Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In My Beginning

I have a quilt on my bed that often reminds me of my Aunt Stacie. The first time I met Aunt Stacie was in 1967. This was Canada's centenary and my parents and I travelled across Canada from the west coast to visit our "family" farm in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The farm has been in the family since 1783, when "mad" King George granted the land to those who remained loyal to the Crown and travelled north to settle in what would become Canada.

When  I visited with my parents the farm house had only just had indoor plumbing installed two year before.....and there was no electricity! Remember this was in the 1960's, I had never been to a home that didn't have power!

At bedtime I went upstairs with my coal oil lamp, as many generations had done before me in that house and snuggled under many layers of handmade quilts.....a novelty to me as we were a "wool blanket and bedspread" family!

Aunt Stacie showed me how to do some simple hand piecing and I remember travelling home with a little kit of fabric, pins and thread. Although I've long since misplaced the little kit, I still remember the warmth and love in that home with dear Aunt Stacie. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Colour Play - Dye, Dye, Dye

I've been filming an exciting workshop that has been developed especially for quilters, stitchers, mixed media artists and everyone in between. You will learn basic colour mixing theory using Procion MX dyes. Then make simple colour gradations, colour to colour runs and develop a range of fabrics and threads using a planned palette showing value, tints and shades. You will learn how to prepare threads for dyeing by skeining and tying to keep them from tangling, what fabrics to use for dyeing and easy ways to rinse and wash your fabrics. Dye recipes and excellent written step by step instructions will be provided and there will be a focus on safe studio habits.
You will have an opportunity to ask me questions at anytime and you may choose to download the video for viewing at your convenience.
Join me for a fun filled, colourful workshop that shows you how to create gorgeous hand dyed  threads and sumptuous fabrics!
Registration is open now, so sign up for a special price of only $15!!!

Register HERE: http://susanpm.com/online-workshops/

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Is Okay Good Enough?

When I have a bit of time and want some design inspiration I often head over to Pinterest. Are you familiar with this virtual bulletin board of eye candy? There are pictures and information for every kind of object that exists in the world and lots more that exist only in our imagination!

If you'd like to see what my Pinterest boards look like then go here:

I've pinned pictures and inspiration on a wide range of topics, but lately it's been about gardening. I found great pictures of "garden glass art" and took a quick trip to the thrift store that supplied me with lots of glass bowls and plates. A tube of Gorilla Glue and I was sticking pieces together with wild abandon!

Mine aren't quite to the quality of some that I found on Pinterest, I was excited to start and used what glassware I could find. The glue seeps out around the edges, but I'm thrilled that the pieces actually stuck together and I'll be placing the flowers in a far spot in my garden. I figure no one will get up too close to see the messy details......

But what about my art work and quilts? Is "okay" good enough? When we put ourselves out on display for all to see, what happens when others think we've missed the mark? That our work is just "okay"? Then I think we've let the viewer down and we have disappointed ourselves. I have lots of work that has fallen short, it lays in bins in storage or it hit the garbage without being completely finished. Sometimes it's work that "at the time" was the best I could do. But it no longer reflects the artist that I am today. So it languishes in the dark and perhaps will go in the garbage during my next cleaning purge.

Because my glass art might be "okay" but my art needs to be more than "good enough".

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oh Dear, It's Happening Again!

Every year about this time my fingers get itching to be outside in my garden. Things are starting to pop up, the lawn has been mowed once already and I can barely stop myself from driving into every garden centre I pass.
Does this happen to you?
Do you fight it or give in?
I've done a bit of both.....a couple weeks ago I planted some lettuce blend on my deck. I thought it was a bit chilly so put some tomato cages over top and then plastic bags for a bit of a greenhouse effect. Little green shoots are starting to pop up. Is it lettuce or more of that darn chickweed?

Sometimes my approach to my art is a little like that....I start too early, when there's just a hint of an idea. I get excited and jump into something before my concepts are fully formed. I have the design in my head and it looks perfect. But then after a bit of work I realize that success would be more likely if I had spent a more time planning and testing before jumping in at the deep end and not knowing if I was getting lettuce or chickweed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Paisley....it's Everywhere!

I've made some Thermofax screens with a "paisley" theme, using designs that I had created in my Art and Design class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center http://www.gailcreativestudies.com/ a few years ago. In the class each student choose a theme to work with and develop into designs that would eventually become a handmade book. Here are some pages from my book:

Did you know that Paisley is a term for a design using the boteh or buta, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian origin. Such designs became very popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries, following imports of post-Mughal versions of the design from British India, especially in the form of Kashmir shawls, and were then imitated locally. The pattern is sometimes called "Persian pickles" by American traditionalists, especially quilt-makers, or "Welsh pears" in Welsh textiles as far back as 1888.

Paisley was particularly popular during the Summer of Love, heavily identified with psychedelic style and the interest in Indian spirituality and culture brought about by the pilgrimage of The Beatles to India in 1968. Also, Fender Guitars made a Pink Paisley version of their Telecaster guitar, by sticking paisley wallpaper onto the guitar bodies. Prince paid tribute to the rock and roll history of paisley when he created the Paisley Park Records recording label and established Paisley Park Studios, both named after his 1985 song "Paisley Park".
(from Wikipedia)
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Azerbaijan's team sported colorful paisley trousers! See them at: http://www.fastcompany.com/1557207/olympic-uniforms-take-home-gold-ugly

Here are some of the images I developed during my classes, I think they make terrific Thermofax designs:

You can order them in small, medium and large sizes here: http://fabricimagery.com/category/paisley/


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Printed Fabric Bee

I'm a bit late with this post, my apologies! I've finally succumbed to a head cold and did something I rarely do......I went to bed! Much better now!

The Queen of the month is Lesley Riley, a teacher and coach who has given so much inspiration to the fibre world! Thanks, Lesley! Lesley's fabric request was for mosaic designs with a Gaudi colour scheme:

I decided to focus on the circles and use my "Blue Glue Batik Blast" technique. I began with white fabric and Elmers Blue Glue Gel:

I squeezed out circle designs onto the fabric, but they are a bit faint in the picture. I let the glue dry:

Then I diluted Jacquard Dye Na Flow to about 50% with water and painted into the circle areas. I always loved working these designs ever since I was a child, not sure why....

Once the paint is dry, then I heat set with a hot dry iron (I use a piece of muslin overtop to protect the iron) it won't damage the dry glue! Then a soaking in hot water will soften the glue and you can wash it out in the machine.

Here's the full piece of fabric that I sent to Lesley:

And here is an image of all the participants 6" squares. If you'd like to win these squares then enter for the drawing at Lesley's blog: http://networkedblogs.com/UpVWt or on Facebook at the Printed Fabric Bee: https://www.facebook.com/theprintedfabricbee