Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eye Candy for Halloween

Today I've been learning new 'tricks' from Gail Harker in her Sketchbook/Visual Journal workshop. That's Gail in the third photo holding one of her 30 delectable sketchbooks open. They are truly yummy, with stitch, pencil crayon, paper collage, paint, text and pens - a visual feast. I've learned alot today and tomorrow I'll be back for more. I can see why others I know love Gail's classes!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Treat Bag of a Different Sort

When I dropped off 'Both And' to Coast Collective gallery today, I enjoyed the gorgeous fall colours, the pumpkin lined bridge on the grounds and especially the large spheres made from branches. They were having a huge hand crafted gift sale, complete with live music and I was sorry not to have much time to browse, as there was lots to drool over. My handstitched piece is gradually progressing - the fringe on the right is meant to mirror the continuation of the waves and the green fabric the ocean depths. On a different topic, I've found out that I'm in the Nancy Crow workshop 'Strip-Piecing and Restructuring II', which will be next spring and very challenging for me, I imagine. I know from hearing about her workshops that participants need to bring alot of solid colours of cottons, so I will be putting this on my Christmas wish list! A few days ago when I was checking Pam de Groot's blog, I also checked her store and found a gorgeous rainbow spiral felt bag she's made, up for sale - which is on its way to me, now :) You can view it here - scroll down:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fairytale Unfolds

Once upon a time, the pink fingers of the sunrise stroked a sleeping woman and she wakened and whispered, ‘There must be something special about today’. Rising from her bed she heard the mailbox lid closing, and when she peeked inside, there was a package for her from Morahapa Road. Excitedly, she brought the package to her kitchen table, where she removed the envelope and discovered a charming tissue wrapped package with a stitched fabric heart on top, wound together with a fine black and white strand of yarn. “I am your love’, said the heart, ‘and if you follow me, all will be well’. Inside the tissue was a magical cloth that was folded so its rainbow lion was on top to immediately greet the woman. “I am your courage’, he said, ‘and I have come to make sure you always reach for what you want.’ As the woman opened the cloth further, she saw wondrous patterns, textures, shapes and colours; a river, moons and waves. Then the cloth spoke. “No matter what phase the moon is in, my rainbow will lead you to gold; you must only consult the cloth. Follow the ways of the river and you will never get lost. The woman began to sing for joy, knowing she had received the connection to ancient ways, to mystery ways and as she fingered the unfinished edge of the cloth, she knew that all would really and truly be well.
*The spirit cloth called 'Alignment' and heart above were created by Jude Hill and I'm thrilled these beautiful creations of hers have found a new home in mine!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Here is the handstitching I've been doing while I was away from the island - it's grown further since and I'm eager to keep following it's journey. While in Vancouver, I visited Maiwa, where I was fortunate to receive some free dyeing-related supplies, left by a good samaritan who was no longer using them. I also explored the Rokko fabric shop, with its copious choices of lush fabrics, but only chose three half metre pieces, as I'm waiting to hear if I will get into a Nancy Crow workshop in the spring, and that will require alot of fabric shopping. When I came home, I received notification that 'Both And' has been accepted into Coast Collective Gallery's upcoming Peace and Conflict show that begins November 5th. I've also chosen nine of my art quilts to put in a show I will be part of beginning November 8th at Satin Moon Quilt Shop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Both And

Yesterday I added to this piece but felt unsatisfied with it until I envisioned the circle, which is when it really came together for me, as did the quilting design. It's called 'Both And', and I will enter it in an upcoming juried show at Coast Collective gallery called 'Peace and Conflict' - hopefully it will be among those selected. I will sew the sleeve on today and block it. It's a mandala and speaks to wholeness and how life holds both peace and conflict - external and internal - and somehow we must navigate through it all. I was also thinking about how it's interesting that the crosshairs of a gun have a round view with four quadrants (not that I've ever actually looked through one, but I've seen movies :) That use for this symbol seems counter intuitive, yet destruction is also part of life. I have been to the art show in Sidney recently, where I saw about ten fibre pieces as well as the hundreds of paintings, sculptures and other mediums there. And some other exciting news - I've bought a piece of fibre art - one of Jude Hill's spirit cloths, which I'm excited to see and touch in person, as I really love her work. I notice I have a different feeling for those pieces of mine that I have handstitched and I am going to gather materials to hand sew while on an upcoming brief trip. You can see Jude's work here:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crossing Edges

