Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wow-not what I expected

Today I did a demonstration for my LQG.  It was only 10 minutes, but it was simultaneously filmed for projection to the large group in attendance. It went well, although I missed a couple of steps in the technique and had to back-track a bit.  I left right after, and when I got home and relaxed for a few minutes, I was stunned to find myself very, very emotionally upset.  I was beside myself, almost in tears.  This has never happened before.  I have been teaching various aspects of fibre art for over 40 years.  I have no idea what brought this on, and it frightened me to realize what was happening.  I haven't done a lot of teaching in the past couple of years, and wonder if my mind and body is trying to tell me that my days of teaching are ending.  I have to confess that I haven't been getting as much satisfaction our of it lately, and am starting to find it a chore.  Food for thought maybe?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Still searching for my creativity

But I continue working and playing with fibre, in an effort to find whatever creativity may be left in my brain.  ( I'm never sure at my age).  I've been asked to teach a one day workshop that may involve demonstrating with my machine.  In my review of what gadgets etc that I own associated with my machine, I found a 1/4" foot.  It looks nothing like other 1/4" feet I've seen and I did not know that I even owned it.  I've been using this machine almost every day for over 10 years.  During that time I've kept my previous machine in the storeroom for any time I needed to sew 1/4" seams.

 At the same time, casually over a couple of years, I've admired the traditional pattern "Hunters' Star".  My Son-in-law is a life long hunter who now works as a fishing and hunting guide, and taxidermist.  I think of him when I see the design.  So I decided to make one, as an excuse to try out my 1/4" foot.  I cut all the pieces for a larger one, and quickly realized that I would never finish one that size in this lifetime, so just finished it at about 41" square. 

 I'm pleased with the result, and really have a sense of accomplishment with having actually finished it.  This is a very complicated and challenging design.  An added bonus is that the blue fabric is off a bolt of very old very traditional cotton that I've owned for almost 40 years.  I'd really like to get rid of it.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Dealing with creativity block

Creativity appears to have moved to Moscow.  Usually the recommendation is to just do something.  Doesn't matter what, as long as you're playing with fibre in some way.  Been playing for about 2 weeks now, and still haven't found what I'm looking for, but I know that this time of year is notorious for giving people the "blues".

This morning I played with orphan blocks for awhile, then started going through my painted and dyed fabric that lives in shelves in my storeroom.  I found three large pieces of dyed fabric that called to me, but didn't really give me any hints about where they wanted to go.  They are all a good size--about 60" wide, and about 3 feet wide.  I'm looking for suggestions.

No. 1  Here I ten to think of looking up into a forest canopy.  I think the piece would have to be cut down significantly but that might give me enough fabric to back it.

No. 2  this piece is larger but a chunk has been taken out of the other side.  At this point I have absolutely no idea how to approach it.

Piece three makes me think of skies and clouds, but maybe needs to be muted a bit  to be used like that.

There are two smaller pieces.  These are dyed cotton Damask napkins.
Again my first thought is to use them as a background, but I would want to keep the soft, gentle atmosphere.  Not sure how to proceed.  Any suggestions, Can anyone give me a sense of direction on any of these?

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

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A wonderful afternoon


Today I attended a critique session sponsored by the Manitoba Crafts Council.  The current exhibition in their gallery is a members' show, without a jury process, but with a size restriction--max 12" by 12".  Anyone with a piece in the exhibition could apply for one of the places in the critique process, which was lead by a professor from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Fine Art.  Several years ago I attended one of these sessions as an observer, last year as a participant, and this year as a participant.  While they are open to the public, and the gallery was open during the event, there was really no public participation.

Unfortunately, this year there were only 4 artists who had applied for a position.  But this meant that each of us had a full half hour of discussion around their piece.  There was a potter, a needle and wet felter/fused glass artist, a mixed media artist, and myself with a fibre piece.  We each started by introducing our self, and then explaining the motivation, intent, and techniques of the piece.  Questions from any one were encouraged, and answered.  But often discussion went to how we educate ourselves as artists, how we find inspiration, each of our individual artistic journeys, and where we see our work heading.  

Finding out the depth of thought that went into each piece, was an unforgettable experience.  Realizing the commonalities in each of our journeys promoted a real bond between us. If ever I am offered a chance like this again it will be taken, without question.

I may link this with Lisa, Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Not to my taste

At the meeting of the local quilt guild this month, they featured a well-known fabric designer, of whom I was not aware.  The entire meeting was a very well organized tribute to this designer, and even featured a communication from the designer, thanking us for the celebration.  We even found out that there was a t least one special interest group within our guild that is dedicated to her work. While I'm thankful for learning more about this person's work, I was surprised to find that none of what I saw appealed to me in the least, and there was a tremendous amount of her fabric featured.  Actually I thought most of it was "gawd awful".  What a relief to know that there is no reason to explore further, just to be "one of the gang"  LOL

Friday, February 8, 2019

Attempting to grow as an artist

Over the past few months, I've been attempting to get out of the rut my art had fallen into.  In December, I bought a one month subscription to Design Matters TV and watched every video they had, especially those providing information on sketchbooks.   Sketchbooks is a topic I have casually explored over the past few years--how and why artists use sketch books.   Over the years, I confess that I got lost in the development of art journals, and spent many hours actually asking myself why anyone would make an art journal and how it would benefit them as artists. But, I took workshops on sketching, so that I could, at least, know how to sketch once I figured out the "why".  I read articles and books on exactly how to make an art journal, looking for the right way- exactly how are sketch books and art journals supposed to be done.  Somehow I could never figure it out.

Meanwhile, I have gradually, over the years built up quite a collection of empty books into which I have collected photos and notes on how I might use them, drafts of some designs that I might use, fabric samples of various techniques that I have been thinking about using in specific designs,etc.  Nothing with any meaningful sketches though. 

Of course, there are many small, empty books with sketches attempted on the first few pages and then abandoned.


Over the past week I have been casually looking through the small personal library I have of fibre art related books.  I came across an older book I have bought years ago--"Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists" by Kay Greenlees.  When bought, probably in the early 2000's, it had been forgotten as it didn't have a recipe for making a useful sketchbook.  But having now done a lot more investigation into the topic, I read it with new eyes.

It says from the start that each artist has to find their own method of documenting their own specific journey, in whatever what way serves them best. Then it discusses, documents, and gives examples of techniques that other artists have found useful.  OMG!  I get it! Each artist-their own method-in whatever way works!  Just as I have been doing all along.  The actual ability to create a beautiful, artistic looking sketch has nothing to do with it.  Go your own way--but do it!

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays.


Monday, February 4, 2019

So what am I actually working on?

I spoke of a piece of sun printing I had resurrected.  Here are a couple of photos.

Here is the original sun print, done 3-4 years ago.  While I've finished a few sun prints over the years, they just don't sell in art shows.  I figured that it would be  waste of my time to try to actually use it.  


Then I turned it over.  Oh my!  This had possibilities.  So I created some rubber stamps, and created flowers using the very vague imprint that came through of the actual print.  I plan to FMQ this probably using a Sashiko-type design, on the diagonal.  The colour, of the flower petals didn't work out quite as I had hoped, so I then augmented it with fine tipped felt marker.  Then I will somewhat densely bead the flower centers.  At this point I'm thinking of bright yellow or gold beads, but that may change.


 As you may have guessed, I'm going through my shelves of hand dyed and painted fabric, and trying to use as much of it as I can.  Here are a couple more pieces I'm looking at.  Needless to say, I don't hold out much hope for the blue and orange piece, but I think I may try cutting it up and maybe piecing it, before adding some applique-maybe in very dark grey.