Monday, October 17, 2016

Desert Island Designs....

I've been thinking....and I have a PLAN building up in my mind and I need your help. I have this shoe box:

and it's empty.

And I'm thinking that I'm going to be stuck on a desert island. I can take any art or fabric supplies I want but they all have to fit into a shoe box. Just a regular shoe box.....

OK, I'm not going to a desert island but my idea is that we often make excuses for not making art - we don't have the right supplies - we don't have the right colour - we don't have time - we don't have this and we don't have that. I am so guilty of that very complaint and I don't really need to be. I have everything, absolutely everything I need to make art. I may not have exactly the right fabric, thread, paper or paint but I can make art with what I have, right now at this very moment!

So I want you to help me fill my shoe box ( I have a plan, but it's a secret for now, shhh!) I want you to tell me what I can take in my shoe box - OMG, this is risky!

Can I take some paint:

A thermofax screen:

Coloured markers:
 A colour wheel:
 Black markers:
 Some frames for editing:

 Please let me take fabric:

 And perhaps a paint box:

So I'd like to hear from you! Over the next month, I'll be assembling the shoe box (and if there's room in it, I'll add a couple things, like needle and thread!)
Then I can tell you about my PLAN! I think it'll be fun and I want you to be part of it! So please let me know what I'm allowed to put into my shoe box for Desert Island Designs.....

Sunday, September 18, 2016

About that Task.....

Why is it sometimes the simplest tasks that would take just a few minutes become those huge mountains that seem insurmountable? Such as regular blogging? Its not as though you, dear readers want long, lengthy, pithy, you want the visual, right? After all we are artists, so we want art....
OK: here are some pieces that I finished in time for a show....that happened a while back. OK, it was January! But they are photographed and on my Etsy Shop:

Etsy doesn't show the work at its best, so here they are:

Considered View #1

Considered View #2

Considered View #4

The backgrounds are screen printed images of an abandoned shipyard and the overlay is textured and painted fabrics that have been cut away to expose a grid style. They are then mounted onto black felt and a 1" deep painted canvas board.

Here's a couple photos of the shipyard to show inspiration:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Screen, Print and Stitch - Online Workshop is Open!

Screen, Print and Stitch

Are you looking to build your skills as a surface design artist? Do you want to learn specific techniques that will help you to create beautiful fabrics for your art? Perhaps you are new to the world of mono printing, thickened dyes, screen printing and stamping and would like a solid foundation of knowledge that you can refer to again and again?

Then “Screen, Print and Stitch” is made just for you! In the past, these lessons have been separate workshops, but since so many of my students enroll in more than one of my surface design workshops it made sense to build a special group package with tons of value-added information. So now “Screen, Print and Stitch” is a more extensive journey into helping you build those skills that you’ve been wanting for your textile art!

Early Bird Registration
Sign up NOW for only $120.00

In this nine session workshop you will learn:
• to make your own “homemade” gelatin plate. You will use stencils, doilies, kitchen tools and more with textile paints and explore all the possible ways to get colour onto cloth.
• to make your own hand carved stamps as well as using found objects for more layers of colour.
• different ways of creating roller prints with cardboard tubes, texture and sponge rollers for amazing effects, take out the rolling pins!
• to make simple, basic silk screens that will meet all your needs and the appropriate paints and tools to use.
• to use freezer paper stencils and other masks, then move on to using soy wax on the screens with thickened dyes.
• other screen printing techniques will be demonstrated including Thermofax screens, using gel mediums for foil and special effects and how regular “blue gel glue” can be used as a resist!
• creative ways you can make pattern and colour on fabric using resist techniques such as PVC pipe and other tubes with painted and immersion dye baths
• and one lesson will be focused on the exciting results that can be achieved with stitched resists

Does this sound like a lot? Remember each lesson is paced so that you can learn at your own speed, you can download the video to watch anytime and to keep forever! With “Print, Screen and Stitch” you will get:
• all nine videos with over 5 hours of information packed value
• two Thermofax screens mailed directly to you with a creative design for printing
• a bonus lesson on compiling your creations into a unique and special fabric journal
• pages of written notes with all the dye recipes, resources, tips and hints that you’ll find so valuable for future reference!
• you have the option to join a private Facebook group that’s just for you to post pictures, see others inspiring fabrics and much more. It’s the best and most immediate way to get together!

Sign Up Now and get a Bonus!

A Private One-on-One Surface Design Mentoring Session – just for you!

30 minutes of conversation, advice and more….that will move you along your Surface Design journey! I’ll work with you to decide the best way to spend those 30 minutes together….it might be Skype, email, phone or ??

