One of those weeks...
September 20, 2013
Do you ever have one of those weeks where you wish you could have stayed in bed and not get out? well ... this has been that for me. One really nightmarish week at work trying to juggle agendas, keeping everybody happy, managing travel ... grumpy people ... and no sleep for me. For some reason ... I have managed to sleep about 3 hours per night in the last 4 nights. It's taking a toll ...
So, needless to say, I have not been very productive. But I can show you some small samples I made last weekend, and finished at the beginning of the week, in preparation for larger pieces of work. I really like working in this manner ... where I will make a small sample with the same techniques I am thinking of using in the larger pieces. It gives me an opportunity to see whether it is going to work or not.
The first piece is called Alley 237. It is a photo transfer of a door in the narrowest alley in Victoria, B.C. It is a lovely door and I always take a photo of it. So here it is:
I touched up the black areas with black fabric paint. The circles have been painted after quilting with metallic fabric paint. The green is a color by Stewart Gill and the red is by Silks.
I wanted to add some texture to it so I hand embroidered the circles with lana in a mustard yellow color using a seed stitch. I wasn't sure that the door was standing out as much as I wanted it to, so for the larger piece i decided to transfer the writing on its own for now. So that's what I have done. More on that one later, as it is still a work in progress.
I worked on a second smaller sample starting with the same burgundy fabric as above; quilted it with similar quilting as the larger work in progress piece, and then added the lettering. I wanted to see if I could actually write in my own handwriting and what it would look like. Then I added the circles with two different colors of green, once again in the lana, and beaded the smaller circle. The green and gold circles are hand-painted ATP paper (leftovers) using gold and green fabric paints. I like the way they look, instead of just painting directly on the fabric. I see possibilities ...
I really like the different textures with the two sizes of script. And all those circles dancing across the surface. I am hoping to do some more playing this weekend.
Talking about this weekend, I will be putting together the kits for my classes in Houston at IQA this year. Yes, I am teaching there, and the classes are almost sold out. So if you are planning on going, and you have not made up your mind ... there are still plenty of good classes out there to go to. I am really looking forward to the experience.
And if you are going to Market from 26 October to 28 October, I'll be there too. I will be doing a demo for Wonderfil Threads both mornings on Sunday and Monday. Come pay me a visit. I'd love to chat with you.
In the meantime, keep busy, happy, enjoy the last days of summer and keep quilting. Until next time ...
August 26, 2013
Mine was full of different things and good accomplishments. I am glad to say that I am slowly getting back on track and finishing pieces, continuing others and starting new ones. It is always so exciting when ideas are swirling around in your head and you find the time to actually do something about them. I do my best thinking around 2:00 a.m. when I wake up ... and then I have to make a conscious effort to remember in the morning. Sometimes I make notes to myself in the middle of the night, but I find that if I do that ... cannot get back to sleep afterwards. It is as if my brain jumpstarts!
So, yesterday, drill in one hand, screwdriver in the other, I finished the mixed media piece that is going to Houston for the Silent Auction. So if you are going to be there ... bid on! I would love to hear from the person who gets the piece. It is always interesting to know what people think of it.
It is called "Through the Gates of Hope". It is 12" x 12", hand dyed fabric, hand dyed cheesecloth. Stencilled with paintstiks, stamped with acrylic paint. Fused fabric and a transfer photo for the gate. Then it is hand embroidered and beaded.
The detail is in the plexiglass pane held by screws. It is mounted on a painted birch board and ready to hang. Hope you find it intriguing ...
And a detail:
At the Edge, one of the art quilt groups I belong to, has put a challenge out and for this year it is working on a series. So, with that in mind, I took my hand-dyed fabrics and started working with this mixed media idea of using plexiglass and screws to highlight some detail of the work. We have to make 6 pieces, largest at 36" x 36", and from then: 12" x 36", 12" x 12", 24" x 24", etc. We can drop one size and make two of one ... Now, we have an extension on the original deadline, as the floods and life got in the way of the creative work. So February 2014 is the new deadline. I have been making pieces in odd sizes (not the "legal" ones), and here are some of the results.
