Friday, July 28, 2017


Both "The Old Summer Kitchen"  and "Tiara", are finished.  These pieces have been plaguing me for the past couple of months, but now both are done, and hanging in my basement studio.

"Tiara" is my first attempt at a circular hanging.  It's only 12" in diameter ( well, 12 1/4". but maybe no-one will notice).  Here is an angle shot to emphasize the beading,and a full view.

Both of these pieces will be entered in a gallery show in November, with my fibre art support group, "The Fibre Art Divas".

"The Old Summer Kitchen" has been in several of my blogs.  It has required a lot of patience and trouble shooting. Never the less, I'm very pleased with this.  It is a bit of a departure from my usual more abstract work, and the first larger, "made in response to a call for entry" piece that has been completed in almost three years.  It's pretty good, but I can't call it my very best work.  There are a few problem areas, that only I know about.  This presents a quandary. Price! Do I price it so high that no-one will buy it, or do I price it a more reasonable level, in consideration of the problems?

Here is a close-up of the leaves in the trees, and a full view.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's, "Off the Wall Fridays", and The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More frustration

The piece "The Old Summer Kitchen" continues to frustrate me.  I have added stuff, removed stuff, and done a heck of a lot of "reverse stitching".  Yesterday, when I attempted to back it and bind it,  the need for blocking became obvious.  This is the first time I used my new blocking board.  The expensive board we bought, to make it, turned out to be too hard for my T-pins.  With my husband's help we persevered and found some small brass tacks that would work, but we didn't have as many of them as we should have had to do a thorough job.  Good blocking requires some sort of fastening device every 1/2 inch around the edge of the piece, and by that time of night, heading out to buy more just wasn't an option.

But we got it stabilized and shaped.  During my time as a needle work finisher I did more than my share of blocking and this was one of the more difficult jobs, and maybe not my very best work, but the job got done.  

This morning we put it out into the yard to dry, as it would never have dried in the basement studio.  We rested the board against the fence upside down, and I'm not physically strong enough to flip it for the picture, but this actually shows the piece right side up.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread network, and Nina Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Navel Gazing Again

Earlier this week I attended the gathering of my fibre art support group, The Fibre Art Divas".  Because we meet in members' homes, we tend to be a small group, and rarely does everyone attend every meeting.  So it's always exciting when someone we haven't seen in awhile manages to get there.  This time we had a member that I only remember seeing once before ( I don't attend all the meetings, either)  She had three pieces, and they all blew me away.  I was stunned at what she has achieved. 

Now, I'm one of the older members of the group, and have slowly been plugging away at becoming more and more adventuresome in my work, over almost 60 years.  I am impressed at younger members who seize an idea, and advance in their work at a lightening pace. I'm realizing that many of them have surpassed me and are accomplishing things that I have never even dreamed of. I admit I'm envious, but at the same time I applaud their creativity. I'm also forced to admit, that I will probably never reach the heights they have, and to acknowledge that there is sure to be someone who bypasses them in the future.  This is the way of world.  

So what are my options?  I can wallow in envy, or accept that someone will always be better than me and give up (maybe take up Candy Crush, or internet poker?). The third option is to carry on, learn from them, and continue to take pleasure in whatever I achieve. So, the lady who brought the exceptional work to our meeting, described how she achieved a certain image. It just happens to be related to the piece " The Old Summer Kitchen", that I'm working on.  I think I'll try it.  I certainly have nothing to lose.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


After the frustrations of putting together my piece, " The Old Summer Kitchen", I wanted a bit of a break before starting the FMQ'g and thread painting on it.  I also thought it might be an idea to do some warm up of my FMQ'g, as it's been awhile.  So I did the basic preparation for a couple of mandalas I'm interested in.  Getting these quilted, will give me some take-along hand work for when I volunteering at a local gallery.  The gallery is often quiet for periods of time, --an excellent spot for some quiet hand work--and the gallery encourages its volunteers to be doing something creative while they're on site.

