Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Where in the World??

I was slightly surprised and embarrassed....when I noticed my last blog post was dated the end of February. Oh well, I'm always willing to start afresh and have another beginning! Plus, I have been on a different adventure and I have lots to share with you!

Fellow residents from Canada, US, Lithuania, England and Australia

 Where do I begin? Well, so much of my work in the past few months has been taken up with preparing for my textile residency in Iceland during April. Guess what? It was fantastic, amazing, wonderful and so much more!
If you were part of My Iceland Narrative then you were actually on the adventure with me - photos, videos and so much more, I'm thankful for your participation!

Selfoss, this is the waterfall you can walk behind!

There were nine other artists at the residency and we had several conversations about where and when and how one might apply for a residency - there are literally dozens of opportunities out there just waiting for you!

The view from our workroom

Here's some tips on finding a good fit:
  • Research it well, make certain its a place you'd like to go - summer in Arizona? Maybe not! 
  • See who else has gone there - I emailed several former residents with questions about the Icelandic Textile Centre - what the place is like, facilities, what in the town etc.
  • What art does the centre focus on? Many places are looking for specific mediums or want a selection of artists working in different mediums. Textiles are often unknown to others in the art world, are they open to fibre arts?
  • How many people/artists are there at any one time - there's probably a sweet spot in numbers. Do you prefer to work in isolation? Or do you want people around for ideas and conversations?
  • What is provided? Food? Accommodation? Transportation? Be really clear about this!!!What is in the agreement, what do you need to provide and what does the residency provide. This can make or break your time away.
  • What is the cost? Some places charge per week, others are funded for differing amounts - make sure you know before you go!
  • Expectations during your residency. Are you expected to teach? Or to take a workshop? Will there be an exhibition at the end? Are you asked to leave artwork behind.
  • Can you bring family/friends? Several residencies offer companion space - do you want someone there with you?
  • Would you stay longer in the area to tour around? I spent an extra week in Iceland with my daughter and it was a lovely time to spend together showing her parts of the country.

Here's some links for possible places to consider - I already have a couple in mind for future applications!

a huge list that you can search through for a good match

search through for possible places - also good for exhibitions, grants and much more

more interesting places to visit!

another searchable database

Maybe you'll find some that appeal to you! I know that I'll be looking!
Next time....maybe the best residency is.....

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tome, Tome, Tome

Have you ever worked on a project and reached a "sweet spot" almost by accident? When the piece turned out even better than you expected? Or maybe it was just a little remnant that you almost ignored and it became THE one?
I was practising  with some cotton organdie - thinking that these were definitely PRACTISE pieces and that I'd continue on with the 'good" stuff in a bit.....
and WOW ! I love that fabric! It is crisp, yet has a gentle drape without being stiff - mind you, its the good quality organdie - not the cheap stuff and so hard to find....I had bought a metre a while back and now that's its almost gone, I'm starting to panic if there's no more at my favourite store...

I tore the fabric into strips and began with some mark making - using Dye Na Flow paints - they don't change the hand of the fabric and are easy to dilute and can be heat set - perfect for this work. I also added some finer lines with gel pens - a little asemic writing!

I folded the strip, intending to press the folds flat into pages as you might find in a book, but stopped myself in time and fell in love with the gentle folds. I set up the table with a paper drape and take what I like to call my "glamour" shots -

The next strip I tore from the opposite end of the fabric and because it wasn't cut straight off the bolt, ended up with a long triangle - not one to waste, I folded it lengthwise and dipped the fold into Old Brass Dye Na Flow and let it dry in place. I then folded it up and stitched down the centre.....

I love the centre line where the fold was and think one of the best qualities is the way I can manipulate the curves of the book and move it into slight variations....

The third tome is  slight variation on the other two - it hasn't been stitch down yet, one corner of folds is held together by a small clip - I'm not certain how I'll manipulate it yet but I also like the "rosette" quality of the middle photo. I'd also like to add some stitching, perhaps in a fine black thread. the nice part of the series, even though they are so simple and basic - there's endless variations.....

