Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Each year at this time, I reflect on the past year and feel into what I want for the next one. I wonder about what is growing in the darkness that I cannot yet see and notice what I am pulled toward or pushing away from.
Last year I largely delved into handstitch. Here's a yarn and thread tree I was stitching into felt just before Christmas - I would like to explore further with felt:

Other then for some piecing, my machine has sat idle. So it was good to make a journal gift and realize how rusty I've gotten since not regularly using free motion stitch.
I will soon be using my machine alot, at the Mark Making course I will be starting next week. But I will also be handstitching in the Contemporary Woven Boro class in mid January - so it is going to be a very busy learning time ahead! And I have other areas of focus I'd love to explore, too - so I will continue to sit with the possibilities over the last days of 2010.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Show Down

The opening of the Victoria College of Art's exhibition and sale was packed on Friday evening - I heard over 600 people were there - and the show also ran throughout the weekend. I enjoyed the raw energy of the atmosphere and the vibrancy of the works in various mediums - there was alot to see! In our textile art area, Dale McEwan demonstrated painting on fabric:
I helped disassemble our class's part of the show today and now I am completely done. None of my art cards sold - but with one week until Christmas and most of my preparations left to do - at least I won't have to buy any!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

Okay - you might wonder what this has to do with fibre art: Well - a few days ago I awoke to still pouring rain and found part of the driveway flooded, with water rising and pouring right over the top of the stone wall edging it. A quick clearing of the drain, some loud sucking and gurgling sounds, and it was all gone and back to normal in minutes. I've been thinking about how that can mirror the shift from being in the intensity of a class or workshop with the flood of learning, doing and relating rising in momentum and then, once it's over, the sudden void or space. There is just one class and the exhibition left of the six week long textile art class that I've been taking and unlike previous weeks, my homework is complete and I can work on other pieces that have been waiting since before the class - or start something new - maybe arising from some of what I've just learned. I am used to doing some fibre work everyday, but I noticed that with the structure abruptly gone, I felt that difference - like I had developed a bit of dependency on it and had to stimulate that inner muscle of will a bit, whereas at first when the class was on, I was eagerly wanting to get back to the work I had been doing, even as I was also enjoying the learning from the class. This is an issue I keep encountering - how to stay tuned in with my need to make my art and also to fold in new learning from classes. I am signed up for two classes in January that I feel excited about - the Mark Making With Machine textile art course at the Victoria College of Art with Lesley Turner and Jude Hill's online Advanced Cloth to Cloth. Aside from the substantial other learning and benefits involved from classes, the more techniques that I try, the more possibilities I will know to include in future work - but that likely means postponing making more involved pieces for awhile. What feels most successful for me is when I find a way to weave what I'm learning into a completed piece, and I have done that, although at a reduced quantity.


A few days ago I tried a little experiment with one of the cards I've recently made. I colour photocopied it, as well as photographed it and printed it on photo and plain papers, cotton and silk. Below is the original fabric piece on the left and the photo onto cotton with handstitch added, on the right. While both are fabric with stitch and very similiar at a glance, I prefer the silk and velvet original with actual fringe because of the feel and the initial piece seems more valid somehow because that particular combination of fabrics and stitch didn't exist before I made it and the second version couldn't have been made the way it was without the first. Yet isn't that the way art builds on itself? One thing I've noticed in doing this series of cards is how variations crept in - whether pinked tree edges and colours of fabric or the addition of borders. And some of the time the differences emerging arose from something unexpected, as in the card below, where inexplicably some of the metallic cotton melted under the iron (even though I have other cards with the same material that did not melt) and I liked the look and added fabric behind it, leaving a border on the bottom edge.
On the next card that I made, it felt natural to include a border, although it's not pictured, here:

Yet even without using the same basic design and varying it as I have with these cards, whatever I make is part of an ongoing process and it's interesting to make connections and notice shifts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More 'Carding'

I have been making little pieces and cards to sell at the Victoria College of Art's upcoming exhibition and sale next weekend. Part of the class I'm taking involves preparation of something to sell, as well as tracking our time and exploring different ways of pricing. While I've sold a few items before and had larger pieces for sale in shows, this experience has been interesting because I am making multiples of the same item ( although each is unique) - but it's a concerted effort to have a number available at the same time. This one is in a matte board - new to me and I'm doing it as an experiment although I usually prefer raw edges and the softness being fully available to hold and touch.I have made cards for friends and loved ones ever since I took up sewing, but these will be for sale and were made without a specific person in mind - so - a different approach. Here are some of them:

And I have a few more started and I have ideas for other items to make for sale, but the trees on my cards are the only ones decorated at our house so far, and it's soon time to change that, so I'll see how much more I get done before the exhibiton!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Carding to Felt

Yesterday in class I used a carder for the first time - what fun to mix colours of roving this way! Here's what my piece looked like after wet felting it.
The stitch on the left was done before felting and blends more with the ground than the one on the right, which was done afterwards.

I knew when I was doing the felting that I would just have to do a little more at home...

We also did some handstitching on water soluable plastic, made fabric beads and saw felted work and passementerie made by some of the talented women in our class - what a visual feast!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Meet 'Lolla Lee Lou', so called after the Dr. Seuss bird, because of the feathery finery and saucy feel of those plumes. She is needlewoven onto an abalone shell and is my project for the class I'm taking. Other students had a whole range of different ideas for their needleweavings and I am looking forward to seeing some of them tomorrow. I also completed this piece today,
and enjoyed drawing with thread and needle here and there.

I'm calling this 'Ephemeral and Eternal' - for the process of change that is life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gift From The Sea

While walking on the beach, I had this urge to check out a spot up against the rocks at the base of a cliff, so I went over for a look. For our class tomorrow, we are supposed to bring a grid of some sort to use as a resist when painting fabric. I have learned over time to listen as much as possible to that inner direction, and now I have my needed grid!When I saw this, I thought of doing
this needleweaving sampler - not great to look at, but some of the stitches I did involved similiar loops before I pulled them tighter. It's part of the raised stitches unit we are working on.

The warps are awaiting me...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shape Shifting

This organza loves to move and is so responsive to furrowing. I can imagine how silk velvet might pool and spill its soft weight just as exquisitely. But for now, I'm moving to something else...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Street Art

When I looked down enroute to the beach I saw a giant feather formed from pine needles and water that reminded me of the large feather I sewed on my piece. Earlier today I saw the Threads in the City show at the Martin Batchelor Gallery put on by Fibres and Beyond. Lots of variety and interesting pairings of the fibre artists with artists working in other mediums - a pleasure to see.
This week's class is focusing on raised stitching - from different types of applique

to couching.

More types to come...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making Tracks

The stitches are slowly securing more items down and tracks are appearing in the snow here and there... although I lost half a day to work on this because of a migraine. I was careful around these sharp points:
And this heart nest is not entirely secure yet:

I was thinking about decomposition as part of the life and death process - the running stitches seemed like they might be leaf bits or a leaf ghost echoing the shape that was once fuller.

I also stitched down driftwood, the large feather, a stick and an arbutus leaf. I'm about half way done.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Knotty and Nice

Yesterday I laid out the leaves, feathers, pinecones and other things I found on my walk onto a rectangular linen piece with a handstitched edge - a garage sale find from awhile back. I am thinking about the tradition of stitch and the women who passed their handmade treasures to their daughters and granddaughters. Since it is a feminine art, it seems appropriate that offerings from mother earth join with this cloth to continue their life and the cloth's in a new form. It is snowy white like the snow I walked through. And here the stitching has begun - you could miss noticing if you only saw what you expected to...
And this morning on the beach, I again saw a mirror of what I had stitched - seaweed thread through sandcloth to secure down a log.

Ever since I saw this chartreuse silk in the class scrap box, it was flirting with me so I added felted wool, silk gauze and french knots to make a Christmas card.

Quite a bit more stitching ahead this weekend...

A Walk on the White Side

A few days ago I had stitched some objects onto a painted and fused canvas ground I'd made, when I decided to go to the beach for a walk as part of an assignment where we were to observe our external and internal environments enroute, as well as collecting objects to become part of a piece arising from the journey. Look what caught my eye - rather synchronous, I think! The snow was wondrous, and I saw many animal tracks:
And altered shapes and colours.

Here is some of what I collected, including a huge feather gift that I think is from our local heron:

Next came choosing a ground...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Counting Snowflakes and Stitches

While our class was inside exploring stitches on different guages of painted canvas yesterday, the environment outside began to change colour...
With the strong wind painting the asphalt

and tires creating a line design.

Staying within the little boxes of the canvas feels restrictive, even as I know the value of trying new things and am learning how the technique might be used in novel ways.
Maybe I'm going inside the box to get out of the box?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Claiming My Space

A few ragged organic edges are now on this cloth, and I'm liking how they seem to age it, alluding to it having seen and experienced a fair bit of time and life. As I was stitching the eyelets, I was thinking about the circling motion and the centre spaces, which led me to imagine them as planets orbiting a green sun, and to think of how each of us is like a world unto ourselves, even as we touch one another and are connected to a greater whole. Our differences make us interesting and this cloth speaks to the protection of our individuality and of bringing that uniqueness forward to claim our space.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not Finished Yet

Due to a series of synchronicities including the recent beast in progress - which is a deer/goat/antelopish sort of yet unnamed species - and this deer photo that came out with glowing green eyes - the colour I'm working with and deepening my seeing of - I added more to this piece, moving it towards a talisman:
I stitched the large foreleg and small creature without prior drawing of them onto the fabric and was more interested in the energy and feel of that, than anatomical accuracy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


My eyelet piece is ready for class tomorrow. While I've backed it with silk and cotton, it's not meant to be a finished piece, but will go in my stitch dictionary - unless I take it further in the future. I cleaned the studio this morning and spent the afternoon following this beast, who is in motion so I only captured it's tail end :) The piece is ready for basting if I can pin it down...