Saturday, March 27, 2010

Off to Strip Piece and Restructure Fabrics

The last of the metres of fabric I'm taking for the Nancy Crow workshop are washed, dried and packed away ready for tomorrow morning when I will be on my way there - along with the huge amount of other supplies, quilts and personal items I have amassed. I will not be posting anything on my blog until I return next week, when I hope to have many stories to tell...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Embroiderer's Guild Show

I went to the Victoria Embroiders' Guild Show yesterday, not knowing what to expect since I've never been to an Embroidery show before. I was surprised and interested to find a few mixed media pieces that included paint, tyvek and other less traditional materials, as well as the fine thread and fabric work. Nice to see the variety. The piece in the photo is a garage sale find from several weeks ago - photos were not allowed to be taken at the show. I've also chosen some quilts to take with me to share at the Nancy Crow workshop and have given some thought to what I want to say about how I work and what my goals are.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sea Change

Each piece we add to our lives leads somewhere, sometimes to transformation. I still have a little more stitching to do, but I've filled out my quilt guild's registration form to add 'Sea Change' to our upcoming show in May, as well as 'Expansion or Contraction'. 'Sea Change' will be in the 'small fibre exploration with a quilted element' category and 'Expansion or Contraction' will be in the 'small innovative quilts of original design' group.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Art of Change

As, you can see in the top photo, I still have more stitching to complete this piece, which is called 'Sea Change'. It speaks to a variety of changes happening in my life and it will certainly be a change to be machine piecing very soon in the Nancy Crow class, instead of all the handstitching I've been doing! I am worried I will be in over my head, but I will do my best and certainly learn a lot. I brought 'Sea Change' to my art quilt group tonight and appreciate having it seen by others who understand the work that goes into it. What a lively group it was tonight - great dialogue about how much time we each work on fibre art and what some of our issues are, as well as seeing the pieces and books the others brought.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home Stretch

I've couched on some red cord, added a few more circles and some stitch and now I am stitching the final quarter. And I'm adding to my journal - thinking about what I hope to get from the Nancy Crow workshop and also what quilts to take with me and what to say about my work in the presentation we are expected to give.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cover Girl

My class with Nancy Crow is now one week away and I have begun a journal for it. To design the cover, I cut 3 inch squares from paper I painted with the idea of stacking them, cutting and exchanging the different coloured pieces to reform the squares. I haven't done this with actual fabric before, and thought using paper would be a quick way to experiment and make a cover at the same time. When I tried out the cut-up and reconfigured squares on the journal cover, I found them too busy, so I removed them and added pieces that I wanted and suddenly I saw they had formed a figure which I quite liked - only the white paper background was too stark, so I painted it green, glued on the figure (first time trying out 'Yes' paste and it worked great) and covered the whole with gloss gel medium to prevent edges from coming loose. I'm continuing to stitch my piece in progress, as well, and I am hoping to complete it before the workshop. I noticed that when I downloaded the photo of the reconfigured squares, my perspective changed and I could imagine it as an energetic quilt - although I would play further with the design. One of the supplies we are to bring to the workshop is a printer, so that we can print the photos we take of our quilts - and the value of that has been brought home through making this journal cover.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Next Stitches

I've attached this crocheted circle and have started adding green running stitch. I love the dangling threads and they are part of the overall design.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Stitch at a Time

The sand at the beach today was like a quilted whole cloth. I've added a few more stitches to my piece-in-progress ...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shades of Gray

For the upcoming Nancy Crow workshop, I am supposed to have six to nine shades of gray fabric, and I only have found three, so I decided to dye some. I aimed for a dark, medium and light gray, and that's what I got. Although I stirred them frequently, the medium gray has quite a bit of pattern, which I like, but all the rest of my fabrics for the class are flat colour. And - since I already had the dye baths going, I decided to pop in a few more fabrics, experimenting with using a birch bark star I was given, over dying another piece and doing some other shibori. I only used one black dye, yet look at the colour differences! I love the blue/green of the two pieces in the photos and it's actually a much subtler colour then what's shown and the patterning of the one piece reminds me of frost and vegetation and on the other , of starfish. I have my fabrics packed into two containers ready for the workshop.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Falling Into Place

I've made good progress today choosing, cutting and pinning fabrics. There's more refining to do and then stitching, but the basic ground of the top is designed. This quilt began with the turquoise velvet shibori I dyed earlier this year, which you can see in the photo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Open House

Yesterday I enjoyed attending Laine Canivet's open house of her fibre art - she's been creating for many years, so there was a lot to see. She must have tried every technique ever thought of, with several binders of journal quilts exploring all kinds of materials in addition to the pieces on the walls! My piece in progress is about half done, now, with the small squares I recently added, stitched down.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pastel Patches

I felt inspired to combine the two fat quarters I bought at the sewing show (pink and blue) with some of my other fabrics to create a pastel spring table runner top. I haven't sewn anything with my machine for months, as I've been doing only hand work, and I noticed that while the sewing goes more quickly, the room for error is higher - at least, for me. I somehow mixed up the design I'd put together and ended up having to make last minute changes with a less satisfying result. It does have a fresh feel, though. I am interested to work with blocks rather then adding single pieces one at at time and I imagine I'll get an opportunity in the Nancy Crow class.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sewing Show

