Sunday, September 9, 2018

Update on my leaves

Still working frantically on my Damask leaves, although I have no idea what the panic might be.  The fabric paper leaves just didn't work out. I fused an inner leaf on, and then beaded around it. I then did the same thing with the second leaf for the back.  But joining the two sections proved a problem.  With glue in the center the two pieces were joined but there were still gaps along the edges.   I sewed around the edge, and this just didn't turn out well. I had been slowly developing reservations about using them. and finally decided that they wouldn't do.  But, they might prove quite fine for a future mixed media project, so are off to the big plastic container of "stuff" that I reserve for that sort of work.

But I already knew that I needed more leaves, and had parfait dyed three more napkins. Thankfully, they had turned out well, and were the darker colours I had hoped for.  It was still the same dye powder, but used in much greater concentration.

I stabilized all of them, and cut two rectangles out of them, each roughly the same size.  Each pair, from the same napkin, were sandwiched with batting, and machine quilted--horizontally, vertically and on an angle, in lines 1/4" apart. Leaf shapes were individually cut by hand.  The edges were sealed with acrylic paint, and then I started beading them.

I'm well pleased with this, and will continue beading until I have enough to applique onto the striped background. I'm slowly getting that stitched.  That, too, is turning out to be a little more demanding than I had anticipated.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A new idea and new energy

Awhile back I mentioned parfait dying Damask napkins and then cutting them in strips, but then not knowing what to do with them.  The other day it came to me that I've always been attracted to leaves. What if--I covered the sewn together strips with a swath of dimensional leaves?  How to make those leaves? Pintrest gave me a couple of ideas, and I've used so many techniques over the years, what if I took a look at some of the older techniques?  One I remembered was quilted leaves cut out and edge stitched with beads.  I knew that I had seen it done by Linda Kemshell, but couldn't remember where, so hit the reference books, without success.  Then found the demo on Quilting arts tv number 201. 

The dyed strips really have a problem with value.  Here they are on my portable flannel wall, ready to be sewn together. Yeah, there's a value issue there, but it will make a good background for leaves of a darker value.

First thing I did was try, for the third time, to dye a couple of napkins with the same colours, but much more intensely coloured.  Not wanting to change too much, I elected to use parfait dying again.

The other thing I decided to try was fabric paper.  I quickly realized that I would probably have to back the leaf with the same thing, as I wanted them to be dimensional.  For that I would need a consistent shape and that meant I would need a template.  Good thing I'm as old as I am, and learned my craft before rotary cutters.  I just happened to have a bit of template plastic on hand.  The price puts it out of my range these days.  The red paint on the scissors designates them as paper scissors. The colour on the fabric paper is much darker than it appears here.  I cut out 12 leaves, which when sewn together, will make 6 leaves.  

When I looked at them, they looked a little "blah-h-h".  This meant that there had to be either paint or fabric added to lift up the "zowie" factor.  More paint would make all the layers difficult to sew through, so I went to my stash of fabric scraps that already had fusible web on one side.

Does anyone else save those scraps?  I have two gallon sized Zip Loc bags stuffed with them, and they have never let me down when I wanted that perfect little piece, for what ever.  I do store them in sealed bags, as I think that extends the life of the fusible web.  Here's the pile after I've gone through it, and then sealed up ready to go back into the storage shelves.

And that was yesterday.  Today I'll deal with the parfait dye bath, and figure out what's going to happen with that.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network, and maybe, Nina-Marie Sayre's  Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Still Finding my way

With the physical limits I'm trying to deal with, I'm struggling to keep  myself busy in the studio.  This is probably a measure of the strength of my drive to create.  Regular breaks are being built into my time down there.  I am reading a lot-thank Goodness for the public library.  Evenings are being spent playing poker on the internet for play money.  There is also a need for more small pouches to be sold at a local gift shop.  Trying to find some inspiration and/or technique that I can manage has sent me back to the DVD's of the early Quilting Arts tv.  Today I was watching video the 200 series, and that lead to time spent painting fabric.

The small pouches I'm slowly working on have lead to some family discussions and some soul searching on my part.  These are selling fairly well, and the production uses a lot of left over fabric and scraps. The money is negligible.  I'm certainly not getting paid for the time, and unless scraps and leftovers are used, the cost of supplies isn't even covered.  But then, I never had the expectation of profit.  At the same time, living on a fixed pension income, means every cent spent of art supplies, has to be carefully considered. 

Still, the social contacts that are involved are welcome.  Aging without socialization quickly leads to isolation  which can, itself, lead to mental deterioration.  Not going there!

I participated in craft shows and sales for many years, until I was persuaded to look at my work as "art".  The final straw came when my booth, at a major show, was situated next to one selling obscene rubber stamps.  Since than I have limited myself to art shows and exhibits, and activities associated with that, such as a gallery gift shop.

A second positive result of selling both art and craft is the validation one receives for one's work.  Early in my life this was important to me.  With both a family and a job, how else could I justify the time spent creating?  No longer important. I'm comfortable with my abilities.

As young wife and mother, the social aspects of special interest groups may have kept me sane.  That my sound strange, but IMHO, it's a reality.  Now as an older person, with limited social opportunities, it remains a reality.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Got it!

