of his suede jacket. I asked him if he had ever had a dog and yes, of course, he had. This question provided a catalyst for all three men including my friend, Charlie who began to lament about the dogs who they had loved in their lives and who had sadly died. Each one told the story of their lost dear friend and their eyes filled with tears and they were filled with sadness.

"Deuce with Dog in Pocket", Rockaways, NYC. ©Juliana Beasley

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Portrait of Ruth

I met Ruth on an early morning, when my college ex boyfriend, The Reverend Stephen Hermann was giving a sermon at the spiritualist church at Camp Etna in Maine. Before the service, I went around to the congregation and asked the members if I could take their photograph and gave them each one of my business cards. Several days later, I received an unexpected lovely email from Ruth... how could I forget her striking Siberian Husky eyes? We made a connection and I asked her if I could photograph her and we made a 7am photo shoot date that week before she would go off to work. I took the following portrait of her inside the church. Oh, yes, there is more to this story with many more specifics and details. The time will come.

"Portrait of Ruth", Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley