Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Argh-h-h!

The test class for my Fabric Painting class has been arranged for the last two Saturdays in January. This is a little sooner than I would have liked, but gives me a deadline as an incentive to get my act together. They have had to rent a room off-site, and didn't really have much choice. The Box Making test class isn't until the end of March, so there will be a good break between the two. I guess I know what I'll be doing over the next three months.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Creeative blocks

The last couple of weeks have been a revelation. It's true that when faced with a creative block, just get in there and do something. Well, I've sorted through my scrap bin, and two small pieces are emerging. I've hemmed pants and now have 4 new pairs to wear--at least one of which has been waiting since may for hemming. (Of course, now I have to buy a new sweater or jacket to go with the one really good quality pair. The others were purchased with the intent of using them for "slepping around" clothes. ) I have prepared, or have well in hand, every piece I need for commitments over the next 6 months. I actully withdrew from one exhibition. I have hand sewing and/or beading to keep me busy evenings well into January.

So, I guess there is no excuse to not be working on the classes for May.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


In an attempt to get over my recent creative block, I decided to try a technique inspired by the article in the Dec/Jan Quilting Arts magazine by Janet A Lasher titled "Needlefelted Foundations to Stitch". Over the past week I've completed two small collages, although I'm still considering putting the samll green seed beads around the edge of the Spiral collage. I'm very pleased at how these have turned out, and I'm even considering exhibiting them as part of a show at a local gallery.
The Spiral one has taken a lot of time and involved a lot of hand work, while the Tree took on a life of its own and was "done" when the thread painting was finished.
For both of them I tried a new (to me) finishing technique that has a wrapped cord zig-zagged around the edge, prior to any excess fabric being cut off. I'm really liking this technique, and for someone like me who has physical difficulty hand sewing binding, it's the clear answer.








Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yearly goals

The internet group lists are now talking about the setting of yearly goals for fibre artists. I started this about 2 years ago and have been pleased with the results. The last time I did this I had wanted to start exhibiting locally, as well as continuing to exhibit internationally--and I've been doing that. I had wanted to increase the number and profile of the sales I've participated in and--to a certain extent--I've done that.

But the end result is that I ended up feeling as though all I was doing was production work, and that I was losing my creativity. So maybe this year I need to find a balance. This will mean exploring my creativity, but with an eye to exhibition quality work.

I've been hired to teach in Regina in May. This will be my first time at national teaching and I want to put on the best performance I possibly can, which means spending the next 5 months preparing. Actually I'll have less time than that, as I plan to do a test class for each course.

I also want to take a good look at the courses I do have and maybe revise them to bring them more up to date.

So--three solid goals. It will be interesting to look back and see how I make out with them

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Free day

Today is one of the very few days we have this month with no appointments scheduled. I would very much like to be able to spend it in the studio.

In the most recent "Quilting Arts" magazine there is a decription of making collage, using needle-felting , that I would very much like to try. There would be preparation involved as the technique incorporates both painted paper towel and painted cheesecloth. There is a similar but different technique in a recent "Stitch" magazine. This, too, is a felted collage but mounted on painted watercolour paper, and one in which I could use my silk cocoons and carrier rods.

So today, I''ll try to get the "ground work" done, in hopes of actually putting together the pieces over the next few days--between appointments.

Neurons

Here are my Neurons--the piece I entered into the November Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. I used every colour of fabric paint I had, to hand paint the images, then FMQ'd, and added beads. After I had posted it in the challenge site, one of the suggestions was that the close-up worked better than the full size image, and maybe I should consider cropping the piece so that the little neurons actually go ever the edges. I think this might be a good idea, but I'm a little concerned about the over-all size of the piece. As is, it's only 12 1/2" by 11", cutting it down would make it very small, and I had hoped to use it as a sample for the class on fabric painting that I'm teaching next spring.



Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby steps

Getting motivated has been a challenge lately, so this month I'm actually trying to work on the Fast Friday Challenge to get "kick started". Not only will my piece meet the challenge requirements, but I'll be able to use it later for my painting class next May. Hopefully I'll hve pictures later today or early tomorrow. The challenge requires pictures posted before noon Saturday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Whe-e-e-w!!

The final sale of the year is over. This one was a little different than some of the others in that it was advertised(well advertised) as a sale of "fine craft". So much a sale of "fine craft" that some of the organizers occaisonally let forth statements that I would have expected at an art gallery--"artistic integrity" or "a certain energy to the piece". However, there was a lot of money exchanging hands, --in my observation--not that I was party to much of it. So now I have a fair bit of stock left, and I need to find somewhere to store it, as I have no plans to venture out into the marketplace for at least six months.

I had wondered if my "muse" would return if she wasn't overwhelmed with the need to produce--and she has. What a great feeling it is to find the ideas flowing back! Now I have to struggle to let them all germinate. I have a piece due for a show jury sometime in January ( guess I better find out when!), and two heavy-duty classes to prepare for, so my time isn't exactly free, but the issues are percolating in my brain now, and, for me, that is always the first step in the process. The sample pieces for both classes are well in hand, although there is work to be done. Over the past two weeks there has been very little actual stitching time. I wonder if this is part of the reason my brain has felt so much free-er.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

more introspection

For the past month I've been more of less just puttering around the studio. I've also had a few days when I just didn't feel up to even walking through the door--more under the weather than depressed. One thing I've been doing is working with my beads. I acquired a few more and actually had to clean out the bottom of the corner cabinet, just to have a place to store them all. But this all got me to realize that my greatest pleasure comes from doing the hand work--even though that is becoming more and more difficult, because of the pain in my hands. Now this is just the kernal of an idea at this point, but certainly a direction that needs more exploration.

Right now the focus of my work is a series I'm working on with my Ravenesque support group. From hand-painted backgrounds, I'm re-combining various coluurs to create strata within the fabric. The next step will be to use thread and beads to enhance the whole concept. There is challenge within this group where each of us is to create a fantasy fish to be placed on a banner for display at an upcoming quilt show. Don't have a clue where I'm going with that one!

There is another challenge out there, this one through my local quilt guild wherein we are required to make a bag out of a kit of African fabrics, that have been supplied. Again--I don't have a clue!

Friday, November 13, 2009

New thought

Last night I had a chat with another fibre artist who is also looking at fused glass as an incorporation into her work. This was a strange coincidence, as I had been talking about the same thing with a glass worker over the weekend. My task over the next six months will be to try to find my own voice in my work. I'm not sure how using bits of other people's work fits into that idea, but I'm giving myself permission to explore any avenue that appeals to me.

Right now, I'm taking old works that were more or less disgarded, and trying to re-work them into something acceptable. I've started with a quilted piece I made out of some very beautiful Japanese cottons I bought in Ottawa during the Quilt Canada Conference in 2006. When it was finished it was awful!! So it's been sitting on a shelf waiting for me to get up the nerve to throw out all that expensive fabric. Well, I cut it up into 20' by 2" strips and then made the same number of strips out of black fabric that I quilted to make the weights just about the same. I am now using the back of the old piece as the front of the new. It will be very dark, but may still be a useful piece. I'm using a technique I learned a couple of years ago where the edges of the pieces are butted together and zig-zag'd. However I do think I will bind the edges, as I think this will make a mor durable piece.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Time off

My most recent sale was very poor. I have three more scheduled this month, but then plan to take at least six months off. With all of the pressure to produce for the sales, I haven't been able to do any serious creative work, and this has been preying on my mind. I also have two very serious classes to prepare for--both actual lessons and all of the project samples that I'll need to support them. Six months will also give me time to sort out in my mind what I really want to do with the rest of my life. If I want to sell then I have to make a real commitment to it. If I want to create, then I need to actively explore how I would plan to present my creations to the world. One thing I know is, that if I just create and keep it to myself, it will be sent to a thift store when I die. So I need the time to really find out what sort of life it might be to exhibit.

Over the past several years, I've often spent short periods of time "navel gazing", but I've never actually devoted time to gathering the information I need to come to a firm decision on my future. As I get older the idea of just having fun comes to mind more and more often. I think that, over the years, the cost of my creative life has driven me to sell, although the percieved need to recover cost has been in my own mind more than that of others around me.

What do I want to be remembered for?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reality bites!

In all the preparation for the four shows I have in November, I've reached the point where there is nothing but hand sewing left to do. Well, my hands don't like it. I tried to slow the pace and only do one piece a day, and still the hands object. Dammit! Old age sucks!