So, there we go...more ideas for consideration in my Iceland Narrative - BTW, have you signed up yet? Just hit the top right button on the side bar and see what awaits you....

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Another Textile Tome

Be careful what you start working on...it can become slightly obsessive! but I'm making these books as research for my Iceland residency so I think I can be excused....all in the name of research, right? Check out my residency: https://www.susanpm.com/an-iceland-narrative/

The accordion book can be made in any number of formats and layouts and there are plenty of ideas on Pinterest and other websites....just try looking!

I had a piece of linen that was painted but I added more "text scrawl" with black Derwent Inktense blocks - oh I love those so much! They are highly pigmented and very, very intense. After drawing I put a water wash over top to make the marks spread. Let the fabric dry and then fused an old magazine page onto the back.

For this one I had in mind a spiral version where the cutting started from the outside and gradually went into the middle. My page was 9" and I was going to make the folds just 1", but decided that might be a little small so I scored the folds every 1 1/2".

I didn't worry about making the folds until I had cut the spirals with an art knife along the scored lines.

After the cuts I began folding from the outside edge, going back and forth and squeezing with my fingers. Once its all folded it looks so small! Another Teeny Tiny Textile Tome!

It's fun to have it uncurl and be rather flippy-floppy to take the photos. I'm still working on how to take the best pictures but am so happy with this little book! I want to make them much, much larger but not sure how I'll handle the size!

I'm considering how I'll add stitch to these, maybe before, maybe after fusing and cutting. I also think I could create collage with fabrics and/or paper, paint afterwards or even dip edges into a dye pot....

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Making Tomes....

I've spent the last few days experimenting and trying out ideas to prepare for my Iceland residency (more about that later) and since the residency is titled (my working/focus title) A Textile Narrative, I've been playing about with some book formats....

I started by cutting random triangles into some painted paper -a large 12" x 18" sheet of newprint - and then folded it into half one way and quarters in the other direction. You can see a how to here:

I didn't worry too much about where the triangles were placed and was pleasantly surprised and the windows that appeared in an intriguing way.

The next one was a large sheet of newsprint where I had glued down strips of marked fabric ( I should have taken a photo of that). I tore the strips after the glue dried and and stitched them together in a long, long strip, adding free motion stitching along the way....

I then folded the strip up as an accordion fold, playing around with the length between each fold....

I tried to take some "glamour" shots on the slate beside our wood stove.....I loved the way the little book stood up but obviously need to work on the photography! But as a trial I think it was entirely successful!

Right now my studio is a mess as kitchen renovations have pushed boxes and shelving into my precious space....but that's another story! I noticed a rumbled strip of cloth on the table, ironed it flat and then folded it with an accordion fold and stitched the folds together on one end..... viola! It's my "Teeny Tiny Textile Tome" - a little more than 1" high!

Lastly I glued some painted papers into one long strip and folded it into even lengths. Then started cutting out windows - starting with large ones and getting progressively smaller. Again, I'm happy with the results - although this one rather predictable - it certainly offers up further explorations....
And I spent last night watching YouTube videos on photographing 3D objects....

Now here's some fun! Would you like to come along (in a virtual way) on my Iceland Residency? I'm planning an exclusive opportunity to share my adventure through videos, blog posts, photos and much more. I'd love it if you would consider being a Sponsor for my Residency, there are three levels of support, starting at just $15.00 CDN. You can read all the details here:

Þakka þér fyrir (that's Thank You in Icelandic)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Colour Blocking Online Workshop

I'm gradually moving my wide selection of online workshops to an "on demand" setting. Why? I'm finding that students want to access workshops when they see them, rather than waiting for a set date. Plus, I'm on the road a bit more these days and find a different selling platform to be helpful.

So, I've just finished setting up Colour Blocking within my Etsy Shop, meaning that you can get immediate access to the workshop as a downloadable lesson.
In Colour Blocking you will get a thorough PDF with hints, tips and dye recipes and a separate supply list with sources for buying dyes and chemicals.
There's a 40 minute video that you can watch at your convenience, plus you can download and keep the video for as long as you like...my workshops NEVER close!

