Saturday, August 19, 2017

It's been awhile

Then reason I've been quiet is that the current piece is somewhat experimental.  If it works, then it's slated for the gallery show in November, if not, then it may never be seen---ever.

The recent preponderance of "matchstick" machine quilting has bothered me, a little.  If it's well done, there is little evidence of "the hand of the maker".  If it's not well done, it's just messy.  In the past I've done close parallel lines of machine stitching, in small irregular shaped areas, and I've done it free motion. I love the process, but find hours spent machine quilting parallel lines is both boring, and exhausting, without any sense of accomplishment--IMHO.  I know others love this type of work.

At the same time, I've taken some time to look closely at the art of  Hundertwasser, and finding some similarities, there, to Panamanian, San Blas Molas. The only way I could see of translating Hundertwasser's techniques into fibre work, would involve very intricate reverse applique, which would then be echo quilted with very dark colour thread.  There maybe other options, but I couldn't visualize any of them.  Still, I like the parallel contour lines in his work.

So--what if--- I were to make a fairly simple applique design, and heavily augment it with close, parallel echo quilting, done with free motion.  This quilting would, IMHO, require colour, to create any sort of impact.

So, over the past few weeks, that's what I've been doing.  I wasn't terribly happy with the result, and spent some time trying to figure. out how I could save the piece. Last night, I realized that the contour quilting just wasn't doing what it should, and was far less prominent that it could be. So today, I started FMQ'g again between the lines I had previously quilted.  I also made an effort to use more colour.  I haven't finished yet, but can show a bit of a "before and after" picture. This is a horizon line between the sky and a forest. The sky has been re-quilted to an extent, but I haven't, yet, started on the forest.  While this may not be the solution to my problem, I certainly think it's part of the solution.

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A chance to play

Visiting the hardware store can be a great prompt to your creativity.  There are many wonderful things there that a fibre artist, with a little imagination, can re-purpose.  I didn't have long there today but I came home with two finds.

First was something that, I'm told, fits into a vent opening, but I see the perfect device for some Shibori Pole wrapping. Not only is it free standing, but it will also fit nicely into the big plastic pail I use for preparing a dye bath when doing this sort of thing.  The tube is about 8" in diameter.  I have a much smaller one of PVC pipe, but have always wanted a larger one, as I really don't like having to fold my fabric to much, as it changes the dye pattern.

The second thing I found was another ceiling medallion.  This was more of a challenge, as I asked for directions when I first went in and was directed to one side of the big box store, when actually I had to go all the way to the other side. and it took awhile to find someone who could answer my questions, correctly.  This isn't a good thing for my poor knees and hips. 

This medallion is smaller than the first one, and, because of the depth of the relief, I have a hunch that only a smaller part of it will print well.  Since I was looking for a smaller medallion in the first place, I'm happy.  

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Finish some, start some

This has been a week of finishes.  Today I finished "Tiara II".  The same basic design as "Tiara", but in a different colour way.  The crystal beads I had bought for both just weren't right, so I ended up using a smaller silver bead, for "Tiara II".  This meant that I could also change the beading patter, to a certain extent.

Here is the finished piece, and a close-up.

Now, while most of my work can only be termed"Fibre Art,  I have a guilty secret--I still love more the traditional, and indulge myself once in awhile.  This mean that I have an accumulation of finished projects sitting in my studio.  So, after a long break, I've decided to dip my feet into the Craft Sale circuit over the next few months.  A good friend, who is seriously into the circuit, and actually ekes out a living with it, has told me that well made baby quilts sell fairly well, provided they are priced reasonably.  So, as well as my stock of "Pouches, Purses, and Bags", I'm going to try taking two baby quilts.  I have one in more masculine colours, and need one in pink.  Having finished the "arty" stuff for now, this pile of pink fabric is ready for me to get my act together. All of this, except two long quarters, has come from my stash.

There is a more basic reason that I have lots of stock.  At the urging of my family, I have been trying to reduce my "stash".  Once I'm gone, I figure that they are more likely to be able to sell or gift finished items, than scraps of fabric.  Meanwhile, I get the pleasure of making things. It's the making, not the finishing, that keeps me going.  The craft sales usually ask for a donation of goods for a silent auction fund raiser, as well as a fee for table rental.  So, over the past week I have used painted fabric, from the stash, to make some simple tote bags to use for this sort of donation. There were four big pieces, for which I haven't been able to find a use, in the past 6  years. I stamped them, on a whim, and put them together fairly quickly, without using anything that hadn't been in my stash.

 I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Both "The Old Summer Kitchen"  and "Tiara", are finished.  These pieces have been plaguing me for the past couple of months, but now both are done, and hanging in my basement studio.

"Tiara" is my first attempt at a circular hanging.  It's only 12" in diameter ( well, 12 1/4". but maybe no-one will notice).  Here is an angle shot to emphasize the beading,and a full view.

Both of these pieces will be entered in a gallery show in November, with my fibre art support group, "The Fibre Art Divas".

