Monday, July 29, 2013

Back into production

Have been buying supplies, getting ready to go into production.  I already have a couple of hangings in progress, and I hope to have one ready for beading by Thursday, when we travel to the cottage for about 5 days.  Space limitations, and the presence of young grandchildren, mean not taking along the sewing machine, so I hope to have a good selection of handwork to take along.

Today was a good day in terms of supplies.  For a couple of years I have been wanting to introduce cabochons into my beading, and have been looking for someone to make some for me, without much success.  I thought I had someone.  I was told that if I could produce a pattern, she would be happy to make some for me.  Yeah, sure!  When I actually showed up, pattern  in hand, she found every excuse in the book not to do it.  I very quickly realized that the basic truth was that she just didn't want to do it. This made me determined to find someone. I next approached the Manitoba Crafts council, who referred me to one of their members--June Derksen.  A very gracious lady, she let me explain exactly what I wanted, and determined how flexible my ideas were.  She then gave me a tour of her studio, and we selected a piece of glass to work with--different but more exciting than my vision. She reviewed the process with me so that I could understand how the cost might change depending which options I chose.  Finally a price was negotiated, and the deal made.

I an SO excited!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This weekend was the  "Big Sale".  For the first time in several years, we had huge crowds, as the sale was part of the 50th Anniversary of a small local town.  This town has a highly educated population, and a high median income level. These people buy art, and I have sold several larger pieces in the 7 years I have been there for what is an annual  ART, but not craft, sale.

My husband and I set  up two side by side booths, one for him to sell the older stock that had been reduced in price, and one for me to sell the more recent pieces.  We were run off our feet.  This is the first time DH has actually participated in the selling activity.  In the past he has acted as a cashier, sat in someone's booth, for security, while they took a short break, or even acted as a "gofer" for anybody involved in the sale.  ( I jokingly refer to him as my "roadie")  But this time he had to get out on the floor to "flog the wares".  I just couldn't deal with the volume of customers on my own.   For the first time ever, I was able to accept credit cards, and what a difference that made!

When the dust had settled, we had sold just about every wall hanging I had there, including the pricier ones, and even a couple that never made it to the display.  My lower priced items are pretty well cleaned out.  Wooden boxes with hand embroidered inserts-gone.  ( I have been trying to sell those for 15 years)  I had known that I would have a chance to talk to the owner of the LQS, and had taken along a teaching sample of machine trapunto and FMQ'g--very, very traditional work ( my design, however).  Another vendor saw me showing it to the store owner over to one side of the room and rushed over, cash in hand, saying--"I want that".  A second vendor approached me just before we opened the second day and purchased a small tote bag, then danced ( yes,-- danced) around the room showing it off.  Artists were buying my art!

As with many sales, there was some down time.  This is when you have a chance to talk to other vendors.  Several of the conversations turned to why it was that we got so excited about making a sale.  When someone actually puts down money for our art, it is a validation of our identity as artists.  So many of us have trouble seeing ourselves as having value as artists, and this external validation has a tremendous impact on the way we view ourselves.  Over the past 24 hours, I have been trying to reconcile my intellectual understanding of this, with my emotional internal inability to believe it.  But so many customers openly told me  "I've never seen anything like this!!", I now have to accept that my work is unique and has artistic merit

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Willow Tree finished

Yes, finally.  Here is the full view of the piece. It ended up about 20" by 30", and is faced rather than bound.  Since I wanted to emphasize the wide open spaces of the prairies, I felt that any sort of binding would provide a firm frame that cut off the idea of infinite space.

  The trees were thread painted using Superior Fantastico in a variegated brown for the main colour.  I then added highlights with Fantastico in variegated beiges, and low lights in Sulky #30 in a matt brown.  Here is a close-up.  The highlights and low lights sure made a difference in adding depth to the trees.

The final step was in free motion quilting the snow in the foreground.  I tried several patterns that I have been using for years, taken from photos I took years ago.  Nothing seemed right, but then I went to a Leah Day design called Lava Rocks, and, some minor modifications, it worked very well.  I'm quite pleased with the result.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Willow Trees

Lately, I've been working on a hanging featuring Willow Trees, with a working title of Prairie Wind Break. After a bit of research i was ready to start, but had to delay a bit while I figured out how to mark my images onto the fabric. I knew it would be fmq'g/thread painting, so that meant some stabilization to prevent gathering and rippling. So I layered the fabric, stabilizer, and then batting.  I machine quilted the sky, and added fabric to create a horizon line.

Next, I sketched out the entire scene, full size, on paper.  Full size allowed me to blend entwine the branches, as I wanted the trees very close together, and allowed me to measure and gauge the relative positions of the trees--and to do it in pencil, with an eraser in hand.  Finally, I transferred position marks to the fabric with water erasable pen.

Next, I traced each individual tree onto tracing paper, again with the positioning marks.  Then, one at a time, I carefully, positioned my tracing paper, and carefully a securely taped it into place.  Then, stitching through the paper, I fmq'd the basic outline of each tree.  The biggest and worst part of the process turned out to be removing the paper after each tree was stitched.

Here is the third tree stitched and ready to have the paper removed, and the 5th tree in place ready for stitching.

Once the thread sketching is finished,  the next step is to do the thread painting, but that will have to wait until the thread I ordered arrives.  I tried to order it from my LQS, but, no luck and no stock and a bunch of attitude.  I would prefer to support local stores, but sometimes they make it difficult.

I also have a preliminary picture of the latest Shibori piece.  it is pieced and quilted,but no yet bound.  I am very pleased with this, as I managed to do all of the quilting with no mares nests on the back of my piece.
And a close-up.
Prior to starting this, I had forgotten doing leaf prints over top of Shibori dyeing.  I am very anxious to try more of this.