Saturday, May 28, 2016


When last I posted about my dyeing, I was unhappy with a couple of pieces.  One in particular bothered me, and I've spent time thinking about it.  I decided to over-dye it.  The first attempt was useless, and only muted the bright white areas a bit.  So I tried a clamped Shibori technique.  While the results aren't great, I'm much happier with the piece, although I haven't quite figured out how I might use it.

Below are a before and after picture.

I'm going to try to link this with Off the Wall Fridays and the Needle anD thread Network

Friday, May 27, 2016

Further navel gazing

The other evening, I had the opportunity to talk with another artist whose work I admire.  We are of a similar age, and at a similar stage in life.  She, however, has lived and worked as an artist, all of her life, and only in the past few years has expanded her interest into using fibre as a medium. She echoed my concerns about artist's block.  We agreed that we are both past the age of serious messages aimed at changing society, although, IMHO, she has a constant message about ecology in her work.  More specifically, we touched on two future exhibitions that we are both somewhat committed to, and the difficulty we are having finding a relationship or message relative to the theme.

The gist of our discussion is that we are at the stage in life when we can please ourselves and not worry about society, acceptance or pleasing others.

So, building on my previous post, I accept that I need to reduce my reliance on method and tradition, and do whatever the heck I want.  To that end, I'm now playing with an idea I've had for awhile, although the method was inspired by a technique I had seen done.  That doesn't matter.  Technique can't be copyright, and I'm going to experiment and please myself.

Monday, May 23, 2016

More introspection

While this blog is sometimes used to create  a chronological trail of things I create, it's also occasionally, used for me to sort out things in my own mind.  Recently on the  Quilt Art group on the internet ( ) there has been discussion about the definition of an "art" quilt.  I believe that many of the quilted pieces I produce are "art" quilts, but I started as a traditional quilter and that is where I find my comfort zone.  In times of stress, that's where I retreat.  In better times, I call myself a "fibre" artist, or simply an artist, and explore many various aspects of, and techniques of, art. Recently, for whatever reason, I have struggled to find a mechanism by which I can convey a message through my art.  It would appear that, for many people, a definition of art requires that there be a message, whether overt or covert.  When I produce a piece that contains a message, in my opinion, it often fails.  There is also the problem of determining a clear message.  I seem to be confused about what I'm trying to say.  ( I guess that is clear, from the difficulty I've had expressing myself, in the words above.)

Re-reading the above I wonder if what I'm trying to say is that;  My traditional quilter's comfort zone has expanded to include a variety of techniques, and I find myself trapped in that rut, not able to  figure out how to add the "message" to my work that would turn it into "art".  OMG!  Epiphany??  I gotta think about this one!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

More dyeing

There have been a couple more ice dye batches this week, and, unfortunately, I'm very disappointed with the results.  Several friends had suggested that I try using less dye, as my pieces were very dark and there was a lot of dye left over in the bath.  So I made a point of using less dye, hoping for a slightly more pastel result.  The strategy was successful, but the pieces just don't work IMHO.

The one above really bothers me, and I think I might find it difficult to work with.  It just seems so "washed out".  But the upper right corner does interest me with the delicate almost-floral motifs, shown below.  I'm thinking of cutting it down, and seeing if I could produce a smaller piece that would be satisfying.

The piece below does appeal to me, probably because it is back to my preferred darker colour scheme.  I also think the colour changes within it are sharper and more pronounced, and that's a good thing too.  Again, some of the smaller motifs within the piece attract my eye. 

The piece below was in the same dye bath as the one above, but positioned in the opposite direction, prior to adding the ice and dye. I'm fond of this one too, but not sure what I might do with it.

This last piece may just have to be labeled a failure  I have no idea what to do with it.  Have to think about that some more.

I will try to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New hangers

Today we found some bamboo hanging pieces that we think will work very well with my hangings.  It will mean juggling the size of my work, but overall I think they will look much better than the dowel system we're currently using.  The price is certainly good. There are three of them here--one is 36" and the other two are 18"--good standard sizes.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dyeing yet again

A small, local fibre art support group--The Fibre Art Divas--has a bit of a challenge going.  As a group, we have a small gallery show scheduled for November 2017.  As well as larger pieces, we are each to display a 12" by 12" piece, all of which are to be inspired by the same photograph.  I have a pretty good idea of the design of my small piece, and my task now is to dye a piece inspired by the colours of the photo. I chose to try ice dyeing for this, and as part of the dye bath, included a larger piece of fabric.

This is the result.  It is approximately 43" square, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I know in my heart I will be doing something.

I am linking this to The Needle and Thread Network.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The other thing I've been working on

Yes, the reliquary is done.  There were a lot of "glitches" along the way, but I was able to solve most of them, some better than others.

Here is a view of the front.

And the end 

And the back.
I don't know how thrilled I am with this sort of hinge, but glad I had the experience of making it.  I've never used wooden feet before and am quite happy with those.

I am linking this to the Needle and Thread Network 

Cutting into the "good" fabric

The piece I spoke of in the last post is now pieced and ready to be sandwiched, for quilting.  I got to thinking about why I had wanted this to be a special piece so much.  The fabrics used were some of my special mandala-dyed fabrics.  These take a lot of work and can be expensive to produce when all of the fabric, dyes, and bags of ice, are considered, let alone the time involved in preparing the fabric.  ( I was preparing a small piece today and spent over an hour with it, and still haven't finished).  My willingness to cut into them ( there were four of them), took a lot of gumption!  Even if the piece refused to let me make a very involved mixed-media "thing", actually producing a finished piece, traditional in character or not, is still an accomplishment.  So I will use it to practice my FMQ'g skill and do the best job I can.  I'm even willing to share what it looks like, so far. It is about 40" square, and not, at all, in my preferred palette, except for the barn red, which I laughingly call a neutral.