I’ve been a dyer and surface design artist for over 15 years. I’ve taken loads of workshops, I have advanced diplomas in textiles and art. Name a technique, I’ve tried it. Sometimes it takes lots of skill and practice to achieve success. And I get that….its part of being an artist!
Now, I want the same for you! I don’t keep anything back, I’m willing to share everything I know and I want you to have the value of what I’ve learned.

All of this is just for you because I know that colour and beauty is what we crave and having it on fabric just makes life so much better, right?
Be part of the fun and learn all about the new ways to create those gorgeous fabrics!

Learn More and Register HERE

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Perfect, Perfect Day!

It's been a busy, busy summer....mostly preparing for our youngest daughters wedding that happened last Saturday! It's been fun, crazy, and sometimes just a tad tiring! Our house turned into "bridal central" with piles of boxes, bags and what not scattered throughout. My studio became the hair and makeup salon and my dye studio was crammed with all the odds and ends just to get them out of the way!

We had our nails and toes made pretty....

We made cute little glasses....

We tried to keep the little ones clean! 

We walked down the aisle....

We danced....

And we celebrated love.....

A perfect, perfect day for everyone!

Now I have my studio back and there's going to be lots of work done! More to tell you about soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Colour Blocking - Registration is Open!

Do you love dyeing fabric? Are you looking for a new way of creating luscious colour that changes across the surface, almost by magic? Curious about screen printing?
Then sign up for my Colour Blocking Online Workshop that begins on August 4th. In this workshop you will learn all the necessary steps to make amazing fabrics that will inspire you to create wonderful art.

In this workshop you will have a 45 minute video lesson (that you can download and watch forever), a printable PDF with all dye recipes and step by step instructions. In addition you'll be able to leave questions and comments on the password protected webpage. There is a private Facebook group to join, if you wish where other students share photos of their work and talk about their Colour Blocking projects.
 So what is Colour Blocking? Its a way to use thickened dyes as a base for printing with a silk screen. Thickened 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 the artist a wide range of possible uses for their created cloth.

  I’ve been using thickened dyes for several years and love to screen print with them in a technique I call “colour blocking”. By using an open screen, with no images masked on the screen, I can achieve large areas of one or several colors that can mix and combine on the fabric.

 Students sometimes ask about fabrics....they wonderful part about Colour Blocking is its versatility1 You can use any fabric that works with Fibre Reactive dyes, so think of cotton, linen, hemp and silk. In fact any natural cellulose based fabric is perfect! Can't decide? Then why not layer some fabrics on top of one another! There's so many great effects that you can create with this technique, its not surprising its one of my favourites!

 Are you thinking this is for you? After you register for the workshop, then check out my free video on making a print table, you'll need one for the workshop. You can get the video here:

Can't wait to get started? If you are a Quilting Arts magazine subscriber, then my article about Colour Blocking appears in the October/November 2014 issue!

I'd love to have you in my workshop, so sign up now and be one of the first to learn Colour Blocking!
You can get the supply list when you register and be ready!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Do You Think?

I'm just finishing a piece that I want to enter into the Quilts=Art=Quilts Exhibition, just need to take out some basting and get it photographed. The deadline is July 25th so I've got masses of time, right? I'll post a photo of it once I know if its been accepted.
So here's my dilemma: I want to continue working with the theme  that began with the first piece, an abstraction of an abandoned shipyard in North Vancouver. I took several photos years ago that I keep coming back to as design inspiration.
But I can't decide which one I should work you get to vote! I like them all and will probably create a piece from each of them, but I just want to get started!
In no particular order, should it be Photo#1:
 Photo #2
 Or Photo #3
You can leave your vote in the comments below.... and in case you are wondering, here's link to some history of the site:

Monday, July 4, 2016

In Between Times....

Right now my life seems to be lived in 30 minute increments, there's a lot going on in our house and with our family....all of it good, just busy. So I grab what time I can and go with the flow!

I've managed to do some more ice dyed for my Etsy Shop: and I think they are gorgeous!

 Cinnamon Hearts

 Crocodile Rock

 Red Hot

 Midnight Eyes

My Old Blue Jeans

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thinking It Through - Line

I just returned from two weeks holiday spent exploring the northwestern part of British Columbia - this is our year staying closer to home..... when traveling I've been know to take different kinds of holiday snaps. Texture, line, shape are the elements that interest me, mountains and water falls are nice, too.....My DH has even suggested that I might consider having people in the photos....why, I asked?

We visited the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site and thoroughly enjoyed learning about some early BC history, the impact that the fisheries had on the economy and the diversity of people who worked at such places. I snapped away with my IPhone (they take good photos!) and have come home to edit and play around to see what I could do with the images.....messing about in PhotoShop!

