Archive for October, 2008

Winter is coming…time for needle felting!

My friend Melissa is a woman of fiber.  You can see what I mean at her blog:

That’s a field I’ve done little to conquer, but last year she introduced me to needle-felting holiday ornaments, and I loved it.  This year, I’m teaching my kids’ class how to make the ornaments, using fleece, felting needles, cookie cutters, and upholstery foam in December.  The resulting ornaments are just beautiful.

In early November Melissa and the other Crafty Ladies are going to have a felting extravaganza using needle felting; we’re also gonna get together and make stuff out of old wool sweaters felted in the washer & dryer.  A new frontier!  Maybe we’ll needle felt raw chickens!


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Barns & Farms of Western Loudoun

Franklin Park Arts Center will be accepting submissions for a show, The Barns & Farms of Loudoun, in early November. The show itself runs through the holiday season. I’m entering a painting, if I can get it finished and framed (a wink to Richard) by then. It’s a landscape of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Wheatland, and it depicts the lettuce patch in the farmstand garden with mountains beyond (hopefully I’ll be able to post a pic soon). While I like a good barn or equestrian scene as much as the next guy — well, maybe less than the next guy — I feel that paintings of vegetable farms are seriously underrepresented. If all goes according to plan, there will soon be one for all to see at Franklin Park.

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Welcome to Art at Garden Corner!

This is my new blog.  I hope to make regular posts about events at the studio, including classes and shows, and talk about methods, sources, and arts issues.  If you’d like to see more of my work and current class listings, visit

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What to do with old painty turpentine?

Way back in art school in the city, we used to pour our turp down the drain when it got all painty, used tons of it to clean our brushes and jars, and then we poured a bunch into our newly-cleaned jar, and got back to work.  Nowadays I have a different approach. I pour new turpentine when there is no way to clean my brush properly, but I save the old turpentine.  That’s why I usually have two turp jars.

Turpentine is a (somewhat) thorny issue.  At my house, we have septic field problems, so putting any of it down the drain is not a good idea, but you may not want to pour it down your town water drain either.  I let the paint solids settle in my turp — it might take a week or so — and then I carefully pour off the clean(ish) turp from the top and reuse — sometimes several times. The painty sluge at the bottom goes in the trash. When the turpentine is finally just too old, another solution is to pour the turp into an absorptive medium (like sawdust, shredded paper, etc, and put in the trash.  If you have a place to let it sit, it will evaporate almost completely in 2-3 months.  Our local High School also has disposal days for chemicals, and I have used that option too.  As chemicals go, turpentine (made from pine resin) is not too horrible — but it’s not great either.  Linseed oil is not harmful — just messy.  I’d probably throw it out, since it’s probably a small amount.

I hope this is helpful.

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