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!

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.