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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Marking with Stitch

In among some travels and trips off island to meetings and appointments I've been working on sample pages for a book that has been bouncing around in my head. Rather than making small samples that then get lost in drawers, I thought if I put them into a compilation of some sort then I might actually refer to it from time to time. So I'll steal a title from Emily Carr and call it "The Book of Allsorts".....
Here are some of the pages I've done so far on Khadi paper which I love but its darned hard to find locally.

 Even though I think its a bit "twee" I like the limited use of colour and the delicacy of it. Also the combination of watercolour and stitch - it includes the scraps of a well worn doily.

 Simple lines and dots with a bit of thread - unpretentious but dramatic!
 This is the reverse side of the one above, the red loops work well but the brush marks are a bit wimpy....

 Good concept of overlay - but not enough contrast, I'll work on more of a similar idea...

 It's okay but not much else....

 Free motion zig zags....I'd like more variation in size, density and orientation

 The stitches work well but again, the background isn't dramatic enough...need more negative space.

 This I like!

 A bit like tree bark...I think if I work into this more with marker or washes it might be better.

 Yup - its good, machine stitch design isn't the best choice however....

 Probably my favourite....

 Yeah, as a composition its ok, otherwise just "meh"
So again, the reverse side of the one above - a better combination of shape and line - simple but acceptable....

What have I learned about my ideas so far with these samples? I like the simplest of marks combined with basic stitches, not because they are easy but rather they seem to be more engaging, spontaneous and have some elements that are suggestive rather than literal. The hand stitches are more organic, less precise and structured.

My Book of Allsorts" will continue to grow - I'll add binding soon - but a few pages left to build.

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Been All Black and White....

Even with lots of visitors and fun this summer, I've managed to get a fair bit of work done - some of it the essential paperwork but also the essential art work! I've made some more books and found that to be a very welcome creative release - make one that leads to another and another and another - just the way it goes....

I made several small-ish books that were totally fun and then a few more serious....I had some beautiful linen that came from a thrift store or something - it has the most luscious drape and hand to it. I knew I want to use it for something special and I've dyed some and also painted on some of it - just big circles....then I added torn strips of shibori that really seemed to echo the lines so nicely.

Tide Lines

Tide Lines - unfolded

The long strips were pressed on the fold lines and the book is bound only in the centre, then the folds/pages come into the centre.
I'm so pleased that Tide Lines will be part of the Victoria Arts Council  - Celebration of BC Culture Days to be held at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre, September 20-30, 3220 Cedar Hill Road. Please stop by for viewing!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Ready for My Closeup!

I'm in the midst of finishing some fabric books to enter in a couple of upcoming exhibitions. I took the last stitches in one that I've titled "Tide Charts" and since its so very long, traditional art photography just wasn't going to work.
So I drove down to the far end of South Pender Island and got set up for what I'm calling "glamour shots", basically photographing in unique situation which I hope will showcase my books to their best advantage......I have a lot to learn! With all the wildfires here in the province, its been so smoky and overcast, not nice to be outside at all.....at the beach it was like a fog, I was barely able to see more than a couple hundred yards in any direction. But being overcast meant there were fewer shadows to contend with.

"Tide Charts" was placed on rocks, on the shoreline, on logs and more. No one picture was totally outstanding but I think a couple of them captured what I envisioned.

Not a good idea to photograph straight on!

Not enough contrast on the log....

Not bad, but fighting with the big rocks....

Best one, I like that the flow is mirrored in the seaweed.

Totally lost - shipwreck! 

I also took some of my other books and was pleased with those photos....its an entirely different approach than taking pictures on my design wall....sitting on the ground looking up at them, making certain the grass, bugs, and leaves are out of the way or not! At least my subjects were still and not jumping about or flying off!

Good value contrast

I managed to get some of the water behind!


All in all, it was good fun, and I learned a lot - plus I'm so happy to live where I can go out and do things like this. The air quality is supposed to improve and I pray that the fire crews will ahve rain soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How Do You Handle Design Challenges?

Imagine being given a photo of Italian art to use as design inspiration.....how would you handle it?  Would you use the imagery as it is - a realistic portrayal? Would you take pieces or elements of the photo and go from there? How about colours....or size? So many choices, so many decisions!
A few months back I was invited to create a piece of textile art based on "The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico......as a group of artists we were each given a different art work to use as a "jumping off point" for our own work. I'm not sure what images the others were given but since the exhibition is at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, I imagine the art was all Italian.....haha!

Have you ever taken part in something similar? How did you approach this? What ideas and decisions were you faced with? Sometimes it's easier to work within parameters than being given free rein. I began by turning the art into a rough portrait format and thinking how I could place the figures, I also loved the multicoloured wings of Gabriel.

After some reflection I realized that I really had never used figures or people in my work and I didn't want to start doing so......amidst all the design work I wanted to explore how this piece might be come a beginning for a new series. I had taken masses of photos during my recent walk on the Camino de Santiago and had some great interior shots of the cathedrals I had visited:

So then I started to focus on the building part of the artwork - the figures appear to be in a "cloister" which is generally "a covered walk in a convent, monastery, college, or cathedral, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other". It was beginning to make sense for me...look up to the soaring arches of the space above>

I wasn't sure about the columns, so those were eliminated. I was working at simplifying the design to some very basic shapes.