Yesterday I finally got back to work after doing some studio reorganization and putting away the supplies I took to the Sue Benner workshops. I felt blocked and lethargic after being away from creating, while I've been dealing with other things. So, I mustered my will and just got going. I decided to quilt this small piece and then finish the edges as Sue finishes some of hers, using satin stitch and 'tassels' on the corners. Hers look much better - but then, this is my first attempt! I'm calling this one 'Warrior' because it looks like half of a masked, horned face with sharp points - a reminder to be strong and push past our edges.


These images are from the 3 day course that I took with Sue Benner called 'Driven to Abstraction'. On the first day we were asked to choose five fabrics and then she handed each of us a page from National Geographic magazine, from which we were to create an abstract piece. While other workshop participants received images of boats, bugs or people, I got a skull. I felt disturbed and hoped me receiving this particular image was not forehadowing of something ominous. I just 'eye-balled' the values in the image and roughly cut shapes accordingly. That night our homework was to make a collage of one of our personal images. I had brought quite a few of my photos to choose from, but was drawn to a virtually black and white one of light hitting the folds of a blanket. You can see the photo and the collage in the second image from the top. ( I entered these images in the order I'm writing about them, but for some reason, that didn't work and they are mixed up.) Doing the collage was a useful way to get the image inside, because our exercise for the next day of the workshop was to create 5 more abstractions from the same image, although I only managed to do three. I noticed the subtle value and colour differences I found, even though the photo doesn't appear colourful at first glance. When I began working on my abstractions the next day, I did one that largely followed the shapes and composition of the image and then another that was a close-up of part of the image. (Top photo, first two.) I felt frustrated creating this way and I wasn't enjoying myself at all and even felt quite down, which seemed odd. I wanted to just make my own shapes and surprise myself with what I came up with, not be following a map. So it was good for me to realize just how much I like to work following a process without having a preconceived idea. The third abstract beside the other two (turquoise/orange piece) is one where I cut whatever shapes I wanted to and arranged them - although by that time I had my personal image well in mind and continued to be aware of the instructions, so there are still some references to the original. Of the three abstracts, I like this one the best. The final day of the workshop we were to work on a larger piece, again using a personal image as a reference. I switched to using a different photo of a shadow of a metal railing and I decided to draw the outlines onto my batting and use that as a guide to put shapes onto, using cool colours in the background and warm ones in the front. Another participant suggested I might want to use whites instead of warm colours - but this piece is in progress and the photo below the one of Sue Benner shows how far I got. Oh - and right as the workshop ended, I found out that my Grandfather had died the day after I was given the skull right when I was feeling so low.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fusing The Grid

These are two quilts I started in Sue Benner's one day workshop 'Fusing The Grid'. I enjoyed designing with my cut fused squares and strips and using a variety of fabrics and seeing Sue's quilts! I also attended a presentation by Sue the previous night called 'The Working Path' and in seeing examples of how she combines varieties of fabrics - including ones she's dyed and painted - with fusing and dye painting, I feel closer to finding the way of working that fits for me. I like to have a minimum of technical fuss so that I can focus on the design and see results faster. And I like not limiting myself to just cotton or only fabrics and not paint. I want all the options - the cake and the icing, too - while still eliminating some of the possible ways to work that don't feel native to me. Pamela Allen also gave a humorous presentation and I enjoyed seeing one of her works in progress, as well as new work and some I'd seen before.