The two pieces were created by placing wet fabric over a bas-relief ceiling rosette, and then pushing the fabric into the crevices with a paint -covered ( Pebeo Seta-Color-well diluted) brush. Then allowing it to dry, in place. This is a technique I've played with a few times, with mixed success, but it went fairly well this time.  The secret, I think, is to find the perfect depth of relief.  Here is the plaster rosette I used.  It is just about an inch thick in the middle and about 3/8-7/16th at the edge. The rosette is 12" in diameter. I bought is at a garage sale for $1.00.

The first piece I did was in red, yellow and blue.  Depending on how well the paint is diluted there is always some blending between the colours, and I think this is desirable.  I quilted loosely along the lines of the image, with Superior Kimono Silk, trying to match the colour of the thread to the colour of the paint. I plan to bead this with clear crystal No.8 beads.

Figuring out how to quilt the last border area was challenging, as none of the features of the bas-relief were imprinted.  My first thought were something geometric, but then I decided to continue the "soft" feel of the piece with curves, and used a modified McTavishing technique.

The second piece was done in blue and yellow, which, of course, blended into shades of green.  Again, I tried to match the colour of the thread (polyester, this time. I have no idea where it came from). Some of the quilting is done with silver metallic.  The imprint of the bas-relief is much clearer this time, and, I think this shows in how detailed the quilted ended up being.  But the final border was still not clear, and I was happy to use the modified McTavishing again.  This will be beaded with either the same clear crystal as the first one, or, maybe, smaller silver beads.

I'm considering the titles "Tiara", and "Tiara Too".  I plan to exhibit both of them later this year.
I plan to link this with Nina Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Friday", and The Needle and Thread Network".

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Old Summer Kitchen

In the last post I ranted about the frustrations of putting together the latest piece--"The Old Summer Kitchen".  It has been a b---h!  Most of the techniques have been used before, but probably not all in the same piece. My usual work is much more abstract than realism.  My physical limitations have forced me to utilize a small bedroom as a studio rather than the entire finished basement I could previously access. But the basic construction of the piece was completed today, and all that's left is FMQ'g and thread painting.

Like many prairie families, my husband's parents had a summer camp.  They bought raw land with a sandy lake front, in 1942, and slowly developed it as  a haven for, first, their children and later grandchildren, great-grand children, and even a great-great grandchild.  After the privy, the first building was a kitchen.  The windows were screened and had only shutters.  This gave a protected area for the small children.  I remember my MIL cooking meals for more than 20 people,  on a wood stove with no running water,  in this very small space--probably only 10 by 15 feet.

Eventually there was a one room sleeping cabin to replace the tents, and later electricity and finally running water--but still with a very primitive system.  In the 1980's a bear got into the kitchen, and defecated in the wood stove.  Since the building had been built around the stove, and it couldn't be removed, a new summer kitchen had to be built, and this one was moved aside and relegated to a storage shed.

Sadly, the property recently had to be sold.

Here is the basic piece with most of the background fused.  Then the two birch trees on the right were added, and more fabric painting done

The building itself was assembled separately.  The fabric is mostly either hand-dyed or hand painted.  The sky is my last precious piece of "Fossil Fern"

And here is the building applied to the background.  This is only the basic construction.  There is still quite a bit of "tweaking" to do.

I plan to link this with

Friday, July 7, 2017


working on a new piece, hopefully, for a group gallery exhibition in November. This isn't my first rodeo.  I've been doing this for over 50 years, and have probably tried most techniques, at some point, in my life. This project is pretty straight forward--machine applique and FMQ'g, based on a photo--a landscape. The work has been in progress for over a week now, with me in the studio every day, often for hours. Every step of the way something has gone wrong.  I have never felt like such a doofus in my life.  I can't even cut a pattern, without getting it backwards.  Using fusible, as an assist for basting, I got fusible on my iron, ironing board cover, and my fingers. I didn't get it on the fabric, where it was supposed to be, did get it on fabric where it wasn't supposed to be, and ended up starting all over again.  Since much of the fabric is my hand dyeing, I don't have a lot of it, and probably can't reproduce the colour.  This has lead to some interesting colour decisions.

Ah-h-h, maybe tomorrow.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday, and The Needle and thread Network.