I'm  looking now with the idea of construction - how am I going to put it all together? As my career began as a traditional quilter, I'm familiar with a wide variety of piecing methods so I decided a "stack, slash, shuffle" method was the best choice. the widths of the sections would be the same but I could work with different lengths and thereby achieve a variety of rectangles and get some visual interest going....

The fabric had been chosen a while back, luscious hand dyed vintage linen with wonderful drape to it - a little on the heavy side but I knew the texture and thread count would be perfect.

Construction began and went smoothly - put together in less than a day.

I had pulled out a dozen or more threads for the quilting but in the end only used four - I thought some metallic would be good but changed my mind. 
And so "In the Cloister" heads off for the exhibition shortly and the shapes, imagery and design will be considered for the future, perhaps this winter would be a good time to begin!

In the Cloister

I hope you'll join me at the Exhibition Opening - September 12th at 7pm. at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.


Friday, March 30, 2018

So Much Changes....so much stays the same....

Since our move over to Pender Island we've been busy getting our home organized for full time living, trips back to the "city" plus planning for the next few months.

One of the tasks I've enjoyed, even if it sounds a little strange,  is to get up in the cold mornings and get a fire lit in the wood stove, make a pot of coffee and enjoy the warmth moving through the house. Our routine has changed so much with my DH being retired and there's not as much rush to be at certain places with certain deadlines....I've been enjoying that part so much!
My studio is mere footsteps away, so easy to pop in for a minute or two or work but also easy to be distracted! However, thankfully there are deadlines and I was able to complete this piece over the past couple weeks. Its one of my largest at 44" x 62", part of my "Industrial Shoreline" series and destined for a group show in June. 
Retired to Rust

Maybe you're thinking that I'm incredibly well organized to have all my work ready so far ahead of a deadline....well, there's a good reason!

Hang on...its a long story!

Tomorrow I leave my (new) home to celebrate Easter with family in Victoria. On Sunday I travel to Vancouver and stay with family until Tuesday when I fly to London UK to stay with family (very short visit)....until Wednesday. On Thursday I fly to Madrid and then to Pamplona (Spain), overnight in Pamplona then on Friday I take a bus to Roncesvalles so that on Saturday (one week after leaving home) I can begin my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that will take me 6 weeks and 800 kilometers to walk.

....my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....
The tube carries my trekking poles as I can't carry them on the flights, they'll be in the checked baggage

I should say that my "backpack" is packed, a mere 14 lbs. to last me through 3 months of travel (I'm planning on more travel once I'm finished in Spain) I guess I could say that I missed the "backpacking through Europe when I was a teenager, so now it's time"! But now we have lists...Google with far too much information and Youtube to explain endlessly all the items we need for our travels!
My route is the red line across northern Spain
 I'm excited, but also a little nervous. Happy and a little fearful...all natural feelings I know. My art practise will change, my supplies are very limited but that should never be an excuse! A small sketch book, a little watercolour set, a pencil and tiny eraser, a water brush and my iPhone with a good camera. What else do I need, right? and its all about keeping it lightweight, LOL!

In case you've not heard about the Camino, here are a couple links that you might find useful:



So....I'm off then! See you soon! If you'd like to follow my journey, I'll be posting on Facebook here:

Monday, February 12, 2018

How Did That Happen?

It's  been a roller coaster past few weeks....with major changes in my life. All good things but it certainly made blogging and creating more than just a bit challenging.

Back in November I had a very success Studio Tour with great sales and lots of visitors stopping by! I sold Antique tiles, a shadow applique piece that I loved so much. I had a little bit of a tear in my eye as I wrapped it up for its new owner. but it went to a good home!

The following weekend I had a massive Studio Relocation Sale - downsizing as we prepared to pack up for our move in the New Year. I cleared out lots of books, fabrics and all manner of surface design supplies. I think I made some friends very happy as they carted off lots of great bargains!

Then the chaos began, as I sorted through the remaining supplies and had to decide what could be packed away and be put into the storage container and not access for 2-4 years! And then what items I could fit into my much, much, much smaller new studio.

Moving day came with a large truck to take our belongings over to Pender Island and our next home (its not a "new to us" home as we've used it as a vacation property for the past 10 years). We got everything into the truck - with virtually no room to spare.

A few days after that the BIG storage box came and two strong men to pack that up! Again, it was filled to the brim - and we said good bye to the overflow from our Victoria home......just to clarify, our move to Pender Island could be described as semi-permanent, we are renting out our home in Victoria and making the move to Pender for a few years so we can have an opportunity to travel and have a different lifestyle.

Once the kitchen was unpacked on Pender my first goal was to get my studio organized. I had mapped out a general idea of how I wanted to arrange things and it has worked out OK. Still some tweaking - getting the design wall set up, bulletin board in place, making it a little prettier (and removing the closet door) and trying to find where I put everything...it's all good and I am so happy to be here!