As well, an acquaintance told me that a friend absolutely loves the collages I make and has now started to make some just about the same, and is selling them. This is not a "fuzzy" area. It is copyright infringement. If they are anything like mine, or based on mine, then I am being exploited. She is stealing my ideas. This is not a case where imitation is a form of flattery. While such a thing is against the law, in reality, I know there is nothing I can do. I was fooled when she took an interest in my sun prints, asking what leaves I used and what paints and how I did it. I often describe the method as part of my sales pitch, (although not in such detail)as the finished result appears deceptively easy, but she was actually stealing the idea, ---and I let her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shopping

Had a successful shopping trip down south over the weekend. Spent all of my money, of course. Found Kona Cotton at a good price and bought 11yds of both black and white. I use a lot of black in my work, and the white can become any colour I choose. Also found some beads. I was looking in particular for tiny little flower shapes in which the hole is through the stem and up into the blossom, so that you need to use a stop bead to hold them in place. these are great at the end of a fringe. I had a few where the hole went cross-wise through the stem end of the flower, which work just as well, but being me, I wanted the other kind. I did find two that were as I wanted but in green--for flowers--go figure?! I also got a few in other colours, and some that were quite tiny. Now I just have to find time to bead!

Today I sort of have an "Artist's Date". I know that these are supposed to be somewhat solitary, but I expect to go with two friends whose interests are similar to mine. We are going to a fibre art exhibit at a local University. The group exhibiting is "Articulation"--a well known and respected group of fibre artists who are starting to be known all across this part of the continent. I've heard that this exhibition is wonderful and I'm quite looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

African fabric

Some acquaintances gave me a big plastic bag of scraps fo African fabric. These are the very long, thin strips you get when you even off the edge of a large piece of fabric--most of them 1/4" or less wide and about 18 inches long. Nothing much was said, but the message I got was a sort of challenge--Okay, let's see what you can do with this!! So yesterday I took up the challenge. I started with a flat piece of black fabric and ironed some fusible web on it. then I carefully laid out the strips across the fabric, at an angle, and pressed them on. I sandwiched the fabric with Warm'n'natural and another piece of the same fabric, and machine quilted vertically about every 1/4". I cut out a small purse (FromQuilting Arts Six Pretty purses), added a zipper and sewed it together. I was very surprized at how thick and heavy the very close quilting made the fabric--it was almost too heavy for the machine. I'm well pleased with it, although it still needs some hand
finishing.

My Pfaff is in the shop. Trauma Time!! Private Pity Party!! But it is 6 years old, and has had some hard use. So I see the writing on the wall--time to start thinking about a new machine. I haven't been entirely happy with the Pfaff, but here are some features that I've become quite dependent on, such as the Intergrated Dual Feed and the needle threader. While it's away, I've been using an old Elna Carina Electronic--and I sure find it different. Sews like a dream, but no free motion work. Now, it will be quite awhile until I can save up enough to actually buy a new machine, but I can start comparison shopping, and seeing if there is any hope for my wish list. The Bernina is out of my price range--no question there, although it is probably the closest I'll get to my "Dream Machine". I like the thread holder that I've seen on t.v., that will hold several spools at a time, and upright at that. The machine I'm hearing the most about is the Husqvarna. So I think that is the first one to take a look at. But no rush, unless I win a lottery.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So many beads, So Little Time!

Sunday I spent with two friends sorting beads. I had been given a huge bag of Victorian jet beads, with a few others included, but many of them were still attached to bits of fabric, as they were originally parts of clothing. Between two of us we spent 14 hours de-constructing and sorting the beads. ( The whole bag had been looked over by a museum curator before I got it, so we weren't destroying any artifact of value) Many of them had been sewn to netting that was rotting. It was really hard to de-construct this and some of it will be left. We'll just cut out those beads to use as we need them. Some of the best beads were pastel, square cut beads we found on a fabric belt/girdle from the early 20th century. They are gorgeous!! The other thing we found was a multitude of tiny( really tiny!)sequins, that will be very useful in more contemporary beading projects.

And then yesterday, I re-visited the local bead store that is selling off their stock at 50% off everything. I picked up a few pieces for an African-inspired piece I have in mind, as well as a couple of grab bags. A lot of the grab bag beads, along with a few larger, less useful beads from the Victorian collection well be quite usefull for entertaining my DGD's when they visit.

The rest of my studio time has been spent trying to clear up the half-made projects that have been littering the place. I'm preparing the place for a full-out work session getting ready for the November sales. The bad news is that my sewing machine needs attention. I called the service centre, to negotiate taking it in and they told me that they are working on a 10 day turn around time right now. Say What!!? You've got to be kidding!! So today, I'm putting aside the less important projects and working on needle-felted collages, which all require a small amount of FMQ'g--something I can still do with the machine. I had been going to delay this task until I've been down to the States to pick up a bunch of cheap matts for the collages, but I need to have them finished and matted before the end of the month, and I can't afford to take any chances. Then the machine goes in late tomorrow, and the trip down south will be over the weekend and early part of next week.

I feel bereft even thinking of being without my machine, but I'm realizing that this is maybe a wake-up call for me. The machine is 6 years old and has had some hard use. I need to be thinking about replacing it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mood swings

Well, now I'm doing my happy dance. Yes, I did get juried into the big sale at the end of November. The deadline was extended, so I'm hoping it was a genuine jury process, and not a matter of them taking just about anyone who applied, because there were so few applicants. I don't care! The e-mail said that they would be getting back to individual applicants to sort out individual details. My fear is that they are going to ask me to apply for a retail sales tax license. But it's probably time. So the next 6 weeks will be busy.

Right now I'm working on finishing the sample hangings I had for the class that was cancelled. I'm trying out some different methods of beading with them, and so far I'm happy with the results. I'll post pictures as they're finished.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Disappointment

I found out yesterday that the class I was to teach in another city was cancelled due to lack of interest. Quite a disappointment to me, but, at least, I was told before I had invested a lot of $$ in supplies etc. I've also heard nothing about a juried sale I had applied for. We were to have been informed by October 2nd, so I'm guessing I was one of the rejects and will be getting a letter telling me so. This is how that organization works. For another sale, where I have frequently done well, I have been told that one of my best selling items doesn't have enough stitiching on it and will not be accepted. This is not turning out to be a good year. So now I'm reduced to one pending sale. Hope that one pans out.

Finally finished


Here is a picture of the piece I have been obsessing
aobut over the past three weeks. The title is
"Inua-Spirit in the Wind" I made it for the Fiber
Art Connection of Southern California Challenge "Inua"
The piece is about 22 by 33
, but, as you can see, is free form. I started with
white cloth and used paint sticks to colour it.
The green/black colour represents the colour one
sees in the depths of a solid piece of clear ice.


Here is a close-up showing the intense FMQ'g, and the holes that have been cut through the piece. Each hole was faced, cut and finishe don the wrong side. I then put on the back using an envelope technique. This means that I sewed the fabric , right sides together over the front, cut a slit in it and turned the whole thing to the back. I then cut out the holes and hand stitched the backing around the holes
Here is another close-up, again showing the dense FMQ'g.
This was a very intense piece. Once I had started, it was
as though I was possessed. I had to work it through.
I had tried a similar piece a couple of years ago, and it
went nowhere. I think I was too rigid in trying to make
my quilting lines regular and precise. I had to loosen up
quite a bit to get the effect I wanted. But I found it
very difficult to make the work look loose
and un-planned. A lesson to me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Artist's date?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to help set up a juried show of fine craft. The jury process is hard to understand. I've been told that, either the sponsoring organization, or the jury itself, usually has a vision of how a show can present a cohesive image or concept. Pieces are then selected on the basis of how they contribute to this image. I had trouble trying to figure out what that concept might have been with this show. The only answer I came up with was "variety", although, IMHO, the show itself was heavily weighted toward pottery. I suppose I'll never have an answer. I had applied for this show and was not selected. It's frustrating to know that my work is exhibited all across the USA through the travelling exhibitions of the Fiber Art Connection of Southern California, and across Canada through FAN, but has never been selected for a local show. Obviously, I'm doing something wrong. There are 6 fibre pieces in the show hung yesterday. and they are quite varied. Two quilted pieces, one of which is hand painted fabric, densly quilted, the other a raw edge applique piece organized into a triptych. There was a hand painted piece that had been hand embroidered, (very nice!), an embroidered piece that absolutely left me cold, and a three dimensional, hand crocheted and knitted piece that was downright weird, and could have used more technical skill.

I know that the two quilted pieces and the hand-painted embroidered piece were all made by people who tend to "follow their own star", so to speak--doing their own thing and exhibiting wherever and whenever they can. Perhaps I worry too much about local acceptance. Maybe I just need to try to produce the ideas that are in my brain. But if they are never seen, what have I gained by making them?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Obsession

I'm working on a piece right now that has taken over my life. For almost two weeks I've done nothing but work on this. I feel like I'm possessed. It is free form and, right now, a picture wouldn't do it justice. I am pleased, I am excited! What a fantastic experience!

I had a volunteer commitment yesterday, that required me to be in a facility--just be there. I knew that I needed a break for the piece I was working on ( see above), so took some beading. Several members of my support group took a beading class earlier in the month and have been very excited about it. Since I had the book, I started to work through it one technique at a time. I can see some real potential here. I doubt it will result in anything saleable, but the finished pieces will be very different, and perhaps, well worth exhibiting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Contrariness

After looking at the commitments I've made for the next few months, I withdrew my "Intent to Enter" for the Inua internet challenge. The deadline had been Sept 30 and I hadn't even started the piece. Once the deadline was gone and the pressure to produce gone, my creativity took over and the piece is now half finished. It might have been finished if I wasn't so fussy about how things look. I think I've done more reverse stitching on this piece than any other. Then I received notice that the deadline had been extended to January. I still haven't re-entered, but the thought is there. I've attempted this image before and hated the way it ended up looking. I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I made a mistake in this and realized that it actually improved the look. So what I had done to that point had to be removed ( free motion quilting by machine--ever tried to remove that crap?!) I love the new look and the sense of movement it gives the piece--that's what was wrong--the lack of movement and very static lines in a piece meant to represent wind. Duh-h-h!!

I'm also busy with two finishing commissions. One involves washing and blocking a huge piece of crewel on linen twill. Never again!! It is washed and has been blocked twice. I haven't inspected it, but hope I don't have to block it again. I know that it often takes more than one attempt to block linen twill, but my hands just can't do that sort of work. And doing it means that I can do no more hand work of any sort for the rest of the day. I'm also making a three dimensional door stop. These pieces have to be very heavy and firm, so require an armature and weights. I have the armature made, the twisted cord for edging made, and I've found the lead shot I use for weight. Now I have to put everything together.

DD has also given me a commission, but no money involved here. She has committed herself to making a backdrop for Santa pictures. She is very fussy about what is made, and how it's going to look. So now we are looking at screen printing( modified process) snowflakes on 6 meters of blue fabric. Oh Yeah! I'll just run that off in my spare time. Well, the fabric I do my trial run on can be used to make bags to hold the lead shot. Nothing is ever wasted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sale weekend

While my friends were all away at what seems to have been a fantastic beading workshop, I spent three days at an art show and sale that was held in conjuncityon with a large judged art exhibition. The purpose was to attract new members to our artists' cooperative, but market our stuff as well. Well, the sales weren't great, but it was a great chance to increase the visibility of our organization.

This was the first time I took collages that featured polymer clay buttons made by Pat Sernyk. There's no way I could ever produce the buttons she does. So I bought some and got her permission to use them in my work. they sold very, very well. So now, along with the journals, I have two items that sell well. This means more production before another sale.

During the quiet times at the sale, a friend helped me put together the CD I needed to apply to participate in the yearly sale of the Manitoba Crafts Council. I've never been in this one, and it has a fairly high profile, so I very much hope that my application is successful. They are planning to offer a "common till" arrangement--which I need to function legally. The show at Ft. Whyte, that I have participated in for the past four years, is dropping their "common till" as it just isn't profitable, so that may mean no sales for me after the end of November until next July. This won't necessarily be a bad thing, as I'll really need to concentrate on my teaching over the next few months. I'm toying with the idea of making a hand out card that is large enough to include some of the things I offer, such as teaching. I would like to have this ready for the class in Brandon in October. Something to think about.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall planning

It would appear that fall is here, and with that, all of my volunteer activities are heating up again, after a relaxing summer. This week I have come to realize that I have significantly over committed myself for the next few months. So today I sat down and wrote up a list of those commitments and tried to develop a time line from now until, about, March. WOW! Am I ever going to be busy! Already, household responsibilities have suffered, and that makes me uncomfortable, so I'm looking at my list and plan to regretfully withdraw from some things. A biggy will be actual work time in the studio. I have several classes lined up and those deserve equal time with the "make busy" stuff--if not a bigger share of my energy. I think that some times the "make busy" stuff is a way of procrastinating over the more difficult tasks. Time to sort myself out.

It's easy to say" today is the first day of the rest of my life", but we all have baggage dragging us down. The studio is full of little piles of stuff, each one representing a specific task that will need my attention over the next 6-8 weeks. Those are the visible deadlines I must address--and being visible they are much more compelling than the knowledge that there is a class October 17th that needs to be formally developed. I know what I plan to do--it is worked out in my head, but nothing on paper. The same for the two classes I'm commited to next May. This then is the "hard stuff"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tiger by the tail

The small collages with the polymer clay buttons are moving out as fast as I can make them. I even had a lady come to the house and buy one. All of these years I had dreamed of making something that people would actually seek me out for, and now it's happened! Both the journals and the collages are selling as fast as I can make them. I know the journals are a fad and the demand will probably die right off within the next few months, but the collages may actually be something with a future. I have an idea for a larger one, and would like to have one or two large ones for the sale this weekend. After this sale I have a "breather" until the next sale in early November, but there will be two more sales that month, so I really can't stop producing.

So be patient, I'll get back here when I can.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

quiet times

But I think it's the lull before the storm. The fall craft sales are quickly approaching. Was out to a small Heritage Day on the weekend, to promote the local artists' marketing co-op, but was allowed to take samples of my work along. They had us in a lovely little room, and we were all settled in and doing demo's, when we were inundated with smoke from the blacksmith, who was also doing demos. Smoke is a disaster for fibre people, and we moved ourselves out of the building as quickly as we could. We found a small grassy area just outside where we could still access power. Now, this year has been wet and cool. The ground is quite soft. So every where that we put a chair or table, it slowly sank into the soil! So the organizers found another area for us. We ended up in the middle of everything, with a lot more foot traffic, so were able to promote an upcoming event without any problems, but it was still soft enough that we couldn't sit down!

The end result is that all of my stock is now smokey, and my feet hurt. So the next few days will be spent trying to air everything out. Thank Goodness this week is supposed to be fairly nice, in terms of weather. We haven't had a whole week of good weather all summer, so my fingers are crossed. If I can't get the smell out, I'll have no stock for those fall sales I mentioned.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Re-invigorated

Last night was a meeting of my art quilt support group Ravenesque. The group has been floundering , to a certain extent over the past year, and I've been worried about it surviving. It is so very, very important to me. They inspire me, encourage me and keep my feet on the ground ( one of them DARED to mock my yo-yo's) We have had three new members join in the past three months. What a dynamic meeting it was last night! Two of them have been taking classes--something I haven't had time for lately--and had some of the results there. These aren't all quilting classes, as both of them have been taking some more "arty" classes from a local professional artist. These ladies are moving ahead in leaps and bounds. One can't help but find their enthusiasm contagious! One of the other new members had information on an art quilter/beader who will be visiting next month and has agreed to a private class. So now the class is full. Looks like Ravenesque will be beading for the next little while!

On the home front, I've kept working in the chaos that is my studio. Within the past few days I've put together three wall hangings and five small collages for matting. The machine work is finished on these and there is only the hand work and beading left to do. Now I have a quandry. Should I adhere to my work ethic and finish them, or start something entirely new? Since they will also be samples for a class I'm teaching in October, I think they need to be finished. I can work on this in the evenings and maybe do more machine work during the days. This has been my pattern for years, but now I have the additional challenge of so much mess that it's hard to find a flat surface to work on!

One thing we've done lately is to raise my work table by about 5 inches. This makes cutting etc so much easier on my back, that I'll never go back. But this limits the places where I can sit and work at a table, so over the next little while I'm going to have to change many of my work habits.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Best Laid plans etc

We've had a tremendous amount of rain this summer. And now we've had some water in the basement--just a little--coming from under the wall in my studio and running across the floor toward the main drain. so yesterday, DH decided that he wanted to find out what sort of problem we're looking at. So he started moving things away from the wall and taking down the panelling. this wasn't the right area and he is now working his way along thee wall, trying to find the spot where the water is coming in. Now, you have to understand that my studio is small, and every square inch is packed with "stuff". Over the years I've trained myself to keep everything in its place and to remember where everything is. The walls are lined with shelving units and bookcases and wheeled drawer units. I get terribly upset and frustrated if I loose track of something. Had I been warned, I could have systematically moved the stuff into other areas of the basement or even out into the garage, but he started work without telling me. Total chaos. When I work, I often work in assembly line style, or else I will gather everything I need for one project and place it in one of four special spots kept for just that purpose. ( don't ask--it works for me) Well, things are now just dumped wherever there was a flat space, even if that meant piling things up on top of one another.

Now, I know that this type of work can take weeks/months to finish. So I will be out of my studio for weeks. So here I am at 5:00am trying to figure out how I can impose some order on his work, how I can maintain a workable/liveable basement and hopefully still be able to access enough of the studio to keep me sane over the long term, and on top of it all, figure out where I'm going to find money for foundation repairs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shopping!!

Yes, I've been shopping. I found everything I had wanted, and a little bit more. I found a very nice quilt shop just west of Detroit Lakes--Front Porch Quilt Shop. It is huge, with just about anything a quilter could want, and the lady was very, very helpful.

So, over the past few weeks there has been very little actual work done in my studio. I have several new ideas, and the wherewithall to produce them, but need to find the time to actually do the work. One idea has been floating around in my head for about 3 years. I see many rock faces during my travels between home and the cottage, and I would like to re-produce one in fabric. I've taken many pictures over the years and even found pictures in old quilting magazines of pieces where someone has tried to do this. I had thought of using one piece of fabric and dyeing/painting over the print to create value changes. I've gone so far as to buy the fabric. Well, I saw the perfect rock face last week. The composition etc are just right ( I really didn't have much of an idea of what I was going to create as much as I had an idea of how I was going to create it) I have several pictures of the rock face and a show whose theme it will fit quite nicely. What more do I need to get me going--a kick in the seat of the pants, maybe.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fabulous weekend

The show in Sioux Narrows went well. I made enough over expenses that I plan to head to Fargo to visit Hobby Lobby. I've found that to be the best place to buy the chain I need to hang my wall pieces, and they have a gret bead selection, as well. In the past I've found some very nice quality quilting cotton there, but I'm going to wait and see what the price is. I found Heritage Quilting Cotton, in the colour I want, at Fabricland for $6.50/m, so would have to find the Kona Cotton for a comparable price, before I buy it.

The only "downer" to the two good sales I've now had, is that it was the smaller, less costly items that sold. In Sioux Narrows I didn't sell a single piece for more than $35.00. Mind you, my stock is almost depleted in that price range, but if that is what's going to sell, I'm going to have to produce quite a bit for the four sales I had planned to participate in over the next four months. This isn't why I do this! I need to sell to buy supplies for my more creative work, but I need the time to create. I really can't afford to spend time making "stuff".

The new booth configuration worked very well, and we'll be using that whenever we can. I would like to be able to make a better backdrop for my grid system, but this isn't a priority right now.

After the sale I spent a few days in Kenora with my sister. We actually drove almost all the way to Dryden to the Egli wool and sheep farm. I found dyed wool tops, and a white stranded wool both of which I plan to use in my needlefelting. The needlefelted collages were big sellers. I bought some polymer clay pieces and some hand made wooden buttons, in Sioux Narrows, that I plan to use as focal points in some of these collages. (I also got permission from the artists that made them to do that, with appropriate acknowledgement, of course. ) Then we spent time exploring local quilt shops, and found a new ( to me) one, that we quite liked. On our last day together, we spent the whole day making yo-yo's. We planned out a little hanging using them, but I may refine the design before I actually put it together.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No plans

I have no plans for any more studio work for the next couple of weeks. We are off to our cottage tomorrow, and while away will be participating in a very big Art/Craft sale. Wish me well!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Meltdown

I hit the wall yesterday. I reached the point where I just couldn't do another bit of sewing for the sale next weekend. I'm also having quite a bit of back pain, aggravated by the positions and movements of working in the studio. ( Yes, I know about ergonomics, and have spent some time applying principles to the studio--this isn't a new problem) There were a few tears, and my brain was fuzzy around the edges for the rest of the day, but I think it's time to stop.

So I'm going to take some time off. No more studio work for, at least, two weeks. I may do research, or I may work on class preparation, but I'm not going to spend any time responding to that obsessive drive to make more stock for the up-coming sales.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More fun, less work

A friend was over for a couple of hours yesterday. We spent a couple of hours playing in the studio with Lutradur, Kunin felt and Shiva Paintsticks. As a result we have challenged each other. She has left me with a small piece of cotton that has been oil painted and over painted with Seta-color fabric paint. In turn, she went home with a piece of fabric paper, and several jars of beads. Of course, the whole studio is a disaster, and I'll have to spend a couple of hours tidying up before I can work. I have set the goal of finishing, at least, 8 fabric paper journal covers today.

Better get busy --or maybe not. I have four days to be totally ready for the next big sale--the biggest of the season. We'll be heading out on Thursday, and, since we'll be away for almost a week, will have to spend Wednesday doing last minute shopping and packing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Re-purposing

I was sick at losing the six journal covers that I had made with the wrong measurements, so tried to figure out what could be done with them. I finally cut them up for post cards. I haven't made any postcards since last fall, and sold the last of the old ones last weekend. So this will be a quick and easy way to replenish that stock. I hadn't planned to make any more, but with selling them and realizing that I could get a much better return for my time if I sell them than I do for the journal covers, it was probably a good idea.

A friend is coming over this morning ( a quick phone call yesterday--Hi! I'll be there with coffee at 9:30 tomorrow) I recently bought a book on using Lutradur, so we'll be playing with that for a couple of hours--or, rather, she'll be playing while I finish post cards ( see above) She has recently moved and has yet to set up her studio, so I figure she must be in advanced withdrawl. I know I get "antsy" if I don't get into my studio on a regular basis. Later, I hope to get to Michael's. No--I don't need anything, but I have a coupon--so must spend money. Actually the book on Lutrdur recommends using soft gel medium for a variety of activities with the Lutradur, and I doubt my medium stuff would work as well. I've been experimenting with using gel medium and bakery paper to transfer wrting to fabric and/or fabric paper. It works very very well on white surfaces, but less well on coloured surfaces. I tried a couple of different strategies yesterday and left them over night to dry. We'll have to see how they worked out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time passes quickly

when you're busy. The sale went very well--so well, that now I have to work my butt off replacing the stock that sold. I had thought that there would be enough stock to cover the 7 sales I have between now and Christmas. I was wrong. So I waded in again on Sunday morning. By last evening I was well into it when I realized that I had been working with the wrong measurements. A day and a half's work down the tubes. So I forced myself to take a break, played a little internet poker, and then went back to it. DH is away this week and I have no distractions, so still hope to get a fair bit down.

At the same time I'm into preparing for a big family reunion for the August long weekend. We will have up to 9 guests at the cottage that weekend, so I'm busy making and freezing meals, since that's also the weekend of the biggest sale of the season.

For anyone who might be interested, it was mainly my small stuff that sold--most of it priced at under $35.00. So I need to sell volume, and this involves more labour costs. Somehow I need to create a market for my pricier stuff. I would rather sell a piece for $400 once a year than have to make and sell 20 smaller things. Food for thought.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scared silly!

Everything is ready for the first really big sale of the season. Everything I read on the internet says that the poor economy has meant disaster for the type of sale I particiapte in. But I know that most of the postings on my internet group come from the USA, so I'm hoping that the impact is a little less here. Now that everything is ready I get time to worry. Yesterday I found out that there will only be about half as many vendors as usual at this sale. We're in a huge gym, and I'm concerned that we will have a poor showing if there are only 7-8 booths there. But this could also be an opportunity. I contacted the organizer and asked if I could have a second table ( i.e. larger booth) No problem! So DH and I were out and bought additional display stuff and will be able to spend the next day or so organizing the larger booth. I'm wondering if I might be wise to take some hand work along. Not only does it fill in the quiet times but it can also attract attention. People love a demonstration!

