Archive for January, 2011

latest thread art…

January 26, 2011

Inspired by the colors of Maxfield Parrish….

and a crested guinea fowl  dressed in an ensemble that would be the envy of any early Hollywood starlet…

I am working on mounts for these things…. got to learn to hold a curved needle without it spinning around.  What’s the trick???



January 20, 2011

No, I didn’t misspell homestead.  The home pictured in the thread art below was that of my Uncle Pendley and Aunt Carolyn Holmes when I was little.  I have very vivid memories of playing in this house with my cousins and sister and memories of Thanksgiving dinners with the entire family!  I haven’t seen this house in maybe 40 years but I can draw you the floor plan of it.  I loved the way you had to crawl through the dining room window to enter the screened porch (you could also walk around the porch outside to enter it, but crawling through the window was much more appealing).  This house had porch after porch on it.  The kitchen looked as though it had once been a porch.  The house had a preacher’s room, a room accessible only from the front porch.  I have heard that those rooms were also used as offices on farms and plantations so the field hands didn’t enter the house.  As a preacher’s room, it would have been for itinerant preachers or strangers who needed a place to bed down for the night.  I remember walking up the steep ladder like stairs to the attic where rough hewn logs held up the roof.  I loved the  (I could use chaotic or scrambled-up but prefer the more genteel sounding) quaint arrangement of rooms  where you walked through my aunt’s bedroom to get to the dining room and cousin’s bedrooms and the fact that the laundry room and bathroom were the very same room and it was larger than the kitchen in my mind’s eye.  Situated  in the middle of 300 + acres with cows and ponies and barns and guinea hens and fences and huge boulders and swimming  holes and corn rows and tractors and 4 girl cousins and a dozen Barbie dolls, it  made the perfect house to someone who had spent her years in a 1960’s tract ranch.

I loved this house or maybe I just love the memory of it.  I don’t know, but I was thrilled to come across a picture of it and find it on Google maps recently.  Little changed except the addition of badly proportioned dormers but  I guess the next owners wanted to view those old logs in daylight.  At least I hope they didn’t cover them up with drywall.

I think it may be the inspiration of more than one piece of art.

a sheep’s head

January 19, 2011

I studied architecture in college and in the early 80’s when I graduated, there was a revival of Williamburg’s Colonial style.  And I say Williamsburg because it was the source of practically all the details used at the time.  One of those details is called a sheep’s head.  I cannot find the term in any architectural dictionary but if you see the detail, you understand why it is called a sheep’s head.  It is the shaped piece of wood at the end of the rake into which the fascia and cornice abut.  The shape of the piece is similar to the profile of a sheep’s head (hence the name) and is a very cute detail.  Much better than the boxed ending on a lot of houses these days.  Visit this link to see a picture of one.

This sheep’s head is based on the real thing, not its namesake, but I will always think of the cute little architectural detail when I hear the term.  The size of this thread art is 3.75″ x 4″.

A word to the wise… don’t ever tell the principal architect who signs your paycheck,  you think your design is cute.  It guarantees you a negative critique!  Apparently architecture is not supposed to be cute.




January 14, 2011

The snow is still quite abundant, underneath a layer of ice, but  the roads are greatly cleared around here and people are thankfully out and about.  But during that time indoors, I decided to make hand painted place mats (something too ambitious for a normal day) and cut, glued the edges back and gave a base coat to canvas.  My thought was to paint birds on them in acrylic, each one slightly different, but I struggled for  a day painting one stupid little bird and gave up.  Instead, I turned to those old photos I keep playing with.

Here are my place mats (minus the protecting polyurethane).

Thelma and T.J.

Dulcia and John

Elizabeth and Thomas

Gomer and Hosea

Three of these couples are ancestors (the top two couples are my grandparents, the third couple is a set of great-great-greats??) but the last couple is adopted.  I saw their photo in a junk/antique shop and paid for them to be in my lineage. Their names are from that infamous couple in the Bible, pictured 50 years after that story. I loved the handholding  for the photo, looks like he is still afraid she’ll run off again.

Here is a shot of how they look on a placemat.  I should have scooted them to the edge a bit more, they are partially covered by a plate!

Wouldn’t they be perfect for a Valentine table?

Snow Day 2

January 11, 2011

My very talented friend, Carol Massey, has for the past two days motivated some of her artist friends with an email asking how they intended to spend their snow day confinement.   Just being asked how you intend to spend your day is motivation to do something and not just piddle the day away.  Carol managed to create a wonderful pastel portrait yesterday and it was inspirational.

This painting was done mostly in watercolour but has a goodly amount of pastel and gesso on it too.  The base watercolor of a building (can you see it?) had been done perhaps 5 years ago and the woman was added today.

Can’t wait to see how Carol inspires me tomorrow!

Snow Day!!!

January 10, 2011

Last night it snowed.  Maybe as much as 6″ here in Georgia.  This is enough snow to keep {some of} us native Georgians in the house for several days (last time back in ’93 or so, we left the house after 3 days.  By that time I didn’t care if we ended up in a ditch!).  We just don’t have the kind of equipment it takes to clear the streets, but maybe after this year, we need to get it!  So today, while confined to where my feet could take me… I stared out the window a lot, took a little walk around the yard and sledded down the driveway without breaking anything.  I saw 6 deer prancing across my back yard and lots of little birds milling about at the feeder.  The birds inspired me to do this little needle felted towhee.  I tried for quite some time to make it realistic but finally just gave up.  I may need more practice for realism.

Here are a couple I did over the weekend.

What fun will tomorrow hold?


January 5, 2011

Use to be that in January after the holidays, it was so nice to get back into a routine.  The last couple of years have been difficult to make anything routine.  I have a day of work every few days or every few weeks (I’m so ready for people to start construction of something again…), but this year I am determined that on those days I stay home, I treat my art as a job and work on it consistently.  Does that sound like a resolution?

Here is the latest, done from a pressing of white oak leaves.

Know the best thing about January?  Each day gets a little bit longer….


playing with wool

January 1, 2011

My name is Lauren Finley and I have an addiction.  I am addicted to whatever craft or medium of which I presently work.  Or in this instance I should say play because this is nothing similar to work.  And if you read my last post, you would know this craft is needle felting and the medium is wool.   In the words of Paula Deen, “this is so much fun, ya’ll”!

But, addiction is addiction and too much of a good thing ends up being close to bad.   I will put the wool away and get back to more pressing matters.  Not before I show you my latest little birdies though.

That was before New Year’s Eve.

This is after.

I hope you all have a very happy and prosperous 2011!

Note: All the little birdies are quite recovered and upright today.