Monday, March 20, 2017

Results of printing

Here are the pieces that resulted from my printing marathon yesterday. Remember that these are intended for use either as a  a background to which a significant amount of work is added, or to be cut up and used for piecing or applique.  This is just the first step in the journey, and when finished these pieces may not be recognizable.  I also tend to work in portrait orientation, so most of the directionality that might occur in these pieces, is vertical.  I am particularly pleased with the two narrow pieces that have been done in black and ultramarine blue ( not navy).  My second favourite pieces are the two red ones at the bottom.  They were done with red paint over a shadow print  of the the two long black and blue pieces, which shows, as areas of paler blue with the red.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


With Shattered Dreams needing only the binding, I decided to do some prep work, today, for another project.  I don't have a clear idea of what I'm going to do, so decided to make a few mono-prints, big enough to use as either  backgrounds, or to cut up for piecing with larger geometric pieces.  The fabric printing process takes longer to set up and clean-up, than it does to actually pull the prints.

 My usual process is to set up an assembly line and pull 25-35 prints, knowing that those that don't work out for framed pieces or hangings, can be used to make the small purses that I sell as my "bread-and-butter" pieces at craft shows.  ( "Bread-and-butter" pieces are those easily, and inexpensively, made items that attract customers, and will sell well enough to make your booth rental) This time, I was more concerned about producing background pieces that might work for the vague idea that I have at the back of my mind. So I spent more time preparing the paint on the large piece of plexi-glass that I use for my printing base, than rushing to produce a large number of prints.  After 2 hours of steady work, I ended up with 11 prints, five at least 34" square, and 6 longer narrower pieces.  So far, at least 4 of them have real potential, and I already have ideas forming about their use.  Now to wait for them to dry, before I can heat-set them, and then--start some serious pattern drafting.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roughened up

Shattered Dreams has been roughened up a bit.  I figure that if I'm trying to represent a stylized explosion, there wouldn't be a lot of straight lines and points.  The basic machine quilting was done first, mainly using FMQ'g. The next was modifying the straight lines with thread painting, although  I'm not sure you can call it "thread painting" when only one colour (navy) was used. I may have to do a little more FMQ'g within the navy shape.  This turned out to be more of a challenge of defining  positive and negative space than I had anticipated. Now it just has to be trimmed and bound.

Here is the full view and close-up.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Background done!

The basic background of the piece inspired by the words "fragile, fragmented, and fractured" is done.  The light blue-ish  pieces were all cut from one piece of my hand dyed fabric, but the navy is commercial fabric.  I've never found a navy dye that gives me the rich colour I prefer for some projects. To get the image and mood I wanted, I had to go right back to basic techniques and drafted my pattern pieces and then cut them, by hand, with scissors!  Been a long time since I used that method.  Then I folded back the 1/4" seam allowances, pressed them in place, butted the edges of two adjacent pieces, and stitched them down with a very narrow zig-zag, using a mono-poly thread. Here is the work in progress.

 And here are the rest of the pieces waiting their turn to be processed.

 The navy was, again, done from a hand-drawn pattern and cut by hand, from fabric that already had the fusible applied to one side.  Positioning this large irregular piece was tricky, and in the end, I pulled out my small hand held Clover iron.  I rarely use this, but when it's needed it sure is useful.   I haven't yet decided if this is the right way up or if I prefer the right side to be the bottom.  That decision can wait awhile.

The next step will be a heck of a lot of machine work.  Every raw edge of navy will be stitched down with a narrow zig-zag, and the seam lines extended with navy, to the edge.  Then I plan to use FMQ'g to add some small fracture lines within the pale blue, and roughen-up the edges of the navy.  I've titled it "Shattered Dreams"

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Clutching at straws

In the evening, if I'm too tired for studio work, ( and sometimes when I just feel like it), I play poker on the internet ( Play money only!).  Last evening, I was playing, but had a scratch pad next to me, and a pen.  I was jotting down random ideas, and two appeared worth pursuing.  One of them will take a lot more thought, but the other I started today.  It's not "great art", but it is interesting. (It will probably end up rolled up in a chest in the basement and never exhibited publicly--we'll see) It's inspired by something said at my fibre art support group earlier this week. One of the ladies is working on a project that gets, at least some, of its inspiration through having people give her three words, that are meaningful in some way to the people providing them. One of these prompts was the three words " fragile, fragmented and fractured".  I've just about done all of the pattern drafting, and some of the cutting, and will post a picture sometime this coming week.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Creative block

It appears that all this introspection is resulting in some sort of "analysis paralysis".  My husband, joined me when I was wandering around the basement studio fondling fabric and sort of tidying up.  We were both sort of looking at the three heavy-duty shelving units that hold my large storage tubs of, mainly commercial, fabric--most of which I will never use.  Bless his heart, he thinks I should make bed quilts out of it, to get rid of it.  But that's not "art", I bleat.  "Maybe not, but we need to get rid of it".  He's even offered to do the rotary cutting for me.  Well, one guideline that's been suggested for creativity blocks is to "just do something', even if that's just sorting fabric or cleaning the studio. The only difficulty with the idea, is that , while we might make the tops, they will still need quilting, and I can't do larger quilts on my domestic machine.  Yes, I know it can be done, but not with my limited hand strength, and the very small area I have for working.  I can't deal with the weight of more than about a 40 inch square piece. Regardless of that, I'm going to give some serious thought to his suggestion.

But at the same time, deep in my heart, I worry about whether my creativity is gone, as part of the aging process.  A slow, dementing process is always a fear in those of us who are getting older. So, I've gone back to the the jar of "prompts" that I made awhile ago, and haven't dared touch ever since.  This was little pieces of paper with an idea or suggestion written on each one.  The idea is that, when you're in a "blue funk", and don't have any ideas of what to do next, you reach into the jar and pull out a piece of paper and do whatever it says.   So, my jar is now sitting there, staring at me, and daring me to pull an idea.  I'm just having trouble actually reaching into it.  What if, whatever I pull isn't something I want to do?  What a stupid way to think!!

So, I think my next project will be making sign to tape on the mirror in the upstairs studio that says "JUST DO IT!!"

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eye Candy

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of my small fibre art "support " group.  This is a group of local ladies who are serious fibre artists.  Many of them also belong to The Fibre Art Network ( ).  Our monthly meetings, in each others' homes, are informal and involve discussion about  techniques, problem solving, and luscious "Show'n'Tell".  While I've been involved in this sort of endeavor for most of my life, others are at various stages in the continuum.  It's stimulating to see the growing skills, confidence, and changing focus.  Our interests are so different, and even with our closeness, and the active exchange of ideas, our resulting work is dramatically different.  Some have found their niche, and others are still experimenting. A couple of them are becoming well recognized in the field, on a national or international basis. So-o-o, it's very hard to maintain a "blue funk" mood when exposed to such joy and enthusiasm, to say nothing of the "eye candy".