So yeah I dropped out of cyberspace for a few days. It was weird having 0 online presence at all. Do I even exist if I can’t find myself on the interwebs???
Part of my cyber-departure was on purpose and the other was an accident. I purposely deleted my Facebook profile and my “Kate Themel Fiber Artist” FB page went along with it. My apologies to my followers, for not giving you more warning.
As for my reasons for dropping Facebook, there are many and have been building for some time. Privacy, copyright issues, the way they’ve recklessly shared the personal data of their membership, and allowed themselves to be used by government bad actors to sow the seeds of dissent around the world and stoke racism and violence… stuff like that.
But I honestly DO NOT judge or condemn anyone who wants to keep their Facebook profile, especially people with businesses. People can choose to use social media for good. Everyone chooses what they click and like, what they share, what they post. So having a FB account is not a bad thing in itself.
There is no comparable platform to advertise your business. And for visual artists, having a free platform to share images and real time news and events is essential. But whenever a platform (FB, Twitter, Instagram etc) offers you exposure for free, they are making money off you in some other way. I personally decided the benefits were not enough to justify the cost.
Also, I have this here website and blog that I’ve been paying for and neglecting. So I decided to put my posts and images here, where anyone can find me. Then I realized Oh Shit I accidentally let my domain expire! So yeah my website was also gone for about 3 days. Lesson learned: the world kept spinning, no one called me wondering where I went. It was like a drop of water had “suddenly disappeared” from the ocean. Right-o. Ego checked. Moving on.
Bye for now, but I will post again soon. Have a lovely day everyone!
36 x 18 in finished size
So I've decided to add a new group of images to this site, which requires me to reveal a side of myself known only to my friends until now. I call them my alter egos. You can call it wearable art, costumes, cosplay... as you like.
I've always been a fan of make-believe places and interesting characters. The joy has not faded since childhood, and Halloween is the perfect time of year to play in that fantasy world as an adult. Every year I delve into costume-making; sometimes creating outfits for the kids or family members.
But this year I discovered some new technology that brings everything to a new level.
Cosplayers may be quite familiar with Worbla thermoplastics, but I only became acquainted with the moldable plastic material a few months ago. And of course now I'm obsessed with the stuff.
This summer, at a Maker Space booth at my son's middle school, I was also introduced to a wonderful tool called a 3D pen, which uses plastic filament to "draw" shapes. I love this thing!!
I'm only beginning to figure out all the ways these amazing tools can inspire and enhance my creative work. For the purpose of this year's alter ego, I used them to create a Valkyrie's armor.
This is my first practical experience working with moldable plastic, so the results aren't perfectly smooth. Full disclosure, the one shown here is the 3rd version of the armor chest plate!
The first image shows the Worbla after I molded it to my body form. The black lines you see on the 2nd image were drawn on with the 3D pen, and then the whole thing was spray-painted with "antique silver" spray paint. Later I hot-glued the chest plate onto part of a corset, which I also spray painted silver, so that it could be worn as clothing and be adjustable.
I used the same basic Worbla/3D pen technique to create gauntlets for her arms and parts of her winged helmet.
Click on Other Media in the gallery page and scroll down to see more images of my alter egos in their final forms. So far "Valkyrie" is the only one featured, but I will add more as I get them photographed.
"Take a Closer Look" includes a couple pieces that you've seen in progress here, now finished. I used Fabric Fusion to glue the pieces to pre-stretched canvas and then added eye-screws and wires to the back for hanging. This is my first time trying out the fabric glue, crossing my fingers it holds for 2 months!! I tried to pull them off before we hung the show, and they seem to be on there for good. 🙂
The newer butterfly pieces are all on 18x18. Alone, these looked like small experiments or sketches, but on the canvases I feel like they can stand alone or as part of a series. The canvas gives them a bit more "presence" so they don't get lost when they're hung next to bigger pieces. Plus, it saves me the time of hand-sewing the bindings and hanging sleeves onto the back. I'll be honest, I really hate sewing bindings!
Today I'm nervously packing 20 quilts to deliver to the Helen Bumpus Gallery tomorrow. They will be on display in "Take a Closer Look", a solo exhibition of my fiber artwork. The Helen Bumpus Gallery is part of the Duxbury Free Library.
Here are the first few iterations of a series I'm working on.
This one is called "Black Swallowtail", finished size 15"x15"
I enjoyed creating some of the wing pattern using stitching instead of pieces of fabric.
Next I decided to try out a commercially printed background fabric. Just to see...
The first two butterflies are pretty straightforward and realistic, so for the next one I'm playing around with a new arrangement.
This one (just a work in progress so far, not quilted yet) is called "Morpho Helena Pinwheel":
I drew from the top wing of a Morpho Rhetnor Helena butterfly, and repeated the shape and pattern around to form what I thought would kind of look like a flower but it looks more like a pinwheel.
This may or may not be what the final quilt looks like. I'm just having fun with different design possibilities!
Thank you for visiting!
Right now I’m learning how to use WordPress, so the blog is currently under construction. Hey, look at that – I learned how to add a photo! Shouldn’t take too long to figure out how to resize it…
Please check back soon for updates 🙂