Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Nursing Cover

My niece is having a baby girl and for her shower gift she requested a baby nursing cover. She wanted one in a predominantly purple and brown material. So off I went fabric shopping. I wanted to find a home decorating weight fabric for the cover since I thought that would be sturdier and would stand up to the numerous washing baby stuff seem to require. After visiting several fabric shops, I came to the realization that the purple and brown combination is not a color used much in home decorating as there was none to be found. So I looked around the cottons used for making quilts (forget the baby stuff, that was a bust also) and after the fifth store, I found a couple of prints that may be passable. I purchased a yard each of these fabrics. I intended to make a reversible nursing cover but ended up making two covers instead. 

looked at some of the nursing covers on the Internet and some had instructions that you can follow. This particular nursing cover has peek-a-boo feature with the help of the boning encased in the upper edge of the cover. For each nursing cover, the materials I used are:

1 yard of cotton fabric (44 inches wide)
2 D Rings (1 1/2 inches)
15 inch fabric covered boning
Fusible interfacing
Matching thread
Usual sewing tools such as scissors, tape measure, pins and the all important seam ripper.

Step 1 - Square up the fabric 
Square up fabric along the non-selvage edge. I used a rotary cutter and ruler.

Step 2 - Make the straps.   

Cut 4.25" strip from fabric for straps on the non-selvage ends. The rest of the fabric will be used for the main body of the nursing cover.
Cut 2 " by 43" strips from the fusible interfacing. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the strip and iron on the interfacing (according to manufacturer's directions) to the fabric. 
Sew wrong sides of the strip together on the long side, making sure to taper to a point at the end. 
Trim curve edge. 
Turn the strap inside out (I used a ruler for turning) and press with the seam in the center.
Top stitch around the perimeter of the strap. Cut a 10" portion from the open end of the strap. You now have a short and long strap. Fold the short strap in half and insert the 2 D rings. Secure the D rings by sewing across the strap as close to the D rings as possible.

Step 3 - Attach boning to the body of the cover.

Turn the long edge of the fabric to wrong side by 1/2". Iron to set. Turn the long edge another 1/2 in and press. Mark the middle of this edge and measure 7 1/2 inches to the left of the middle and mark. Open the folds and pin the boning to the upper edge of the material starting at the 7 1/2 " mark. Continue pinning the rest of the boning to the upper edge.
Secure the boning by sewing to the top edge of the body of the nursing cover with your sewing machine. Cut off any boning that protrudes from its fabric casing.
 Step 4 - Attach straps to body of the cover. 

Turn the entire long edge on the two 1/2 " folds. ALthough the boning is already encased in fabric, the double fold ensures that the boning is secure and prevent it from poking through. Insert the open end of each strap underneath the fold placing them next to the opposite ends of boning. Make sure that the seamed side of the strap faces the wrong side of the fabric. Stitch the fold, enclosing the straps. 
Turn the straps towards the front and stitch the top of the fold to secure the straps on top

 Step 5 - Hem the sides and bottom of the body of the cover.  

Turn the side edges  1/2" twice and sewing the fold close.  Turn the bottom edge 1/2 " once and then 1" and sew the fold close. I used the blind hem feature of my sewing machine for the bottom hem. Press the cover to crisp up the edges.

One nursing cover done. Wasn't  that easy. I hope you make one for the next baby shower you attend. 

If you don't own a sewing machine or don't know how to sew, you can use fusible tape or even fabric glue for the hem. edges as well as the strap. To save money, you can skip the D rings and just tie the straps together. You can also skip the boning or substitute flexible plastic from a margarine or similar container and cut to size.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Illuminated Manuscripts - Book of Hours

I am very fascinated with the Illuminated Manuscripts that were produced during the Middle and Renaissance Ages. These intricate works of calligraphy and painting are a wonder as they were produced under very low natural light or flickering candelight, mostly by monks. For sure, this was a very time consuming and costly process. It has been documented that some of these were made by women and started out aa a cottage industry of sorts as demand for these manuscripts for devotional purposes for both the well-to-do and ordinary folks increased and were no longer limited to the priest and clergy.

The most common illuminated manuscripts were the book of hours, a devotional book popular in the later Middle Ages. Each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.

In the Middle Ages all books were hand-written original works of art. These “illuminated” manuscripts were so called because of their frequent incorporation of gold or sometimes silver leaf onto the page. Illumination comes from the Latin word illuminare, meaning “light up,” and when one sees one of these brilliant manuscripts in person, the term makes sense.

I've attempted to reproduce some of these manuscripts. The theme I chose was the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I started out with the Joyful Mysteries. Here is what I came up with so far. i used watercolors and applied some gold paint, in keeping with the tradition of the using gold or silver in the original Illuminated Manuscripts. I found that I favored using my Arches Kolinsky sable watercolor brush #5 for the scroll work. The original Book of Hours were small prayer books, barely 5" x 4". These measure 8"x10". I used a scanner to reproduce my paintings. Unfortunately, the true color of the paintings did not show up as well. I will try to take photographs and see how those come out.


Finding at the Temple
Presentation at the Temple

There are three other mysteries - Light, Sorrowful and Glorious. I hope and pray I get through them. And then, on to my next projects - a breastfeeding nursing cover for my niece who is having a baby girl this year and a picture of Virgin Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus requested by my cousin who is staunch breastfeeding advocate. All of a sudden, I am on a breastfeeding kick!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From Womb to Tomb

I bought a pair of frames that sat there for months while I was trying to
figure out what to paint that would suit the frames and then my friend Gemma sent me a card and I was immediately inspired and went to work. The card (shown on the left) featured a Madonna and Child painting by Filipino artist Vicente Manansala (1910-1981) who developed the transparent Cubist style, wherein shapes, color tones, atmosphere and figures are masterfully superimposed. This is a popular style for contemporary Filipino painters today. Although, I studied about the Cubism movement as pioneered by Picasso and Braque, my first true appreciation of the cubist style is through the works of a co-student at the UP who was at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture. His name is Glenn Bautista (1947- ). I admired his work very much and used to just stare at his sweeping canvasses that were on display in our Main Library. Glenn and I became friends in the late 60s and he did a small sketch of me, which I treasure.

My second inspiration for the paintings were the works of Giotto di Bondoni (1266-1337), an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages who is widely recognized as the artist who started the Italian Renaissance age. Since I am enamored with religious art. especially those produced by the Italian Medieval and Renaissance artists, when we visited the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Italy. I was so enthralled and very inspired as I viewed the frescoes painted by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini and Paolo Lorenzetti. Somehow, I felt a certain connection in this church that I had not felt in the hundreds of other churches we have visited in Europe and other continents. When we returned from the trip, I bought the book Italian Frescoes - The Age of Giotto to learn more about Giotto's work and that of other artists of his time.

I decided on a diptych with a 'From Womb to Tomb' theme - highlighting Jesus' birth and His death. In these paintings, I tried to incorporate the cubist style of Manansala while staying true to the representations of Giotto. In a way, I am heralding the Asian Cubist manner which explores religious themes as opposed to Western Cubism which all but abandoned them. Hope you like these paintings.

From Womb to the Tomb Diptych (in their frames)

From Womb to the Tomb - Nativity
by Jojo Sabalvaro Tan 2011
Watercolor on Paper
From Womb to the Tomb - The Lamentation
by Jojo Sabalvaro Tan 2011
Watercolor on Paper

These paintings are dedicated to my dear friend Nilda Frias Sarmienta who passed away in January 2011. Her untimely death is the third inspiration for these paintings. I miss you, Nilda.