Sorting through my stock yesterday, I decided to retire one of the hangings that I've not been able to sell over the past couple of years. It had several UTEE beads on it, and I can now use them in small pictures or on box tops. So bead-making is a little less urgent now. But I have 5-6 small trinket boxes that need embellishment. A good "take along" ptoject, and easy to set up.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thanks for a great framer

With the preparations for the up-coming sales, we've been into my framer three times in the past two weeks. He sure is great! Yesterday he helped us finish the backs of four little frames I had found at a garage sale. I had made four small pictures using a combination of needlefelting, hand embroidery and adding my hand-made beads. They look really great, especially with the lovely little frames. But putting the backs on was beyond our capacity.



I was pleased to actually get to use some hand-made beads that had a more "ethnic" appearance. These were started with rolled Tyvek that had been painted with metallic paint. I rolled two layers together with the painted side out. I wrapped them haphazardly with Kreinic metallic threads, and then zapped them with the heat gun, which melted the Tyvek, but not under the areas that had been tightly wrapped. The final appearance and texture worked very well with the needlefelting that had been done with wool and yarn. When I used silk roving and Throwsters silk waste, the UTEE based beads worked well. So overall, I ended up with a good variety in the pictures. I sure want to try this again, but it means haunting garage sales for small frames.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It never rains etc..

My sewing machine broke! I just had it recently serviced, but back we went to day for help. Thank Goodness they were to fix it. I just have to accept that this machine hates monofilament thread and will go on strike if I try to use it.

So I tried to print off some pictures of my work for greeting cards. Out of ink!

However, I found time to play today. Last weekend I bought four small picture frames at a garage sale. Today I made up four pictures to put in them. I needlefelted the background on three of them--actually got to use the Throwsters silk I had bought. Then I hand sewed on three hand-made beads on each of them. I glued each of them to matt board and they look quite fine! Of course, now I'm just about out of hand-made beads, and will have to have bead-making session. Yesterday I found small boxes on sale for $1.50. With a small embroidered insert--including a hand-made bead--I can sell them for $15.00. And they do sell--right now I have an order for a couple of them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


While trying to solve the puzzle of the meaning of life etc. I started working on a piece that has been in my mind for a couple of years. I bought the Japanese fabrics in Ottawa in 2006, and then added a couple of oriental-type fabrics from my stash. I was worried about value and added some plain ecru cotton that I had stamped with some of my hand-carved stamps. The center "river" is extensively FMQ'd, but this is a bigger piece than I usually do and I had a terrible time getting the thing through my domestic sewing machine, both for the FMQ'g and to sew down the various pieces of fabric in the background. As a result, you can see in the picture, that some of the pieces of fabric were skewed off angle--not a lot, but enough that you can see it. Now I'm faced with quilting the background areas. How?? I tried a couple of lines using a dark monofilament. It was really difficult to see the previous line and to try to push the quilt through with any degree of accuracy in trying to create pleasing line.
So I decided to relegate this to my crap quota, and move on. However--my support group has suggested that it could be re-purposed--after all there is a lot of $$ tied up in the fabric, if nothing else. Any suggestions?

Here is a close-up. I hope you can see all of the FMQ'g within
the red area. I used Sulky Blendables thread, and
would sure hate to try picking it out!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Whe-e-e-w!!

Have been working full out for the past few weeks. I had set a July first deadline to have finished all of my show stock for all of the summer shows. Did the last little bit of beading Wednesday evening. I just have three collages to mount and matt, but have to wait for the matts to actually finish them. I've ordered and paid for the matts, but they're getting awful expensive. I had bought some from a different dealer and was disappointed in the poor quality, although the price was right. Since I rely so heavily on presentation to sell mycollages, I guess I'll have to stay with the better framer, and maybe have to raise my prices.

Despite having stuff in three high profile shows and a gallery show, lately, I've not sold any of my serious work. This, of course, feeds my self doubt, so I'm wrestling with what I want to do with myself. My obsession with planning and preparing for the classes next spring, makes it difficult to focus on the things I really want to do. So I think the first decision I have to make is how important it is to me to make money with my craft/art. This will help me decided whether I want to pursue teaching. If I'm not making money by selling my craft/art andthe money is important then the teaching becomes a priority, whether that is where I want to be or not.

I know that the money is how I validate my work to myself. But how often on this blog have I ranted about, and wrestled with my own self-doubts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Matts

Took all of the sunprints and collages into the framer to get matts. They appear to sell so much better when they're properly presented. We chose coloured matts to suit each individual piece. Ca-ching! Ca-ching! $$$ But, hopefully, I'll get the money back when they sell. When I went in, all of the machine work was done but not the beading. The framer kept all of the pieces so that he could match each matt and piece, and make sure the right one went with each. I feel bereft! So now I have to find something to work on until I get them back in about a week. I had imposed a July 1st deadline on myself to have all of my show stock finished, but I guess I just have to be more flexible.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunprints

Boy, am I ever on a roll! The sunprints are almost all FMQ'd. The first two just weren't right, so I cut off as much of the hand painted fabric as I could salvage. I'll turn that into a collage, but the parts that were actually FMQ'd were garbage. Then, when I was looking for thread to FMQ the rest of them, I stumbled on my Sulky Blendables. WOW! Does it ever work well in the sunprints! They are much more subtle than before and, IMHO, much more pleasing. So today I embellish them. I think I'm going to try strategies other than beads on a couple of them.

Today on the internet, a lady was talking about how to wash painted fabric so that you don't lose colour. The secret is to minimize the agitation--wash on a gentle cycle and avoid the dryer. Well, gosh, I wish I'ld thought of that! Do I ever feel like a dummy!

Well, I've set a deadline of July first to have all of my summer sale stock ready to go. I may make it, although a stumbling block will be finding the $$$ to buy matts for all of the collages and sunprints. Making the bigger pieces first lets me use leftovers for the smaller pieces like the coffee cuffs and small purses--the best sellers. Then I have to spend time dealing with other aspects of my life, such as preparing for teaching--first class is in early October--and show entries. I'm very comfortable working with sunprints and collages, but, if I'm going to grow as an artist, I have to try more challenging things.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What a week.

Monday turned out to be my only day at home. Tuesday I suddenly had to go to Pinawa for a meeting about the formation of a regional arts council. While this would have no impact on me as an individual, as Chair or the Eastern Manitoba Artists' Co-0p,(EMAC) I needed to be there as a representative. Wednesday we helped hang the EMAC show at Cre8ery Gallery. Thursday ws the opening recpetion for the show, and I had to be there most of the evening. Then yesterday was a showing of the documentary film "Handmade Nation". I had volunteered to sell admissions. The film was about the DIY Movement in the USA. I had no idea that this weekend there was a "Do ItYourself" (DIY)festival in the city. The fact that attending Solstice celebrations was part of the festival made me a little uncomfortable. In none of the literature was there any indication of a spiritual component to the movement.

So today was to be my quiet day. Garage sale down the street and we found a little table that is just perfect to use with my needlefelter. This would allow me to leave the needlefelter up and ready to use all the time. So this afternoon was spent re-organizing my entire studio to accomodate the little table. It's been awhile since I worked as hard as I did today! But, it was probably time for a general clean-up in any case.

All of this activity has psyched me up, so once the needlefelter was in place I started working on the latest set of matted collages. They should be pretty well finished inthe next day or so, but then I'll have to buy matts for them--$$$. Then it will be on to the sunprints I made last week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sun! Finally!

with very low wind, a perfect day for sunprinting! I tried a couple with paint that had been diluted last November, and they were quite pale when wet, so I threw out the paint. I know it's only supposed to be good for --at most--six months once it's diluted. But--I couldn't just let it go. So I put 2 or 3 colours in a pot and submerged a piece of fabric. Then repeated the sequence until all of the paint was gone. On put each piece out with a leaf mask to sunprint, and they look quite fine. I tried a finer grade of salt this time and I really don't like the results so I won't do THAT again. I've heard that , when they are dried in the sun, there is no need to heat set. Better safe than sorry, so they will all be heat set with the iron before I wash them. Now I just have to hope that I can make myself wait a couple of days before they get washed. Ten pieces altogether, as I have a couple of clean-up cloths as well.