This first one is called "Some Day the Rains will Fall", and it uses my hand-dyed fabrics, simple piecing, tight quilting every 1/8" or so, plus hand dyed threads, and a photo transfer of a crow from a picture I took in Halifax. The gate is also a photo transfer. So here it is ...
What you see behind the plexiglass are torn pieces of an old book that I bought in Buenos Aires at the flea market. The yellowest grimiest book I could find! It has, on top, a Golden product called "Self-levelling Gel Medium", which is lovely, because you can apply it thick and it dries clear and gives you a very glossy finish. You can also see some copper paint that I used to color in between some of the quilting lines.
The next one is still unnamed: 6" x 20" and my daughter has claimed it already!
And a detail:
When I am working on new ideas, I make small pieces of work to try new things; for instance, in this case, the self levelling gel medium. Because I don't know how it is going to react on fabric, or paper, or whether it is going to look good or not, I try it out first, on something that I can use and repurpose later. In this case, I made a 4" x 6" postcard using similar techniques than the original piece; i.e.: tight quilting, fused fabric and on top, small pieces of paper glued with acrylic gel medium. Once that was dry, I applied the self levelling gel medium and let it dry. I loved the results, so I knew I could do it on the actual piece. Below a photo of the card that I made to try the photo transfer and some other techniques before trying them on the original piece:
I love this little card! All these smaller pieces of work will form part of the "sketchbook" and story book where we are supposed to keep track of our ideas, thought processes, fabric choices, thread choices, etc. I have all these pieces I need to put together now to start working on getting the book done! We are using 12" x 12" scrapbooks for them, so they will all hopefully look alike. I can't wait to see everybody's work!.
Well, that is it for now. I am feeling very accomplished as I have blogged more this past week than in the past few months. I am very excited that the technical issues are over, so hopefully, you can expect more from me soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the nice weather and remember to keep quilting.
Technical difficulties over ... photos attached ... Finally!
August 22, 2013
As you can see from my post yesterday, the technical difficulties have been fixed and now I can attach photos once again. Don't ask me what was wrong, because I don't know. I emailed Eric and he fixed it. I thank my lucky stars for Eric and his magic fingers!
So, finally I can post some photos of the work I've been doing. This is one of the pieces I am working and adding to. I am still not sure what it is going to look like once it is done, but ... that's half the fun! Adding and adding until it all comes together. The stitching was the last thing I added before going on vacation. Not sure where to go next, but I have a few ideas I will try.
So you kow what you are looking at: this is using my hand-dyed fabrics. The wonky log cabin was made using small left overs from other projects, as is the strip in the center of the work. Then, there are a couple of pieces fused on top. It is heavily quilted using mostly straight lines every 1/8" or so.
After than, the darker areas were created fusing hand-dyed cheese cloth (I used Misty Fuse). And the two white vertical stripes are done by using masking tape to mask the area and then applying acrylic paint with a roller brush very gently. The stitching was added at the end, using one of the skeins of thread I dyed with the fabrics, so it all blends together. The yellow and green thread at the top is a commercial brand.
Here are a couple of details:
And another one of the stitching:
I will keep you posted as to progress. What do you think?
Enjoy the beautiful day out there. It's supposed to go up to 27 degrees this afternoon. I am off now and will go for a short walk. I will blog later with some more photos of new finished work this time.
Take care, and keep quilting.
Festival of Quilts in Birmingham
August 21, 2013
Yes! I did go!!! So very exciting.
