Beaches and Rocks
October 17, 2013
A happy belated Thanksgiving to all of you. I had a very wonderful deconstructed turkey meal that my son Ale cooked for us on Saturday. I had a house full of guests, lovely turkey smells throughout the house ... and although it ended up being a very expensive meal ... it was well worth the money spent to see Ale cooking again and taste some of his foods. Although I do have to say that I spent two days washing dishes after him! That's our deal: he cooks, I clean ... every pot, every pan, every spoon ... used and re-used and used again! :-) I realized afterwards that I forgot to take pictures, so no photos of the meal this time around. You'll have to trust me when I say it was delicious!
But after all that food and all that cooking and washing, I needed to do something different, so while he slept, I started a new piece of work on Sunday with some of the ideas I had been playing with, and some of the pieces I had been working on. This was all going to be about 24" x 48", but decided to start small and see if I liked the way it was shaping, so here it is so far. This will end up being 20" x 20". You will recognize some of the images from previous postings.
I have all those rocks made, and made about 12 more on Monday, so they will get added around the ones you see on the bottom left-hand side. The printed image is part of the ones I asked Laura Kemshall of Fingerprints to print for me. I have to say I love the way they look. Stunning images, well worth the price paid. This is the image that I had printed on fabric:
My idea is to applique the fabric rocks over the rocks that were cut off (at the edges) to blur the hard edges a bit and incorporate the print into the rest of the quilt. I know I will applique at least 3 or 4 to the print and then all around the ones I already have.
I thought that quilting around the rocks was going to be difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised and it was not. I was able to get quite close to them. Now I know for future pieces that I can actually make more rocks by placing the shape between the two layers of fabric - and then applique the rest once the piece is fully quilted. In this piece, I have only three done in this manner, although it will be interesting to see if there is a marked difference between the two methods once the piece is finished and all the embroidery has been added around it (see previous blog).
I have quilted it with vertical and horizontal lines every 1/8" or so, quite tight, and have echo quilted around the rocks at the bottom, to give the idea of ripples in the sand and the marks left behind by the ocean receding. I still have aobut 1/3 of the top to quilt. You can see more detail in the close-up above.
I am not sure what's going to happen at the top right hand corner of the work, in the big expanse of grey fabric. As it is the case with most of my work recently, part of it is planned, and part of it is well, serendipity? Left to what pops in my mind at the time? Who knows? There's an element of angst in working this way, because the work sits on the table or design wall for a while until it becomes clear in my mind the direction it needs to take, but ... it keeps me on my toes! And I get to make all those smallish pieces of work to try the techniques I'm thinking of using before I go ahead and do it on the actual piece of work.
This is how far I got on Sunday and Monday. Stay tuned. I'll post more with updates.
Now that I used some precious time to play, I need to go back and finish preparing for Houston which is in a couple of weeks. I will arrive for Market on Saturday October 26th and will be doing a couple of demos on the 27th and 28th in the morning at Wonderfil Threads. So if you are planning on attending Market this year, stop by and say hi. Otherwise, I'll see you around walking the floors and looking at quilts during Festival.
And if you have been, keep quilting.
Another set of strips and blocks ... and a pebble or two!
October 09, 2013
Oh, where, where have all the days gone in between September 20th (my last blog) and today? It seems that it was yesterday that I blogged for the last time!. I cannot believe how fast this year is going ...
The past few weeks have been busy at work, and at home preparing for the classes I am teaching in Houston. I teach 4 classes, and do a Demo for Open Studios, plus two demos for Wonderfil Threads during Market. That's a lot of samples and stuff to put together.
On Saturday I finally went to the UPS store to send the box with the kits to Houston. It is a big box ... and it weighs a ton! But, it's all gone, plus the box I sent directly from the US with all the paints and pencils that I need... I do hope that the two boxes will be there when I arrive on Saturday October 26!
I am still trying to wrap my head around what I am going to do to the two pieces I have been working on for a while now. I am still not sold on any idea; I keep looking at them and know that one of these days something is going to pop into my head.
In the meantime, I not been idle. When I was in Birmingham in August, I gave Laura Kemshall a CD with images to print on fabric at Fingerprints. Last week I received the fabric and was thrilled! Now... after spending all that money (it was not cheap!), I'd better put it to good use.
In preparation for that, I had dyed a lot of fabrics in greys, as I want to recreate the feeling of pebbles on the beach.
In case you are wondering, I also used some Sage green dye and some Golden dye so that's some of the coloration you see. The other variations on the greys are different dyes. One of them, amazingly enough, when I added the soda ash, turned pink! The darker colors were obtained with some of the blacks.
I took the opportunity of a dye day and also dyed some silk velvet and skeins of thread so I now I have some for embellishment, and because they were all dyed with the same dyes and at the same time, it all matches. Ah, I added, some cheese cloth at the last minute, just laid it on top of the other fabrics and smooshed it all together (don't have a photo of it, although it is lovely).
Below are some of the photos I had printed on fabric:
These two photos were taken in Halifax last April, when I went to teach for CQA. Don't you love all those grey pebbles? Look at all those different textures, and slight color variations ... This is what I've done with it:
Those are some of the pebbles I've made so far. IThe dark eloongated one on top is silk velvet. I have about 25 more to go (prepared and ready for hand work) and probably a few dozen more to go still, depending on what I do with them and how big the work is. Lots of pebbles, but they are nice to have to make when you are watching TV! Here's the sample of what I am contemplating doing with them:
The two light grey pebbles were made by sliding a "pebble" made of a layer of stiff Timtex (or similar) with a layer of batting on top glued to it in between the two layers of fabric (the grey and an ugly orangey underneath that you can't see), and then taking stab stitches through both layers of fabric to anchor the pebbles in place. The three other pebbles were appliqued on top. I was experimenting so I decided to add lots of french knots in between with a thicker tembroidery thread to mimic the feel of all the sand and the bits and pieces you find in between the rocks.
And below, some of the strips and wonky squares I am putting together to add. I am not sure where it will all end up, and how it will look in the end, but it's been a lot of fun to work with it. I'll keep you posted as to progress. I might play with one of the smaller prints this weekend (it's Thanksgiving so we have an extra day), when I take a break from making samples and step outs for the classes.
So this is all I have to share for now. Send me a comment or two and let me know what you are up to this weekend. In the meantime, keep making time for creative endeavours, and above all, keep quilting.
I will blog soon.
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.