These may not all end up processed and matted for sale. I'm teaching a course in this process next spring, so I think a couple of the painted pieces may end up embroidered to use as class samples.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quilters' Picnic

Our LQG had a picnic today. Along with the picnic there were "garage sale" tables for members. I took quite a bit of fabric, and got rid of about half of it. Sold some patterns and threads, even sold a couple of my Journal Covers. Now I've got an e-mail from someone enquiring about the rest of the fabric, so it may turn out to be a better day than I had thought.

Did some basic collages with the embellisher yesterday. I've beaded some of them, but there are a couple that I think will do better with added "silk" flowers, and some FMQ'g. I had bought some cheaper matts, but didn't have any pieces with me, so picked a colour that was slightly "off". Had to juggle a bit to make up stuff to go with them, but I think I'll have about five 8" x 10" collages. The embellisher makes them up in about half anf hour--about 1/3 of the time needed when I do them with the sewing machine. I still have to finish them by hand, so the time is in them, and I will charge the same price for them, regardless. I'll try for a picture as soon as I have them mounted.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ar-r-r-gh!

Sewing machine is in trouble. So today it goes in for servicing. I had four pieces lined up for FMQ'g, and started getting skipped stitches with the first one. I had a hunch the time had come as it had been behaving poorly lately, so off it goes. If it hadn't been sending signals before, I might have tried other strategies such as adjusting thread and such. I was using a pre-wound bobbin, which has a much lighter thread than the 30wt Sulky I had on top. I think in future I'll use regular cotton thread with the Sulky. But I didn't want to change part way through the project, as that would mean adding a false back.

This may mean that I can take some time to play with my embellisher. I haven't touched it in awhile, as my skills aren't good enough to produce saleable product. I can maybe play enough to get some pre-work done that I can FMQ when the Pfaff comes home.

It's also time to make some collages. I haven't done this in ages. I scheduled to teach collage class in October, so some new examples would be in order. Time to start preparing class notes etc. as well

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Help Please

Here is a picture of the type of hanger \i'm looking for. The actual width can be anywhere from 14: to 24", but I'm looking for lengths between 15" and 22". The little end pieces screw off and the chain is slipped over the rod using a plain ring. These used to be sold to hang embroidered pieces, and I used to be able to get them in a local embroidery shop. The owner told me that the wholesaler she had bought them from no longer carried them. She has now retired, and can't help me anymore.

Catch of The Day-Lake Trout

Catch of the Day-Lake Trout is the first of the fish prints that I've finished and actually plan to show in public. This will be going to the EMAC gallery show at Cre8ery next week. The background fabric is hand dyed using a low water immersion process.


Here are 13 of the mixed media joiurnal covers I've made in the last few days. I'm glad the job is done, and I hope to sell some of them during the three sales I have scheduled for this summer.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Knit Bombing

has hit Winnipeg. There was an article in yesterday's paper about it, and the poor tree on Main St. that had been knit bombed. As it happens, the knitters have been busy for several months at a monthly meeting at a local artists co-op group, and yesterday was another scheduled meeting. They stockpile their knitting until there is enough to knit bomb something. As a result of the newspaper article, there were several people new people show up. So here we are, about 7 ladies very busily knitting away, and me working on the binding of a little quilt. This co-op is a formal group actually called Mentoring Artists for Women's Art (MAWA), and has proven a good contact for me.
Yes, "Hidden Depths" is now finished, and "Catch of the Day-Lake Trout" is finished to the point of hand stitching the binding on the back. Once that's done, I'll post pictures.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sidetracked

back to my fish prints. Started a big one yesterday. The FMQ'g went well, but I had to get out and buy a special thread for the background quilting. A friend came by yesterday and told DH that she liked what I had done so far. I've arranged to put it into a show a a local gallery, so I better get it finished asap. Today will be dedicated to book work. My office is getig backed up so a clean-up and sort day is indicated. DH is away for most of the day, so I won't have to fight over the computer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ravenesque

met here lst night. This group is a real support to me in my creative life. There were only three of us at the meeting, and two of us worked on crafty stuff rather than arty stuff--but the bills have to be paid,and that takes donkey work. One lady told us how much success she is having selling things from her blog. She has a Paypal account, which helps tremendously, but her prices are generally quite low. I never thought of selling off the blog, but I'll have to give it some thought.

Earlier in the day I had tried something I had heard about on the internet--using alcohol to modify Sharpie inks on fabric. I did two experiments. With both, I stretched fabric on stretcher bars before sketching a primitive design with the three colours of Sharpie I had in the house. With the first one, I leaned the stretched piece up against a wall and sprayed it with the alcohol. It took a lot of alcohol before I say any change, but once the change started it took over, and I lost control. All of the inks ran downward, and blended, leaving a strange piece. So I decided to try with a flat piece and far less alcohol. Worked in theory, but my spritzed didn't cooperate and I got too much alcohol on, again. So I want to try a third piece, but with much more control of the amount of alcohol I use. Have to buy the alcohol first, and maybe a package of several different colour Sharpies--and use a different spritzer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Donkey work

Spent yesterday working on journal covers. I made the fabric paper some time ago, but just started processing it now. I'm finding that I can make about 3 journal covers a day, as long as I have a high tolerance for mess in the studio. I have to have all of the embellishments, the felt etc visible for the creative process. I'm finding that I want to add a coat of gel medium to each cover. This means that I have finished, but wet covers spread all over. They dry quickly, but I don't want to stack them in case they are soft enough to stick to one another.

Today the mess is working against me. Ravenesque, my art quilt support group may be coming here tonight, so the studio needs to be tidy enough that we can all find a place to sit. In my internet groups there is conversation about using Sharpie pens to decorate fabric and then adding alcohol , which changes the ink in some way. No-one is saying exactly how the ink is changing, but I'm curious. So today I want to get some alcohol and find out. It would be neat ot have something like that for Show'n'Tell if Ravenesque actually shows up.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bad morning

I typed in a very long post about my creative angst. Published it and went to look--then realized that I had put it on the wrong blog--and it certainly couldn't stay where it was!

I did the embellishment on Hidden Treasures yesteday. I don't think I should have bothered. I'll take another look at it today, but I believe I'll just have to consider this a learning experience and move on.

The Fiber Art Connection of Southern California has issued another challenge. We are asked to create a piece inspired by "Inua: The Spirit of Life". While Inua is a Northern diety, it has moved me into the Native American concept of all things in nature being inter-related and each individual plant or animal having a role to play in the life of every other plant or animal. This lead me to more ancient beliefs, and finally to the concept of the Mother Earth/Earth Mother. and the Triple Goddess-maiden, mother and crone. A symbol of this concept is the triple helix--but try to find a picture!! This has really captured my attention and I think I'm going to pursue it.

But there is still the need to produce and sell to keep myself in fabric and paint. Awhile back I made up a "to do" list of things needed for sales this summer. While I want/need to work on the "arty" things, the more mundane still need to be done. So I guess I'm looking at a week or so of "Donkey work"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Morning Sky


Here are two images of the box "Morning Sky". The colour is lighter than shown here. Tucked along the edge of the rusching are tiny pieces of red agate chip beads, as well as warm red/gold seed beads. I'm trying to imitate the rising sun reflecting off the bottom of the clouds. The box top is finished, but I'm just at the point of placing the rusching in the parts that will become the body of the box.

Goldeye


Here are the pictures of the three Goldeye. As you can see, even with the FMQ'g, the three fish really aren't visible. I'm thinking of callingthe piece "Hidden Treasure", in hopes that the future embellishment will draw people in, and then they might see the fish hidden behind, what will be, sea weed.
On the left is the back view, and I don't really think you can see the FMQ'g any better.

Long time coming

I had no idea it had been so long since I've been here. I'm working on two projects right now. The yellow box has been named "Morning Sky". Progress is slow, as I'm working entirely by hand, but I'm taking pictures as I go along and will post some as soon as I can. The other project is one of the fish prints. I wanted to play with one before starting the more important ones, so I've FMQ'd the piece with the three Goldyeye prints on it. I'm going to embellish and turn it into a small hanging. The prints were poor and there was very little value contrast between the print and the background. ( Lesson Learned--pay attention to value before you put paint to cloth) The FMQ'g helped a little, but the result really isn't great. This piece will just stay in my collection as a"poor" example. I'll try to get pictures of both projects up this weekend.