The nicest thing was that I got together with two lovely friends. Lisa flew from Ontario and Nan from Frankfurt (well, sort of as she was already vacationing in the UK), so the three of us met at the NEC in Birmingham. Nan arrived first and met with Lisa who got to Heathrow before I did and took the bus to Birmingham. I arrived at my planned time, and made it through Customs and Immigration in a flash, and found myself at the bus station 3 hours ahead of my scheduled bus. For an extra GBP10, I took an earlier bus, napped for a bit on the way (nothing to see for the most part as it is highway), and arrived at the airport where I got off and proceeded to walk to the NEC. Left my bag at the coat check and paid the GBP 15.00 to get in. Walked around for a bit ... found the Stef Francis booth (danger, danger!), of course had to stop and peruse and purchase ... What a treat! Her work is stunning! Here are a few of the photos I took:
Isn't her work stunning? I loved all the samples. And you should have seen the threads, all color coordinated, and the fabrics, scrim, silks, metallics, silk cocoons, etc. you get the idea ...
After I felt more relaxed with my purchases, I kept walking around looking at quilts and vendors. I had promised myself to skip all vendors with commercial fabric, as I am not using that much anymore, and didn't make much sense for me to stop and look at fabric we can get here. But there were lots of stands of hand-dyed fabrics. And I did end up purchasing a few pieces here and there.
I finally made my way to Laura and Linda Kemshall's booth at the back of the show, stopping here and there to shoot some photos. Very interesting work. All kinds, all types. One thing I didn't know, and I was told later, is that everything that people send gets in. So it is not a juried show, although there are judged categories and prizes. But the big difference with the shows in the US and Canada that we are so used to, is that you find a very basic quilt beside something much more elaborate. They consider, and I agree, that it is important for people to see their quilts in an exhibit.
I got to Laura and Linda's and Linda is telling me that they weren't expecting me until the next day, as Lisa and Nan had stopped before ... and I turn around ... and there they were! So hugs all around, of course, and we kept going. I bought a couple of pieces at the Kemshall's from their Footprint fabric printed collection. There were tons of fabric to pick from, and I would have purchased it all, but I restrained myself.
Here are some photos of some quilts from the SAQA Exhibit: Metaphors on Aging:
This one is by Canadian Mary Pal and is called "JBW".
This one is by American Lea McComas and is called "Sweet Song from an Old Fiddle". Stunning threadwork and quilting. A detail below.
This is a close up of the fingers! Look at the detail ...
This is by one of my favorite quilters, Linda Colsh called "Second Hand". A detail below:
The description says: "The old woman's broom sweeps, rhythmically moving dust away; a reflection of the clock's metronomic, relentless second hand sweeping life toward dust."
This is it for this entry. I will show you some more photos of the quilts in the exhibit later on. In the meantime, hope you are enjoying the last few days of Summer, and remember to make time in your life to be creative ... and keep quilting.
July 29, 2013
Hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was busy but good. I am enjoying my newly landscaped backyard. I will post some photos soon. I mowed the lawn yesterday and it didn't take any time at all as I got rid of all the grass against the fence, and that made it easier. A few mosquito bites later ... I was done. Task achieved. So now I could go to my studio and do some work without feeling guilty every time I looked out the window and saw that I needed to cut the grass.
On to some new work I've been doing. As you may know, I've been dyeing my own fabrics for a while now, and let me tell you ... it gets addictive. Also, Lisa, who is a member of At The Edge, one of the groups I belong to, was moving to Toronto and she asked me if I would join her in a dyeing day. Of course I said yes, and ended up with 12 yards of new hand-dyed fabrics. The weekend after, we got together again just before she left for her new adventures, and dyed about the same amount. Later on that week, I received the new dyes I had ordered from Dharma, so of course I had to give them a try. They were mostly greys as one of the pieces I've been working on is mostly greys and black. Another 7 yards later ... I was done for a while. Now I have to use them!
Here's the piece I was working on yesterday. It's been on my design wall for a while, and I've been debating what to do with it; I had added the fused hand-dyed cheesecloth a while ago. On Saturday, I decided to use one of my hand-dyed threads and add some hand-stitching to it. I will have to upload some photos later, as the ones I have for some reason won't upload (frustrating...).
Well, despite the technical difficulties ... I hope you are still reading. And if you are, I thank you for that. Keep quilting.