You might be wondering what Colour Blocking is....? It's a term I use to describe the process of screen printing with thickened dyes rather than the more common textile paints.

Why thickened dyes....these dyes do not change the hand of the fabric, allowing the fabric to remain soft and supple despite repeated applications, plus thickened dyes are transparent, so layers of dye will change intensity, value and colours, giving you a wide range of possible uses for their created cloth.
The colours can mix within the screen during applications and you can also paint over the screened images so additional colours and values can be achieved.
It's also possible to mask out areas of the screen (I use soy wax) and create amazing secondary or layered imagery.
Circles painted on screen with soy wax
You can also layer fabrics, sheer organza on top and cotton or linen underneath and get fabulous depth of colours. Or mask out sections of the fabric with freezer paper.....

In the workshop you are welcome to ask questions and I'm only a mouse-click away!
Masking with soy wax plus mixing colours in the screen
All of this  - plus enter the code: BLOGPROMO for 10% off the workshop....

Here's the link, I hope to see you in the workshop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/676048561/colour-blocking-online-workshop-printing?ref=shop_home_feat_4

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Make It Now! Simple Fabric Journals...

I had recently posted a couple pictures of my Fabric Journals on Facebook and Instagram and had so many enthusiastic responses that I thought you might like a brief tutorial....they are easy to make and can be make with scraps, leftovers, added stitch or what ever you have on hand. If you can find the exact size of notebook I use, then be flexible and find something else!

The notebooks I buy are from Opus Art Supplies - at a very reasonable $$: https://store.opusartsupplies.com/sagro/storefront/store.php?mode=showproductdetail&product=80709

Cut a piece of fusible web the exact height of the book - in my case it's 8", then open the book and measure the width of the front and back plus 1" for overlap inside - you'll see later why! I prefer Steam a Sean 2 Lite, but you can use any that you prefer.

Then start going through your stash, this is a good time to use up small experiments, bits of different weights or types of fabrics, projects that didn't get finished or were "less than successful". Use one fabric, or lots. Audition the possibilities and start making "slabs", sewn together elements - make sure they're larger all around than the piece of fusible web.

Fuse the web onto the back of your "slab" and trim all around - I leave just a little smidge - maybe 1/8" at each end of the "slab" so the fusible doenst peek through onto the paper. of the book.

Peel off the paper backing and position in place on the book cover - fold over the excess onto the inside book cover and press down - that's another reason I like the Steam a Seam - it's a little sticky....

A light pressing with the iron on both sides - use parchment paper if you're concerned about paint transfer....and it's done.

A couple notes about my process - I sell and give away a lot of these so I make 2-3 dozen slabs in one go and build a bit of an assembly line - they are great gifts - everyone needs a notebook!
When constructing the "slabs" I avoid having a seam on the book spine, makes it tricky to have it adhere properly.
Easy and fun - maybe you can gather some friends and teach them how to make these?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Waiting to Load - new work

In the midst of working with my Cloth to Codex Book Making Series I am also working on a continuing series titled The Industrial Shoreline. This series examines the commercial parts of our harbours where ships and cargo come and go - an essential part of international trade.

I've just completed Waiting to Load - my latest work which was inspired by photos I had taken during a boat tour of St. Johns Harbour in Newfoundland just over a year ago.
Here's the completed piece and the photos below:

My process began by creating the sky with a collage of my mark making fabrics that had been overpainted with white to subdue the contrast. These were sewn together to create a solid piece.

The wharf and buildings were added with fabric that had fusible web on the back, these were appliqued to a backing fabric once I was happy with the composition. The large dark piece at the bottom became the diagonal part of the wharf, that was the trickiest part, keeping the print vertical while cutting at an odd angle - I should have paid more attention during geometry!

The remainder of the buildings, the shipping containers and the water were added next. I did enjoy creating the water fabrics using my Shibori Shiraz method - it involves drinking a nice red vintage!

Now it's done, here are some closeups of different parts.....

Its fascinating to look for the details of cables and supports in the cranes - its all so complex!

Here's the water using my Shibori technique - it was fun to quilt it too!

The red shipping containers - I see some threads to clip - ooops!