My classes in Photoshop Elements continues. I have more confidence in using photos but I'm really not sure how this will ultimately reflect in my work.

Last evening I attended a "salon" with the Manitoba Crafts Council. Five highly respected artists spoke of their love for craft and the role craft has played in their lives. I would have thought that this group would have reconciled within their own minds the interweaving of the meanings of "craft" and "art", but the debate obviously continues, as each of them mentioned it in some context.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fish prints


Here are the workable fish prints I made yesterday. There were
four more. Two of the rejects were from the smaller Goldeye, and printed on a batik. Those really didn't come out well. I think I'll use them to practise on before trying to work on the ones in the picture. The other two that you don't see here were of the larger fish but printed in bright yellow on darker fabric. They barely show up at all ,but show up enough that the fabric can't be used for anything else. A waste of perfectly good hand-dyed fabric! The three partial fish in the picture are printed on a commercial Fossil Fern fabric and I can think of a lot of use for them, for sale goods. The orange/pink and blue fish will be used for my challenge piece.

Yellow box

This was going so very well. My edges stitches were almost perfect--the best I've ever done. I got the ruching sewn on and then started the beads. Some of my stash just didn't work, and when I pared it down, I just didn't have enough. It looked cheap and contrived. So I spent the evening taking off all of the beads that had been there, and the ruching as well. I now have a different idea of how to proceed with this. I'm not sure whether to work on this today or play with my fish prints. Maybe a bit of both.

I spent some time with Photshop last evening. Either I was too tired, ( a good bet!) or I'm totally confused about the program ( probably). I finally decided that I was just too tired and further work would just end up leaving me totally frustrated.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Today I've been fish printing. I've never done it before and was unsure of how to proceed, but it turned out to be fairly simple. First you get a fish. I chose to use a huge lake trout, since it was the only whole fish I could find. It was in a plastic bag, and I was so disappointed when I took it out to find that the tail was actually in two pieces and I wouldn't be able to print a whole tail--but I can fake it with FMQ'g



Then you have to pick your fabric. I purposely chose fabrics that could be used to create an analogous colour scheme, as I want to use the fish print in a small challenge I'm involved in.








Then you have to put paint on the fish. I used a small foam roller,
(ever try to take a picture of yourself working?), and Setacolor Fabric Paint, undiluted. I used a couple of different colours and on one print used two coloours onthe roller at the same time-side by side


Next you gently cover the fish with your fabric and gently smooth it over the surface of the fish to absorb the paint.







As carefully as possible pull the fabric off the fish and you have your print. Again, it is isn't perfect, and I'll have to "tart" it up a bit with FMQ'g and thead work




I did quite a few--enough to keep me busy for a couple of weeks. I would try it again. This time I used real fish (guess what I'm having for supper), but I have a couple of wooden fish sculptures and would like to try those, if I could be sure that the paint would come off afterward. I've heard of it being done with rubber fish, but Ihave no idea where to get one of those.

























Sunday, May 17, 2009

Frustrations!

I've assembled most ofthe stuff I need for the yellow box, and fogured out how I think I need to put it together. I need to finish the edges of the sections of the top before I start to bead, but I didn't have the perle cotton I needed. I phoned both of the stores in town that carry it. One didn't have the colour I wanted but the other told me she did. While we were on the phone I heard her checking the drawers. So off we went, all the way across town, a half hour drive each way, and longer in construction season. She didn't have it. I asked what she had meant when she told me she did, and she held up a totally different colour and nymber and said "I thought this was what you asked about" I tried to be patient, and responded that there was a second colour that might do --colour number 3047. You have to realize that I was holding the fabric--a pale yellow silk--in front of us as we spoke. So she reaches up and pulls out colour number 346--a brick red. Now I'm getting a little "testy" So I went to the right drawer for 3047, but they didn't have it. ( I once worked in this store and knew my way around) So I asked if I could see the DMC colour chart to see if there was another colour we could use. She wasn't sure what chart I wanted and gave me one for tapestry wool. At this point another customer spoke up-and not in a pleasant voice--saying "not that. She wants perle cotton" The clerk then pipes up with " well, what's that?" I lost it and said that it looked like I should shop somewhere else, and that I certainly wouldn't be back. This clerk has worked inthis store for almost a year. So I went to the other store, the one that didn't have the colour, in hopes that she might order it in for me. While we were there she let me rummage through what she had, and I found the perfect colour.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Plugging along

most of the hand sewing is done. Still a bit of binding on Moonglow. I pulled out all of the yellow ruching that I was working on a few months ago. I have some Duipionni Silk that it matches quite nicely, and some beads. I need perle cotton for the edging and to put it together. I think it will be a casket-shaped box, and I'm trying to figure out the techniques needed to have the ruching and bead on more than one surface. I don't know if my hands will be able to bead through the Flexi-firm interfacing that I need to use to stiffen the whole thing up and support the weight of the beads. I want to find some other beads that are slightly different in value. today might be a good day to try stitching through Flex-Firm as my hands are quite sore from all of the hand sewing yesterday.

I've been selecting fabric for the fish printing. I want to take pictures as I go along so that I can post them here, but the actual printing won't be until Monday

Friday, May 15, 2009

Deadlines

are catching up to me. I have two hanging to get in the mail in the next two weeks and they both need to have their hanging sleeves changed--and that's all hand work. Both Chaos Theory and Baby Hoard Dragon are off to travel the USA for a couple of years. I hope they do well. I doubt that anyone will actually buy them, but who knows. Red Box is finished, and the markings are not nearly as bad as I had thought. It's been re-titled Tree of Knowledge. I'm still going to get started on a new box, as there is another, higher profile, show with a July deadline that I could enter it in, if it isnt finished by mid-June. I'm still trying to come up with a title for the golden circles on black piece. My sister thinks it resembles moons--maybe as seen from Jupiter--so I'm auditioning moon-themed titles--and leaning toward MoonGlow.

But yesterday I bought a fish. Yes--I'm going to try fish printing. Finding the right fish is a problem, but I have a lovely lake trout. It's far bigger than I had anticipated, but the choice was that or a very small Goldeye--so I bought both. Guess I'll be eating fish for the next week. I plan to try to develop a piece around a fish with an analogous colour theme for a challenge I'm involved in. The deadline isn't until October, so I have lots of time to plan it all out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Changes afoot!

The time has come to make some changes here. I think this would be better as a blog more dedicated to my fibreart, and everything associated with that part of my life. My sisters and I now have a more private, family related blog, where we each be able to contribute. I thank those who have been following here, and hope you will continue to do so. I welcome comments and advice about my artistic work, and would love to be able to communicate with anyone with similar interests.
Pat F

Monday, May 11, 2009

Name this piece



This is the latest quilted hanging. It's trimmed and blocked, and ready for binding. I tried every way I could to get the lines in the circles vertical. I measured and twisted etc., and was sure I had them right, but when I looked in the picture, I saw how off vertical one of them is. I had quite a time quilting this one as well. It's quilted in vertical lines about 5/16" apart. In the black I have the outlines of small circles, just for visual interest. Every time I came to a circle, I had to stop sewing and tie off the ends. Then when I started again there was another place to tie off. I won't ever enter it in a show, but I really like it.







While I couldn't find an apple, I did find small filigree beads in both gilt and silver. Adding three of them on the left side re-balances the piece. I've actually added them with stems made of a chain of seed beads.
Here is the embroidered box top for Red Box--tentatively re-titled Tree of Knowledge. As you can see it is a little skewed to the right, which was never my intention. So I searched all over the city for a small charm shaped like an apple--no luck.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gotta do this fast!

We are having some real problems with our internet access. We've finally traced it down to the modem, and Shaw will be sending someone out Tuesday to fix it. Now, someone is coming out Monday to fix the phones, which aren't working either! We're really finding out what it means to be "out of touch". But this all results in my not being able to play poker. Can you imagine a worse fate??
So I've been in the studio. The Red Box is at the put it all together stage. I was mounting the sides of the bottom of the box onto stabilizer and found---OMG--What the H--- is this?? The markings won't come out! I don't have enough fabric to re-make them, and the show is June 17th. @#%&%*##. So I'm going to put it together, as I had planned to use it as a teaching sample after the show. If I work very, very hard, maybe I can get another one done for the show. My black circle hanging is quilted and blocked. Now it just needs binding. The title "Golden Jet" keeps coming to mind, but I know that refers to something else entirely--some hockey player (LOL) So any suggestions for a title would be welcome. I have pictures, but won't be able to get them up for a day or so.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ugh!!