"The Old Summer Kitchen" has been in several of my blogs.  It has required a lot of patience and trouble shooting. Never the less, I'm very pleased with this.  It is a bit of a departure from my usual more abstract work, and the first larger, "made in response to a call for entry" piece that has been completed in almost three years.  It's pretty good, but I can't call it my very best work.  There are a few problem areas, that only I know about.  This presents a quandary. Price! Do I price it so high that no-one will buy it, or do I price it a more reasonable level, in consideration of the problems?

Here is a close-up of the leaves in the trees, and a full view.

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

More frustration

The piece "The Old Summer Kitchen" continues to frustrate me.  I have added stuff, removed stuff, and done a heck of a lot of "reverse stitching".  Yesterday, when I attempted to back it and bind it,  the need for blocking became obvious.  This is the first time I used my new blocking board.  The expensive board we bought, to make it, turned out to be too hard for my T-pins.  With my husband's help we persevered and found some small brass tacks that would work, but we didn't have as many of them as we should have had to do a thorough job.  Good blocking requires some sort of fastening device every 1/2 inch around the edge of the piece, and by that time of night, heading out to buy more just wasn't an option.

But we got it stabilized and shaped.  During my time as a needle work finisher I did more than my share of blocking and this was one of the more difficult jobs, and maybe not my very best work, but the job got done.  

This morning we put it out into the yard to dry, as it would never have dried in the basement studio.  We rested the board against the fence upside down, and I'm not physically strong enough to flip it for the picture, but this actually shows the piece right side up.

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Navel Gazing Again

Earlier this week I attended the gathering of my fibre art support group, The Fibre Art Divas".  Because we meet in members' homes, we tend to be a small group, and rarely does everyone attend every meeting.  So it's always exciting when someone we haven't seen in awhile manages to get there.  This time we had a member that I only remember seeing once before ( I don't attend all the meetings, either)  She had three pieces, and they all blew me away.  I was stunned at what she has achieved. 

Now, I'm one of the older members of the group, and have slowly been plugging away at becoming more and more adventuresome in my work, over almost 60 years.  I am impressed at younger members who seize an idea, and advance in their work at a lightening pace. I'm realizing that many of them have surpassed me and are accomplishing things that I have never even dreamed of. I admit I'm envious, but at the same time I applaud their creativity. I'm also forced to admit, that I will probably never reach the heights they have, and to acknowledge that there is sure to be someone who bypasses them in the future.  This is the way of world.  

So what are my options?  I can wallow in envy, or accept that someone will always be better than me and give up (maybe take up Candy Crush, or internet poker?). The third option is to carry on, learn from them, and continue to take pleasure in whatever I achieve. So, the lady who brought the exceptional work to our meeting, described how she achieved a certain image. It just happens to be related to the piece " The Old Summer Kitchen", that I'm working on.  I think I'll try it.  I certainly have nothing to lose.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


After the frustrations of putting together my piece, " The Old Summer Kitchen", I wanted a bit of a break before starting the FMQ'g and thread painting on it.  I also thought it might be an idea to do some warm up of my FMQ'g, as it's been awhile.  So I did the basic preparation for a couple of mandalas I'm interested in.  Getting these quilted, will give me some take-along hand work for when I volunteering at a local gallery.  The gallery is often quiet for periods of time, --an excellent spot for some quiet hand work--and the gallery encourages its volunteers to be doing something creative while they're on site.

The two pieces were created by placing wet fabric over a bas-relief ceiling rosette, and then pushing the fabric into the crevices with a paint -covered ( Pebeo Seta-Color-well diluted) brush. Then allowing it to dry, in place. This is a technique I've played with a few times, with mixed success, but it went fairly well this time.  The secret, I think, is to find the perfect depth of relief.  Here is the plaster rosette I used.  It is just about an inch thick in the middle and about 3/8-7/16th at the edge. The rosette is 12" in diameter. I bought is at a garage sale for $1.00.

The first piece I did was in red, yellow and blue.  Depending on how well the paint is diluted there is always some blending between the colours, and I think this is desirable.  I quilted loosely along the lines of the image, with Superior Kimono Silk, trying to match the colour of the thread to the colour of the paint. I plan to bead this with clear crystal No.8 beads.

Figuring out how to quilt the last border area was challenging, as none of the features of the bas-relief were imprinted.  My first thought were something geometric, but then I decided to continue the "soft" feel of the piece with curves, and used a modified McTavishing technique.

The second piece was done in blue and yellow, which, of course, blended into shades of green.  Again, I tried to match the colour of the thread (polyester, this time. I have no idea where it came from). Some of the quilting is done with silver metallic.  The imprint of the bas-relief is much clearer this time, and, I think this shows in how detailed the quilted ended up being.  But the final border was still not clear, and I was happy to use the modified McTavishing again.  This will be beaded with either the same clear crystal as the first one, or, maybe, smaller silver beads.

I'm considering the titles "Tiara", and "Tiara Too".  I plan to exhibit both of them later this year.
I plan to link this with Nina Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Friday", and The Needle and Thread Network".