So think about canned salmon and the process:

these are the lids used on cans when they were soldered with lead to seal them.....

using a colour filter

rotating the image - those lines are wonderful

repeating the image in an irregular grid

cropping the image and turning into indigo with another colour filter

repeating the image several times

cropping the image and rotating it again. Does this say Shibori?

Now you might ask, why do this? As you know I work with fabric but this kind of work/play in PhotoShop gives me more ideas to explore the next time I want to work in an indigo vat, cut fabric, plan a new Thermofax screen or design in my sketchbook. The editing didn't take long, if something doesn't appeal to me then there is always the "undo" button and its another way of working and seeing.
Are you developing designs this way? Tell us about it.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Are You Wondering If It's For You?

I thought it was time to explain a bit more about my Online Workshops and in particular, my upcoming Ice Dyeing Revealed. I've been asked to elaborate......

As a surface design artist, I know you love colour and pattern…don’t we all! We understand the importance of subtle value shifts, repeating imagery and glorious contrasts….that’s why you are so creative! But maybe you are looking for a new method to add to your toolbox? Something that helps you move beyond anything you could imagine…..
I have a method of dyeing that is almost like Forrest Gump…..a surprise every time! By using ice as the carrier for dye powders you will achieve the most incredibly amazing patterns and textures, like nothing you’ve done before…

After this workshop you can build up a fabric inventory like no one else, each piece of fabric will be a new creation, ready for your artistic skills! You will be able to:
• create yardage, not just small pieces but long lengths of gorgeous fabrics
• dye coordinating patterns in different colour ways
• make home decor items, cushions wall hangings and more
• have a ready stash of fabrics for whenever you feel inspired
Doesn’t this sound wonderfully exciting? You bet! there’s a lot to be excited about!

So how does this work? Here’s a bit about Ice Dyeing Revealed workshop:
• First, you will have access to a password protected webpage that’s just for you. I’ll send out the password and all the tidbits the day before the workshop begins.
• There’s a place on the webpage for you to post questions and comments and to chat with all your fellow students.
• The webpage will also have the PDF of all the class notes – download it, print it and use it as a handy reference and reminder, it’s that simple!
• You have the option to join a private Facebook group that’s just for you to post pictures, see others inspiring fabrics and much more. It’s the best and most immediate way to get together!
• You’ll be able to download the video from the webpage, it’s yours to keep forever and ever, and ever….

Wondering about the whole “online” thing? Here’s some of those Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to sign in or be at my computer at a certain time?
      Nope, its all recorded before hand, you can watch it whenever you want….in your jammies with a cuppa!
When does the workshop start and finish?
      Ice Dyeing Revealed begins on the date on the webpage. I generally close off registration one week later so that all students get the maximum benefit from interacting with each other in the workshop and the Facebook page.
      I’ll give you a heads up when I am closing that session of the workshop, usually 2 months from the start date. That gives you time to download the video, just in case you haven’t. But you’ll always be part of the Facebook group, able to see the work from previous and future students
How do I know what supplies I’ll need?
      There’s a supply list ready for you just below, just print off and get ready.
Where can I buy the supplies?
      I’ve got a great resource list on the PDF with links to the major dye houses around the world
Do I need previous dyeing experience?
      Heck no! It’s all easy and I’ll be there to guide you through all the steps to beautiful fabrics.
What about safety? I don’t know what I’ll need?
      All the dyes and chemicals you’ll be using are safe when used in a responsible manner. I’ll spend time showing you how to set up your workspace and using some simple safety equipment.

What’s this Ice Dyeing about, anyway? All fibre reactive dyes need two things….well actually, three. First they need fabric, well yeah! Then they need a dye activator, that’s the stuff that make the dye permanent on the fabric. Then they need water/snow/ice to dissolve the dye and move it onto the fabric. If you’ve dyed fabric before, then you probably used water, right? Well, I live in Canada….the home of eternal snows, not! My climate in southwestern British Columbia is decidedly Mediterranean…no snow. So I have turned to ice as the next best thing…actually I think it’s the BEST thing. The ice acts both as a carrier of the dye powder as it melts but it also slows down and changes the reaction time so that the dye reaches different parts of the fabric at different times and that’s the MAGIC, folks!

In Ice Dyeing Revealed here’s what we’ll cover:
• the dyes and chemicals that you will use
• safe studio practices, how to set up your dyeing area
• equipment such as measuring cups, colanders and more
• getting the fabric ready for dyeing
• the “magic” folding patterns – it’s all in the folding!
• dye colour choices
• setting up the fabric, the ice and the dye
• batching time – be patient, young Luke…..
• rinsing and washing your fabrics
• getting excited!

Are you ready? What's keeping you back? Just let me know....
Or SIGN UP here:

I'd love to see you in class!