Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Time for Something New

While slaving away on the recently finished piece, several ideas and images came to mind.  So I'm taking a bit of time to try to get them onto paper.  This means a bit of research on things like "The Green Man", and "The Whore of Babylon".  Pleasant topics I'm sure ( Snort!)  Google Images, sure helps.  Not sure where this will take me, but it will be pursued.

I've also spent some time talking to a friend who is an art Photographer.  She had one piece that bothered me. It was, basically, the view, through rain on a window, of a pine tree. The tree was in soft focus, as she wanted the clear focus to be on the image of the rain. She gave me a print, which I brought home, and worked with using a viewing board ( a square hole in a piece of cardboard)  By moving the board around I finally found two areas where the image of the rain became primary, by muting or eliminating the shape of the tree, but retaining the colour and shading. Now I'm wanting to translate this into fibre.  

Yesterday, I put together a pattern to use with the dyed wool roving and fused glass button. that I bought at the recent Fibre Festival.  I've added some chip beads of yellow jade, and anticipate a finished size of about 12" by 12".

Two more ideas are still in my head, as I just can't pin down the sort of image that could result from them.  But I'll keep going.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Blocking a quilt

The day before yesterday, I finally finished the quilting on my most recent piece--the one I can't post a picture of because I hope to enter it in a show.  This has taken over two months to quilt, after it was dyed, and prepared as a whole cloth hanging.  Just finding the "right" colour of silk thread for quilting proved to be a challenge. But "tis done.  Because the quilting was somewhat uneven, the piece had to be blocked.  

This has never been a problem, as a friend gifted me with a professional blocking board that she had used for years with her exhibition quality crewel embroidery.  In turn, I used it for a number of years, during which I worked as a needlework finisher.  For the past few years, I've used it for my mixed media and fibre art wall hangings.

A quick glance told me that the board would be too small for the current piece.  A closer look told me that it was time for the board to retire. This meant finding a board that would take multiple uses involving Tee-pins, and could be covered to prevent contamination of the fabric blocked on it, and to minimize the chance of any watermarking of the fabric.  The original board had been covered, first with a waterproof layer, and then with 1/4" Gingham.  The Gingham provides straight lines and right angles, so that the piece being blocked can be carefully squared up during the process. Gathering the necessary materials took two long days of shopping in unusual places,  I found the necessary board, and then, after having bought clear vinyl to use as a waterproof layer; instead of cotton Gingham, which was too narrow for the board, a length of flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth that had been printed with a Gingham pattern.  Thank Goodness the clear vinyl was on sale, and I have no regrets in putting it aside for another project.

So the board is together, and the piece blocked.  We had to use brass thumb tacks instead of the Tee-pins, as the board was a little harder than expected. (brass to prevent staining from rusty tacks). And we had to deal with a recalcitrant compressed air stapler, but the job is finally done.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Last evening I attended an art sale fund raiser that included a fibre artist.  Her work was about half way along the continuum from traditional quilting to pure art worked in fibre. Sales appeared to be going well.

Today I attended a "Fibre Festival".  A very large exhibition building, with live sheep and alpacas at one end. The baby Alpacas were s-o-o-o cute!  There were demonstrations on sheep shearing, cleaning, preparing, and carding the wool, spinning, knitting weaving. There were even a couple of booths that were selling individually constructed garments.  These had hand dyed fabrics, often decorated in some "one-of-a-kind" way.  There was felting, wet and dry.  And everything for sale from raw wool to beautiful spun yarn to buttons and embellishments to slumped glass bottles (?!?)

To say that my brain is on overload would not be an exaggeration. I am overwhelmed with colour, and realize that exuberance and colour have been missing from my work for awhile.  Awhile ago, a friend(?) told me that she could always tell my work because it was controlled and  elegant.  I have valued that comment as a compliment, but now wonder if it has, in someway, limited my use of any childish approach and certainly in the use of vibrant colour.  Once I add my frequent forays into depression, it's no wonder my work sometimes appears lifeless, and that sales have been off in the past couple of years.

Now I look at the piece I'm currently working on, and almost feel despair.  The colours are pale and the design static. But--there are already three more designs wrestling for position in my brain. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get some of them into my sketch book.