Friday, January 21, 2022

Week 6 - In the Studio...Time Flies!

In the past, every time I would try to write a blog post, it became a struggle to come up with something to share....now it's more like having a chat with a friend - YOU! I am grateful for you in my life, many thanks!

So what was this week like? A couple days in the city cut into my creative time quite a bit. But there's a story here: when we packed up our household and moved full time in a much smaller house, our intention was to stay 3 or 4 years and then move back to Victoria. So we packed things up  as though that was going to happen - the "good" stuff went into storage and we took the "essentials" plus a bit more. Now we can't see ourselves moving back to the city - we love, love, love small island life! But....what do we do with the stuff in storage? It was time to go through it all - did I mention the "stuff" is stored in our daughters basement? And she lives in our Victoria house?

So boxes were unpacked and sorted, some stuff is being sold, some donated and some given to kids (yes, you do want THIS!) and some is coming back to our small island and crammed into our small house! So that's the story!

In the studio - where the fun happens:


I dyed some fabric with black using my Shibori Shiraz technique, I wanted good contrast as I hope to make a thermofax design (the lower image) I still need to tweak it a bit...


I'd like to use maps as a theme for an upcoming so I used a road atlas as inspiration for some sketches on newsprint. I worked out three different designs of roads and trails in BC.

The facings are finished and the beauty shots are taken! Introducing:  Loading on the North Shore! My latest piece in the Industrial Shoreline series! It measures 41" x 58" and its the first time I used Thermore as the batting, so much easier to use. I'll be posting this on my Gallery page and inventory list this weekend.

I've also finally, finally, finally filmed my latest YouTube video - demonstrating my Shibori Shiraz technique,  I'll edit and post it next week, but this has been a huge step for me, just a lot of procrastination!!!

Also a bit of Colour on Ice dyeing, a couple Zoom meetings and now it's time to open a bottle and add to my Shiraz collection for Shibori! How about you?



Friday, January 14, 2022

Week 5 in the Studio

Either I didn't get much done or I just didn't take many pictures! I think it was a week of finishing loose ends and tidying up - I keep the studio pretty organized, there's little room for storage but I think its time to purge a few things - maybe next week!

First off, I made more of my Shibori Shiraz fabrics - I have another piece I want to work on and I need LOTS of water fabrics...


Each colour requires a new dye bath, so while it takes a while each step is fairly quick. Here they are drying on a rack....


They get washed and rinsed by hand and then ironed before putting back on the bottles. The top one is finished, the others will need at least one more dye bath.


Friday, January 7, 2022

Week 4 in the Studio - I'm Starting to Like This....

While in the studio today, I was thinking about what to post in this blog and finding myself looking forward to it! Normally I'd be dreading what I could write about...now I'm excited by what I've done  - not much this week.

Let's see...we had a snow storm...and I forgot to take the pretty pictures!

Then a day without power, although I did a Zoom call using the hotspot on my husbands cell phone - not great, but it got done!

So just a couple days in the studio - trying things out, experimenting and testing!

First I prepped some tubes for shibori dyeing ... and no, I did not drink all of that!

and did a couple of colours....I have a mostly unused lamp that is good for drying the tubes. The fabric will have at least one more dye bath but they have to dry in between.


Then I painted some papers, getting ready to make some vessels for an upcoming show. Lots of ink and using masking fluid for lighter lines.



The papers were combined with dyed silk into a vessel, a whole new learning curve! I searched on YouTube for paper bowls but didn't find what I wanted, eventually I looked for potters cutting clay slabs into different forms and tried out one shape, similar to a Maltese Cross! I found a few other shapes by the same potter that I'm excited to try!


The corners are cut out and then the edges are overlapped and stitched in place.


The bowl is very light and delicate and provides an interesting form - well worth further explorations!

I also had a FaceTime art session with my granddaughter - do you like my puppy?


I had taken the black and white piece home (mentioned in my last blog post) and was excited to start working on some cross stitches in heavy black and white thread. After half a dozen stitches I realized that it wasn't what I wanted - darn!

So with a small square as a test piece, I stitched straight lines with invisible thread - didn't like the look of that!
I pulled out some variegated black/grey thread which turned out okay but I preferred the black/grey twist (both are poly threads) and by playing a bit I found I liked the diagonal lines that cross each other at an angle - sort of diamond shapes but the parallel lines are irregularly spaced. It's going to be a LOT of stitching! 
I want to test out the markers and see if they'll come out with water - the fabric had matte medium or gesso applied and I'm not sure if they'll be easy to remove!


And I revived the sourdough starter that had been at the back of the fridge for a very long time...I think this looks good!



Saturday, January 1, 2022

Week 3 in My Studio

Welcome back to the studio - it was energizing to be back at work, visiting family and celebrating Christmas was so special - even with an "unusual to us" snowfall....that kept me at home for a couple days. But we kept the fire burning, hummingbirds fed and just enjoyed the rest!

I'm working on creating small vessels that combine paper and fabric with a bit of stitch - its been challenging to figure out the sizing and where to cut - lots of paper mockups were made and destroyed! I have a busy week as some of these will be going into the next exhibition at our local gallery.

I'm planning on a video tutorial on the process soon. With a bit of research I also discovered many other shapes that can be made - endless possibilities!




Last week I showed some images of painted sweeps of black across some vintage linen, I had cut them up and was playing with the arrangement. I got one that I was totally happy with and sewed it together. I am planning to "quilt" it with small x stitches across the surface rather than using more traditional machine or hand quilting.

The other pieces have not played well together and still require some work....we will see!

 I'm happy with this one, the hint of a large X in the middle is appealing and it seems well balanced.