A friend took a picture of the piece "Red Redemption", that was so well received in Pinawa yesterday, and sent it to me.

This is the piece that was originally painted, and then over-dyed with black Procion MX dye.  The one I thought was "jaw dropping" after it came out of the dye bath. This is a good picture, and shows the subtle colour effect under the dye.  It was only after the beading was finished that I picked up on the effect of the red colour, especially in the beads, that lead to the title.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A little good, a little bad

The over-dyed piece I mentioned in my last blog, was finished in time to hang with the show I mounted today in Pinawa.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn't get a picture.  The reaction from all of those in the gallery ( which was open at the time) was positive, and I think it may have been sold before I even left the building.  I knew it was going to be well received, but had underestimated the positive response it got.  That's not to say that  the rest of my pieces weren't well received.  I think it's going to be a good show.  Two of my friends are also exhibiting at the same time, but only one was hanging today.  From what I saw of her art photography,  she will be well represented as well.

The other piece I spoke of, inspired by the work of Beryl Taylor, did not go well, and I've put it away for now.  It seemed to want to go in a direction I didn't care for.  I know one should always listen to what pieces have to say for themselves while they're being created, but I felt that it was  a road I had traveled before, and had never been happy with.  Too formulaic, and not "my" art. 

Other bad news is that my physical problems are worsening, rather than getting better.  The pain is as bad, if not worse, than before, and my upper limb strength increasingly poor.  I have a feeling that I'm may have to stop all studio work for a period, certainly cutting fabric, by any whatever means.  I have time-limited requests for production of some of my "bread and butter" items,  but may have to let them go.  Won't do my reputation much good.  The thought of having more free time, scares me, as I have no idea how I might fill it.  I might even be forced to do some housework, and that would never make me a "happy camper".

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I'm excited.

Last time I posted about the physical problems that have impacted my ability to work with fibre.  Slowly, over the paste couple of weeks, I've been looking for other activities that would allow me to continue to work with textiles, but within the limits of my current abilities.  I can machine stitch in small doses, so nothing will be finished quickly.

I now have three different projects in the works, and I'm excited.  The first is the multiple 1 1/2" strips of stabilized dyed cotton Damask that I spoke of in my last post.  Yes, I'm going to pursue stitching them together, with narrow solid colour strips, in between.  Then I may applique small geometric shapes over the whole thing, or, more likely, in a swath.  

Last week, my fibre art support group, The Fibre Art Divas, met and had a bit of "Show"n"Tell".  One lady showed apiece where she had marbled over previously dyed fabric.  I had several painted pieces that had been disappointments, so over-dyed those.  Two were disappointing, but two were jaw dropping.  I'm in the process of slowly machine quilting one of them, within the limits of my shoulder pain.  This will then be embellished and beaded.

Thirdly, on Pintrest, I noticed several pins of work that brought to mind the collage work of Beryl Taylor.  I bought her book "Mixed Media Explorations" several years ago, and had loved what I saw, but hadn't pursued it at the time.  Now I have the time, and have started to work my way through it.

I want to stay within the limits of my stash, rather than buy more "stuff". So I  have started with cutting motifs out of embossed wallpaper, and painting it, before working it into very small motifs that will later be applied to a background.  I made a firm decision to follow my own path in terms of colour, and will be working within a double complement scheme of red/green and blue/orange.  This was dictated by a group of Shibori dyed fabrics that I have.

I plan to link with The Needle and Thread Network, and Nina Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Re-thinking the whole fibre art gig

Sunday, while cutting endless 1 1/2" strips with my rotary cutter, my body objected, and went on a "sit down" strike.  Since then, I've been dealing with regular pain, and the knowledge that routine cutting, for the purpose of preparing fabric for charity quilts is off the table for me, even as a stash reduction strategy.  I have to accept increasing limitations of physical abilities, and not waste what is left on anything that doesn't further my fibre art work. I have a fair stock pile of pre-cut pieces for future charity quilts, and once that's gone--too bad.  

At the same time as my cutting came to an abrupt end, I realized that machine quilting, was also part of the problem.  I expect that I will be able to resume this, in limited, and carefully planned stages, but not for a awhile.  I am so-o-o glad that I'm prepared for hanging 3- yes three- exhibits on the first weekend in September.  What's more they are three different communities in the province, all of them needing trips out of town. My injured shoulder doesn't like driving either.

This all started, last spring, when I made a decision to accept any opportunity that came up.  Be careful what you wish for.  LOL  Now I need a new plan.  I have no idea what that may look like.

As well as cutting for charity quilts, I was working with something--not a vision but a vague idea.  This involved dyeing 8 20" Damask napkins, then cutting them into 1 1/2" strips and organizing them from darkest to lightest.  Didn't work and will never be seen again. 

So, I took some of the strips and organized them with narrow gaps of white in between.  Hmmmm?  Maybe something here, but probably not.  We'll see.  

Whatever happens, I have a whole bunch of lightly stabilized Damask strips, that are probably headed for the circular file. All I will have really lost is my time--and I have more of that.