What a great day at the sewing show - and - my stash photo plan worked, although I didn't have to look at the photos because I had everything fresh in mind. It was a breeze to peruse yarns, fabrics, beads and other goodies - and keep on walking. Other then a few books, I am excited by this mirrored device in the third photo which I've placed beside a block I've sewn. And, I picked up some double holed needles for handstitching and for my machine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Double Bill

Today I went to two art shows - one put on by the Victoria Sketch Club, which was largely painted landscapes, and the other one a Japanese art exhibit at the Greater Victoria Art Gallery that spanned a range of time periods. I delighted in the detail, beauty and intriguing scenes of the Japanese wood block prints, or ukiyo-e. I noticed some familiar shibori designs on the clothing of some of the people in the prints. A favourite piece for me was a 14th century silk hanging scroll in soft colours with gold leaf, meant to be meditated on and depicting the letter 'A' over a lotus, surrounded by a cirlce of light. Contemporary Japanese artist Sayaka Akiyama had a number of pieces that were made of fabric, paper, beads, yarns, glitter, paint, buttons and even noodles that were like a visual diary showing her inner landscape in relation to the actual geography - the places she experienced or 'footprints of time'. There was also a fabric room made from maps printed on polyester sheers and stitched with embroidery threads and other fibers - very interesting idea! I find that I constantly record in a myriad of ways - what I spend, my appointments, journals, kept ephemera like ticket stubs, photos, art. Just one life contains a huge amount of history. But back to the show - another contemporary Japanese artist 'Manabu Ikeda' had a piece called Waterway with small ships sailing on the sea and their smoke from the smoke stacks rising above in a giant crab form, making me think of how our pollution is creating a monster we have to contend with. One last display that I enjoyed was called 'Real World Avatars', where Elizabeth Litton had asked her UVic students to create avatars - to remake themselves out of paper mache, such that ordinary 'rules' like not being able to fly didn't apply, and with an intention of making a significant difference in the world. Very interesting to see the variety.

Pre-Shopping in My Stores

So you might be wondering what are all those colourful items in the top photo - or maybe you recognize a few from your own cupboards? Well, tomorrow is the sewing show and I decided to take photos of some of what I have to remind myself and to clarify that there are only a few items I am looking for - plus I will be open to the odd unexpected energetic hit. I remember my first sewing show three years ago - I had no idea what to expect - and no stash either. Let me say that I was in heaven. By last year, I put the brakes on, but did buy books, since they were a good price. Okay - and a few other LITTLE goodies. So my idea is by leaving the photos on my digital camera and bringing it with me, I will take breaks to remind myself of what is yet to be used at home. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stepping Stones

I've been caught up in the design flow, adding fabric pieces to areas that kept niggling, telling me something more was needed. These smaller shapes add detail and variety and I'm feeling pleased with how the piece is progressing. Now to stitch them down. I also attended my quilt guild meeting last night and saw the two sided masterfully machine quilted work of Barbara Shapel, as well as the quilt sharing of other members. What a pleasure!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stitching With Intention

A few more squares are stitched in now and I've been thinking about my intention for this year of 'serious play'. Play involves being open to what emerges - to spontaneous acting on intuition and ideas and not having a plan or expectation of how a piece 'should' look. And the serious aspect involves committed, full participation in a deeply interested way. That is how I am working and it's working, for me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Joining the Crowd

Today I auditioned all kinds of fabrics in various positions, searching for a design fit. The more fabrics already in the piece, the more they have to say about potential new ones. It's often useful not to get too far ahead of myself - just get one or two next fabrics chosen and sew them down and trust more will also be a fit.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Piece by Piece

I've added a piece of deconstructed screenprinted fabric with some curved and vertical stitch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fresh Point of View

What glorious colours I saw today - whether magnolia blossoms, silken wild flowers, landscape or lichen. Sometimes when I'm sitting with the selection of a next fabric for what I'm working on, I need to walk away and change my viewpoint.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Circling Around The Block

After stitching the squares on the upper right corner, none of the ideas I had for how to stitch the left side of the turquoise and white cotton felt quite right. It becomes a balancing act - to vary the size and shapes and alternate where they are located on the larger whole - to have a good amount of repetition and variety that pleases my eye. I have a feeling that I will be making further changes...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Growth

I chose a fine green corduroy backing for this piece - you can see it on the folded over corner - and added some heavier silk and cotton I've dyed to the front.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slipping Into the Groove

Stitching with the turquoise silk thread I bought recently, I notice how smoothly it pulls through the fabric - and sometimes - right out of the needle! I've added it to alternating squares in the lower photo, that are part of the grain of the fabric, and in a square pattern on the green cotton velvet in the top photo. That cotton fabric with the existing square pattern is some I bought at the Victoria Sewing Show last year or the year before, that I have dyed in different colours and used in several of my pieces. I really like it and if you're interested to see how it looks dyed differently, click here: and here A turquoise dupioni silk piece and some trim with the circles are now part of the mix, and this piece will be expanding in length over the next while.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Words Are Not Enough

I had planned to post an image of the next stage of my latest handstitched piece, but for some unknown reason, nothing happens when I click on the image icon. I hope blogger fixes this, soon. I took a photo last night ready to post but the colour was so off without the natural daylight that I decided to wait until today to take a better shot. However, I see the video icon works - which I've never used and I know that sometimes a supposed stumbling block can actually lead to something more interesting. So I'll give it a try...