Friday, July 30, 2010

Making the Rounds

Along with my art quilt group, I am part of a surface design round robin. This half metre of fabric is the piece I received and I decided to add some contrasting colour and more of a defined structure or pattern while still leaving space for the next participant to add to it. Here is the same fabric after shibori dyeing it:
What interested me was how different the backside was - because the original fabric was a print that doesn't carry through to it. The dye is brighter on the white backside and I usually use white or solid light fabric to dye on - not the backside of a print, but I see now that that is an option, too. So I will keep that in mind when I see yardage I'm not attracted to - how it might be transformed.

Of course, I couldn't resist throwing something else in the dye bath, too - a little silk velvet - which ended up coloured like a scarf, with creamy insides and purple edges and ends.
Also, I was out to see the Sooke Fine Arts show last weekend and saw a few studios open for touring, as well as dropped into an 'Art in the Garden' show with lovely ambience and live music, put on by several artisans in a variety of mediums.

Softening Edges

The fog was thick when I woke this morning, so I went straight to the beach with my camera. Here is some tea dyeing I did yesterday, softening the fabric's former white colour:
And this is my first hand pieced block. I prefer the softer, looser feel of the seams to tightly bound machine stitching.

And here is my Spirit Bear - who first appeared in an earlier fabric story, along with the white rabbit, last month. She has not eaten the bunny, but is keeping her safe in her belly. I like intermingling piecing, weaving and collage in one cloth.. There is a week left in the Patchwork Beasts online class and I have many pieces waiting for stitch and embellishment - layers waiting to merge into one.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Miracle Cat Learning

Continuing in the Patchwork Beasts class, I made this miracle cat yesterday - it has a heart shaped nose and question mark whiskers which it follows to fun and adventure. I am quite thrilled with this because I designed the block piece by piece without drawing a pattern and I still managed to sew it together, albeit in a very hodge podge fashion. (The legs, ears and tail were all one piece found at a garage sale long ago.) I was starting to explore this method of construction in April/May after taking the strip piecing class with Nancy Crow, but I was using strip pieced fabric then, not selecting individual fabrics and putting the pieces together as I went. The majority of my work is improvisationally appliqued or collaged and the pieced quilts have largely been either random bits sewn together, or a beggining exploration of curved piecing. I can't quite grasp yet what the significance is of this for me - perhaps a native way for me to work that I am connecting with - this time with piecing. Perhaps when I create more designs using strip pieced fabric I will get a feel for the difference and understand more. Maybe I just like the cat :) I drew a pattern for a 4 inch horse block that was far too complicated for my skill level - and the pieces were just too tiny to work with. I simplified it and came out with this - same size but about half the pieces. And, it turned into a unicorn.
And here is an experiment with having the lion be at a distance - the head and tail are turned applique and the rest is pieced.

Now on to other beasts...

Beginning Beasts

The first week of 'Patchwork Beasts' is over and here is a sample of initial experimenting that I've done . The last one of the rainbow/horse is something I started in 'Spiritcloth' that is at the quilting stage. I will do another post about what I'm learning and of further work in progress.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This daisy from my garden wanted to leave a lasting impression behind after having smiled its sunny face in my kitchen window for some time. So out came a scrap of the hydreangea dyed silk, which I sandwiched with the flower between two canning jar tops and steamed, thinking I might get an imprint of the flower. Here is the surprise I got - more colour outside the circle then within! I don't really understand why this would happen, but now that I know it's a possibility I might put it to further
experimentation. Last night I heard Inge Heuber speak at my quilt guild. She is a pioneering artist in quilt art from Germany who makes textile art with the seams on the front using many colours she hand dyes on cotton. While her work is in numerous publications, has hung in prestigious shows like Quilt National, and is in the collection of the New York Museum of Art and Design, what I will remember beyond that and the beauty of her quilts is her long term dedication to her art form even when she knew no one else quilting in Germany, when she received no recognition or money for her work and yet she knew it was what she had to do - it was not a hobby, but her life's work. You can see her interpretation of one of her beloved places into textile art here: And today is the final day of the Spiritcloth class I've been taking from Jude Hill.
As our class parts ways, I am appreciating having taken a dip into Jude's world along with others for sharing and learning.

'Patchwork Beasts' - another online class with Jude begins tomorrow and who knows what will wash ashore for me there? There's always something - maybe something I didn't even expect!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Colour Curiosity

Seeing that a lovely gift of pink hydrangea was wilted, I was going to add it to the compost, but then I wondered what colour would they dye silk?

A soft and subtle result, which will be a good contrast with a darker or brighter silk.
Or, I could overdye it with other vegetation...

Friday, July 9, 2010


With yesterday's very hot weather , I headed for Botany Bay and Botanical beach with their stunning scenery and interesting tidepools. Layers of sky, trees, rock, water and undersea life - and perfect temperatures.
The tide happened to be out and we were able to cross the coastline on the rocks from one bay to the other. I took nearly 300 photos - so much texture, line, shape and colour to sink into!

Some of the holes filled with sea life are very deep and I could imagine that I was walking on ice broken by fishing holes, instead of rock. I met many other creatures enroute, including these ones:

Maybe some of them will show up when I take the Patchwork Beasts stitch class that Jude Hill is offering, beginning next week. And here is a video clip with sentiments I appreciate, of Renate Hiller speaking about the value of handwork...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colour Shift

Roses and lavender on silk

Leave this multi-coloured patterned colour.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I knew that this horse I drew would be challenging to needle turn applique because of its irregular and small shape, but I decided to try it anyway. Sometimes I am not as successful as I wish - however - I think the horse leaping over the rainbow expresses the importance of taking the leap and not being deterred by the unknown . My piece 'Weaving the World' did not get into the Sooke Fine Arts juried show.
And, I will focus on new views to growth.

I've added the word 'bounce' because it came to me in a dream last night and made me think of the importance of being resilient - of bouncing back and continuing to seek new growth. So I continue to stitch...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nature's Gifts

On a walk today I saw this:
And this:
And this.

But best of all I found these leaves from another species of Eucalyptus that gave me lovely salmon, browns and golds. The right side is a close up and I'm very pleased with the result.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Today's Yield

Some applique...
Natural dyeing with Eucalyptus leaves on silk - giving a surprise of lemon colour...

More dyeing with daisies on silk velvet...

And avocado dyeing results on silk and silk velvet on the bottom - their previous colours above.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Butterfly Dreams

This mostly silk cloth I am working on is so light that these lavender stalks
easily supported its weight, while also enfolding it in their lovely scent. And then a butterfly appeared and settled on the cloth... I took it along with me to the Cowichan River - holding my tree in mind as I walked in the forest there. But maybe it is really a butterfly in its early stages and those two green limbs will one day be wings allowing the tree to lift off on the wind... I'm calling this one Butterfly Dreams.
And here is a gift I received yesterday - Indigo plants to dye with!! Lots of fun ahead for me.