Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Progress report

My blue and silver piece is coming along just fine, thank you for asking. I'm progressing slowly, about 2 hours each evening. I have a big sale this weekend and may take it along to work on during slow times. I like to be busy at sales. It brings people to the booth, at least. I did another piece yesterday. This was a technique out of Stitches magazine involving silk paper and brown paper painted with planned colours (including metallics), and then fusible web, painted in an associated colour, attached to the brown paper. You pile up a layer of muslin, two layers of painted brown paper, your silk paper, and a design marked on tracing paper. Pin it all together and machine stitch along all of the lines of the design at least twice. Are you confused yet? Then parts of the design are cut away to reveal one of the layers of painted brown paper. Once you have cut away as much as you wish, the whole thing is pressed to fuse it all together,and then embellished with beads or whatever. I am very pleased with the result. Colour choice is essential for success, and since this is an area I've been struggling with, it's something I need to play with and get more comfortable with. I want to do more of these, and then maybe mount them for framing. I need to make more silk paper, but need to buy more silk roving for that. It may be awhile.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I mentioned that I sewed for two hours last evening. I have taken an idea out of a magazine and wanted to try it out. I usually work my smaller pieces in layers. For this I started with a lovely piece of pale blue shantung satin, then a layer of silver mesh, and then a piece of silk paper out of which I had cut three holes to reveal the silver mesh underneath. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Not so! It was bland and ugly. I was disappointed. I've done it again. Let the ideas in my brain take over and not spent enough time on serious designing. No wonder I'm feeling like I can't produce anything. There are so many ideas in my head and I'm so anxious to get them into fibre that I rush ahead without really thinking it through.
So I decided to try to recover what I would have normally just, literally, thrown out. What to do? And how important is it to me to produce something that could be considered fine art? I decided that I will likely never show this to anyone. so I only have to please myself. I need to produce a piece that pleases me, for my own satisfaction, so that I can get my self confidence back. So this is only for me. Okay, I auditioned fibres and beads, and found objects. I went to the colour wheel to see what I could do to give the piece some life. Complement of shaded blue? Yellow ochre. Not in this lifetime!! So we ended up with lime green, Hunter green, turquoise and teal. I'm still within an analagous colour scheme, but, oh, does that teal make it sing!! I even took a page out of my friend Dianne's book and used some rat tail! Now I'm very busy couching fibre. the design is not great, but I'm happy with what I'm producing. It has been months since I've had this feeling of pleasure with my work. When it's finished, I may just reconsider showing it to you.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Muses and musings

I was worried about my muse. I thought she had left and then come back. She is really here, and I have so many ideas, but now I'm having doubts again about my technical ability to carry them out. So I went to talk to friends, which lead me to think about why I would go to these particular friends for support. It is because these friends know how important my stitching is to me, and they can empathize with my worry and concern about not being able to stitch the way I want to--and used to be able to do. I stitched for two hours this evening,and now it's enough for today. I used to stitch for 12 to 16 hours a day, for several days in a row. I know I have to recognize what a blessing it is that I can stitch at all. Two of the ladies I spoke to really gave me pause for thought. One has sold her house and is moving away to be closer to her family. She's leaving behind the support system that she has developed over a life time. The other one has a job that keeps her moving around the country. She is now on holiday and drove for two or three days to spend time with her stitchery support system here. Our stitching/quilting friends are irreplaceable. No-one can understand the force that drives us to this sort of creativity, except another stitcher/quilter. So hug your stitching/quilting friends today. They can't be replaced.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nope, no pictures yet. I'll try a little later. but I want to celebrate! I think my muse may be coming home to stay rather than just visiting every few weeks and then disappearing. I have several ideas to get down on paper, and even have picked fabrics and paints etc. for each of them. I actually went to visit the Sketch Club last night. Now I know that I'm not ready for that sort of exposure or critique. I need to pick some drawing skills so that I can get these ideas into my sketch book, but the work I did last night just proved to me how much I need to practise. So I'm going to try to draw a little bit every day. I just know that I can't plan my work and prepare my patterns without some sort of skill. I've actually bought a book and read some articles on how to set up a sketch book for fibre artists. It looks like fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What a horrible day! We gathered the family together and all went down to the lake last night (with a forecast of beautiful sunny weather for today), so we could work at putting a new roof on our building. It wasn't a good night, and most of the family got very little sleep. Then we all got up this morning to the sort of rain that you just know is going to stick around all day. By 10:00 a.m. half of us weren't speaking, so we packed up and came home. This could be laughed off, except for the $140.00 it cost us for gas to get all the supplies and the family down there! And nothing was accomplished!

I've managed to find more greeting card blanks, so will be spending time this weekend making up more greeting cards for the sale at the end of the month. I had been lead to believe that there were none available so I'm quite happy to have found these. I have no idea what will actually sell, but I'm betting that the greeting cards will be more popular than a lot of the other things I have. We'll have to see how things go. I'll post a picture when I get them done.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

This hasn't been a terribly good week, or month, for that matter. We had not one but two plumbing emergencies in June, then my toaster oven went, followed by my microwave. This week we went down to check on a small property we own. We wanted to check the small outbuilding where we sleep. Well, the vapour barrier over the ceiling insulation was absolutely full of the carcasses of dead beetles. I've never seen so many in one spot before. There were thousands. We also found that mice had got in over the winter and had pulled the stuffing out of our bed to use for nests. So DH carried all of the furniture out onto the grass and started to pull down the vapour barrier with the idea of getting rid of the insulation. Then he discovered that a small colony of bats had moved in over the winter. Well, we cleaned up as best we could, pulled all of the curtains down to bring home to wash, and were doing a final vacuum before moving the furniture back in, when I looked up and realized that there were holes in the roof. I could see daylight. We hadn't noticed until the insulation was taken out. So we're now looking at replacing the roof, the bed and all of the bedding. We also have to patch every small hole we can find anywhere to keep the bats and mice out. This is going to be very, very expensive. As well, since we can't afford to hire someone to do it, we will have to do all the work ourselves. We came home and were feeling very sorry for ourselves, when I noticed a puddle of water by the fridge. That's right, now we have to have the fridge repaired. It's only 18 months old and just off warrantee. What's more we are having a family reunion in early August, with part of the gathering going to be at the cottage--so we can't delay getting the work done. I guess this means we'll be serving our guests macaroni without the cheese. I feel so sorry for myself that I haven't set foot outside since we got home Thursday evening. I can only think of the old saying. "Take one day at a time",--- but I now know that sometimes the days gang up on you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


As promised, I've spent the last couple of days playing, and I've ended up making grocery bags. Yes, grocery bags! I needed a few more cotton bags and have found that the bags are the perfect place to try out all of the wonderful techniques I'm getting out of library books. It really doesn't matter if the design turns out, because-- who cares on a grocery bag? So far I've experimented with colouring a simple graphic design and then spritzing it with a little water to see which colours run and which don't and the effects you get from the blend of colours. I've learned not to use too much colour as you just end up with ugly blobs. Using rubber stamps is tricky. If the stamp doesn't take, the image disappears under another layer of colour wash. If you reinforce the image with india ink, the ink can run even if it's heat set ( that one was a surprise!) Next on the list is playing with pure colour washes to see how the blending effect emerges. Then I'll maybe add a couple of layers of black design. I'll let you know what happens.