This one is not behaving and I have already made adjustments from this image, it will end up smaller and may even be smaller still.....coasters, anyone?

I have some new Art to Carry Textile Totes set up in my Etsy Shop - they are so much fun to make, each one is different and its a great way to experiment with surface design ideas...

You can check them out here: Art to Carry


There's still time to register for my Cloth to Codex Workshop, I would love to share my ideas and inspirations with you....here's a little video that explains what you'll be learning: 

https://vimeo.com/658057548

You can sign up HERE



Thursday, December 23, 2021

Week 2 - My Studio

 Another week that was spent mostly out of the studio - but still art stuff going on...I was busy getting the Cloth to Codex Online Workshop lessons set up on my website. It was fun to revisit some of the videos and look at how I might plan each lesson. Last time they were all on a private Facebook Group and it was fairly straightforward to link to them. Now I need to add more text, still images and edit the videos a bit and set them up as "evergreen" meaning they never expire. AND, there's room for you, I would love to have you join in this creative journey.

You can sign up here:https://www.susanpm.com/2016/11/23/cloth-to-codex/




Thursday, December 16, 2021

My Week - My Studio

 Many attempts in writing a blog post where I feel I need to be profound and deep....sigh! But I thought for the next while I'll share my ideas, exercises and experiments in the studio over the past week. I'd love to have feedback and perhaps you have some similar or very different ways of working that you could share with me and other readers.

I've been selling my sketchbooks and totes in local galleries and in my Open Studio, so it was time to paint up some more canvas. I use a 7 oz. unprimed canvas and then paint a layer of clear gesso (diluted 75/25 with water) to provide a good tooth to grab the colours. These are three different colour combinations;





I then add imagery with thermofax screens and stencils over all the canvas, trying to complement the colours and theme of the  background/base colours. Each image takes time to dry, so I usually take a couple days to add enough to satisfy me.



These are the small and medium size sketchbooks that I cover with the painted canvas, I love that each one is different from the other. Cutting different areas of the canvas provides a bit of serendipity!


Then, from the smaller pieces, I back them with felt for coasters. I had precut the pieces and fused to the felt with a bit of a margin, I loved how the black framed the canvas and gave me an idea for making totes or small purses/folios with some black wool....someone else suggested hats and I thought they might have a slight "Cossack" theme to them!

*****

I was clearing off some papers on the table and thought Id add some more marks with my favourite acrylic ink - Daler & Rowney Indigo - I just used the little dropper thats inside the wee bottle and ran it over the surface of tissue paper. In the one below I then spritzed it with a spray bottle.


Even if it never becomes anything more - I love seeing the colours moved over the paper and bleed around the edges.

These next two were painted on and left to dry - I definitely think they will get more work done - not sure quite yet what that might be!



*****

My big accomplishment this week was to finish quilting a new piece that has been waiting ever so patiently! I had open studios, some traveling and other commitments so it took a while to get back to it!
Its fairly large - 45" x 60" but lighter than some of my previous work, I tried using Thermore for the batting and it was ever so much easier to get through the machine!


Here it is pined up on the wall, I check over carefully for loose threads and making sure Ive not missed quilting any areas. I am pleased that the difference in batting seems to keep it from distorting and it may not need to be blocked.


Here it is cropped and looking a little tidier. Once I have added the facings I will put it back up, adjust the lights and take the formal "beauty" shots for the website and submissions. I'm still thinking of a title and am leaning towards "On the North Shore" as the photo was taken of the docks on the north shore of Vancouver - any other ideas?


I cut and sewed the strips for the facings and laid them down on my table...I loved the way the neutrals all looked so soft and relaxed...

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I'm cutting you up...yes I am! Every couple of months I take this piece of painted linen from the drawer and put it on the design wall...its about 25" x 35". I want to cut it up into squares and rectangles and I'm trying really, really hard to not make it "too precious" thinking that I'll ruin it....if it doesn't work out I can make something different! Do you find that a struggle too? Fear of Messing Up - FOMU - theres really no reason to think that way, but....

*****

More Shibori Shiraz....in between times I made more Shibori fabrics using my Shiraz technique - so easy to do with wine bottles and juice jugs....I have a very good blog post explaining my process here: 




*****

Finally - leaving the best til the last...I'd love for you to take part in my upcoming workshop Cloth to Codex Online - seven weeks of wonderful creating with books, scrolls and folios - jammed with great videos, a private Facebook Group and Zoom meetings - you can get all the details here:





Not too bad a week, I guess I got quite a bit done and it feels good! How about you?



Saturday, October 23, 2021

Rounding Up a Few ....

 October has been a busy month for me....I started with my first Studio Tour/Fall Crawl on Pender Island! In other years we were traveling (southern Spain in 2019) or last year....well, you know what happened there!

I loved all the visitors to my studio - new name - Salish Sea Textile Art - with a nice sign for the window but hard to get a close up!


And you know what happens for a Studio Tour - major clean up - making it all nice and pretty - actually I stored a bunch of stuff in the office next door (sheepish grin)! but I got some great STAS hanging systems set up - they look so good and available through Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/stas-45-inch-stas-picture-hanging-systems-cliprail-in-white-1pk/1001027056





I call these the "glamour" shots! I tried doing a short video tour but it was quite shaky, so I'll practise on that!

After the tour was done, we actually got on an airplane and visited family in Quebec - we loved the fall colours...eastern Canada does them far better than the west coast!



Now the studio is back to its messy/normal! I have ice dyes batching, I've started quilting this piece on the table and have a huge order for my Art to Carry Textile Totes...I love my life and I'm so happy that you're part of it!