Mammogram yesterday. 'nough said! Also had to take the car in. Hopefully we're going to get the problem of the horn honking off and on during the night fixed. It could be quite expensive, even with the extended warrantee, and we had to get some saved before taking it in. I have real hopes that they'll discover that the problem is covered.

Hope to spend time in the studio today, but DH already has a list of chores to be done, and every joint in my body hurts. The forecast is for snow today or tomorrow. We have the patio tomatoes in the garage for protection, but I'm thinking we may end up with them in the house if it gets much colder. I'm gearing up for a quiet weekend, which translates to time in the studio. DD and her children will be here for supper on Sunday, and I still done't know what we'll be eating. My cooking has really gone down the tubes over the past couple of years. Now I just worry about fast and easy. I think cooking skills are like any other skills--use it or lose it! But I bought mangoes! Love mangoes! Don't know how to do anything but cut them up and eat them--doesn't get any faster and easier than that!

Computer class remains a horror. Tried to do some work yesterday, and got all screwed up. Now it's too late to get my money back. However--ta da--it looks like the government is going to be forced to refund a speeding ticket I got last summer. The only speeding ticket I've ever received. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Feedback says---

that you want more pictures on the blog. Somehow, I can't see that anyone could get excited of pictures of me, but what do I know? Having said that, I should have taken pictures last night of my quilting group, Ravenesque, while they were here. There was some great "Show'n'Tell"!! My homework for my Elements class is to take four pictures, and I have to do it by tommorrow evening. The camera is ready, but my brain isn't in gear yet.

The discussion during the Ravenesque meeting was interesting. We all seem to be at a crossroads in life. Some of us are making small changes, such as learning ASL for use in the workplace, another is in the process of retirement, and all that entails, including a household move. Yet another is mourning the loss of a friendship, and all of the navel-gazing that can accompany and/or follow such an event. I wonder how this will be reflected in our work?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Strategies

Yesterday we tried the diversion strategy. We ended up tending to all those errands that aren't important enough to actually make time for. I ended up at the framer buying bits of matt board to use in my box making. I also found some black, pre-cut matts that I can cut in half diagonally to use as viewing frames. And then we talked about fish. I want to try some fish printing, and we were wondering where to find a fish. So DH has taken on the chore of finding me at least one fish by May 18th. For what I have in mind, I would prefer two fish, one larger than the other, but, while Manitoba does have a fishing industry, I think it is more wholesale, and processed frozen fish. And certainly there is no question of going to the docks as the ice isn't off the lake yet. So this should keep him busy and off the streets for awhile. And, a miracle--- DH is actually going to a retirement dinner for an old friend tonight.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Still tired

I've been reading over some of my recent posts and I think my depression is obvious. So--what to do about it. Last time I felt this way, I wore red for a couple of days, but I have to wonder if that just chased it underground--so to speak--and it just keeps coming to the surface. I haven't really been creative for almost six months--time to get my act together. Over the past few days, I've been trying to make little stump-work leaves by machine. It's not going really well, but I have almost enough leaves now for the project I have in mind, although I think my machine now needs servicing. So today I'm going to actually try to start putting the box together. Wouldn't it be great to have it done for my Ravenesque meeting Monday?

My Photoshop class was quite intense this week. I learned things about my camera that blew me away. Homework is to take 4 photos, and record all of the data associated with them. I figure this will take me most of one day--although others may get it done in 20 minutes. So, even though I may not learn a lot about Photoshop, I am learning about my camera.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And two steps back--

One of my volunteer jobs has blown up in my face, and I'm not very happy right now. Obsessing over things I said and did and not sleeping at all. The dust still hasn't settled, and it might be awhile before I get back here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Foggy day!

No, not the weather, but in my brain. I did get the basics of the meal done,and the kitchen tidied, but then I had to nap. Taking a nap at 11:00 am just doesn't seem right! But I got to my meeting, got home, and took another nap! We enjoyed the children visiting. The little one is now big enough to react to her sister and sibling rivalry is alive and well in that family. Best of all, DD took a lot of the stuff in my garage home with her, for a garage sale she has planned for next month. Earlier in the day, DH had been working inthe garage, when a neighbour came into the yard to talk about a joint fence that is going to be replaced. The neighbour saw the big brass and glass etegere in the garage and bought it immediately. So the little ones went home, and we were both beat (despite the naps), so we spent the rest of the evening playing Internet poker, and both came out ahead. Not a bad day.

Today, I have a lot of book work to do for a couple of the volunteer groups I belong to. There has also been a new quilting challenge issued--to create a smaller piece inspired by Inua: Exploring theSpirit of Life. Inua is an Inuit belief that there is one principle spirit that exists in all things, animate and inanimate--I think. Research need here. I have a lot on my plate right now, and I'm not sure about this one, but I'll be thinking about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More red box

Couching this metallic thread is pretty intense work, so I'm having to pace myself carefully. If I work too long I start to get sloppy, and it shows in the finished product. I've got half the naked tree done. I have some dimensional leaves ready, but, looking at how the tree is shaping up, I realize that I'm going to need quite a few done in gold, not just the red I've got so far. Making the leaves is just as painstaking work as the tree, so I can see that this will be a slow project.

At the same time I'm making fabric paper. I decided to make up quite a bit of it, and stockpile it. The paper-making process takes two or three days for each batch, so it isn't anything I could put together at the last minute, if I should need more stock for a sale So far I have 15 pieces, each about 11 x 16, in a bunch of different colours, but I'm going to need some larger ones for different projects, as well.

But a busy day today. I have a meeting out of town this afternoon, so have to get as much of supper ready this morning as I can, as DD and the grandbabies are coming for supper tonight. I had hoped to sleep longer, as I like to be fresh when the children come, but no such luck.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

YES!!!

I tried a new (to me) technique yesterday, and it's working! I'm actually couching by machine in a specific pattern. In this case it's oneof my bare trees. I drew it out on paper, made a template and transferred the markings to a piece of fabric. Now I'm laying down a fairly fine metallic thread to fill in the pattern, just as I would if I was hand couching Japanese Gold. This will, hopefully, be a box top for the show I've entered in mid-June. I plan to construct this box in the manner I'll be teaching in 2010, so this could also function as a teaching sample. I plan to make another box using a different method for the juried show in July--the one I just heard about this week.

We were out for dinner last night to celebrate my DGD's 10th birthday. DH and I went early to get our name on the waiting list as the restaurant didn't accept reservations. We were told that there would be a 25-35 minute wait. So DH sat down with a little electronic gadget that would page us, and I went across the parking lot to a clothing store. We weren't expecting the family for at least 20 minutes. Well, I got back in about 10 minutes, and met the family just coming in. DH was standing on the far side of the restaurant holding down a table for six, and worried silly that we wouldn't make it. They had seated him in about 10 minutes. A very nice dinner, and then back to the house for cake. They had a fully chocolate Jeanne's cake. I'ld never seen one before. It was almost too much. My DGD had given up chocolate for Lent, and I guess this was in honour of that sacrifice.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It must be that time of year...

I'm feeling overwhemed by all of my volunteer obligations. Everything seems to come to a head about this time of year, and the responsibillities just make me want "out". I'm also finding that my ideas often are 90 or even 180 degrees from the ideas of others. For a long time I thought this meant that I was an original thinker, but now I wonder if I'm not just weird. Anyway, today is just a private pity party.

I'm not getting my sewing done, and really need to get back to it. So often I procrastinate by doing what I want to do at the moment instead of what needs to be done. Now I have deadlines looming. As well, I found out about another local show that Iwould very much like to enter, although I have nothing to enter at this point.

But for the past few days every joint in my body hurts, including my hands. Weather? Over use? DS showed me a game on my lap top and I played that for two hours the other night. Intense mouse usage. That may explain the hands. And all that standing at the show last weekend may explain the knees and hips. Even so, I managed to get out and do 2 1/2 k on the bike yesterday. First ride of the year. I also read three pocket books. I bought a huge bag full of crappy novels at the local library, and I'm working my way through them.

I guess others have much worse lives than I do. I should count my blessings, but Iwant to enjoy my pity party first.