Friday, March 11, 2011

Check this out!

Lanark County Quilters Guild presents
"Quilts on the Tay"
August 12-14, 2011
St. John C. H. School
2066 Scotch Line Rd,
Perth, ON

Monday, September 07, 2009

Cloth and fantastic weather!

What more can I say?

These pictures say it all…well most of it.

No rain predicted for another week. I can leave all this out overnight and not worry – day after day. Perfect art cloth weather. I feel so blessed!


This is my print table with silk screened images on a length of silk broadcloth.


Detail up close.


I checked out the new SDA workshop CD and had to try Kerr Grabowskis deconstructed technique. These are my dye painted screens drying in the sun. I found the technique was OK but I was disappointed with the few decent pulls I was able to get given all the up front work.


I do love the fine outline I got around each shape, I only wish I could get more…


I find that Jane Dunnewold’s improvisational silk screening gives me more consistent results. These are the painted interfacing stencils I used today, drying in the sun. What is so nice about this approach is that the stencils are reusable.


Dye paint mixed and ready to go.


This is a 10 foot length of broadcloth. Half is silk screened and the second half is ready to be screened.


Close up of dried cloth, ready for the steam pot.


I am having to steam my cloth this week as I forgot to refrigerate my dyes. Yes, I left them out over the weekend – ugh!

So I am having to use my pre-mixed concentrates as acid dyes so as not to waste them completely. This works pretty well as long as I can keep the hot steaming process outdoors!


Close up of a panel I painted today.


A new screen I made late this afternoon, air drying, ready for tomorrow’s screening.

More sun forecast, more shine and therefore more cloth! Wow.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I joined the MOB club!

Not that MOB…but the mother of the bride (MOB) club!

The big question is - how does one keep up an art practice when faced with one of these events?

In my case, being a doer and a crafter, I couldn’t resist volunteering for almost everything, and with a daughter who adores the DIY concept, specially for mom, I have been very busy. Thank goodness I can’t cook…

Here is what I came up with for 50+ invitations. Given that I love surface design I had to include some hand dyed cloth…. so I decided on a folio design that would fit in a legal sized envelope to keep postage at a minimum.


Our couple will be honeymooning in France and have adopted a ‘fin de sciècle’ theme for their wedding party. I thought of the painter Marc Chagall . He painted so many brides and grooms floating over French skies and many of them over Paris! I found this image, it is from his painting Les Fiancees de la Tour Eiffel- ‘The Bride of the Eiffel Tower’. It was painted around 1900, perfect!

chagall 2I wanted to create a kind of folio that when open, would reveal a series of inserts, each with specific information pertaining to the ceremony and reception.

The the outer folio would be made with hand-dyed fabric. I chose a light green for this as the ceremony will take place in a fern-laced wooded area. The inside of the folio would reveal a detail of the selected image printed onto cardstock and fused to the cloth with Mistyfuse – it worked like a charm. Using a makeup sponge, I dabbed all card edges with Fray Check to keep any rogue threads ‘checked’ – this also worked well.

folder open

This image shows the inside of folio, completely open. The lower left section is then folded up to create a pouch for the card inserts. Using a #11 exacto, I made two small cuts just under the chicken. This is how I attached the ribbon that would keep the folio closed as seen in the picture (below right).

I wanted to add a fern image to the outer front of the folio and tried making my own stamp – bumpkus! Not enough time and not owning a thermofax, I capitulated and bought a readymade stamp. It worked great!

fern makingfront with fern

Below are two images showing the folio open. To the left is one printed insert and to the right all the inserts are in place. The inserts were printed with the help of the groom’s father, using a script that evoked an early 20th century ‘pen and ink’ look. open inserts

Below, on the left are a couple of early prototypes that didn’t quite make it…. I find that it always pays to make practice pieces – the end result is so much better. These now reside in my ‘salon des refusés’! On the right is a snap showing 50+ note cards that I stamped with the fern image. Once I start stamping it was hard to stop. The bride now has ready-made customized thank you notes.

This MOB likes to provide a full service. By mid-August I should be back to my regular activities.


notes & invites

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gotta Felt…

I have been doing a lot of dyeing lately… and over-dyeing, and triple dyeing, and then discharging (removing the dye) and then re-dyeing….Enough already, I need a little break. 

There are times when I feel the need for some needle work, back up in my studio, the one equipped with AC. I miss my machines and I have piles of colourful scraps of wool, silk and cotton awaiting mindless work – yeah! 

IMG_0394 IMG_0395

The best (most fun) is my needle felting machine.  It makes an awful punching, grinding sound as it pushes and pulls one fabric into the other.


This work only requires bits and scraps of cotton, silk, or wool, in fact any material that can withstand abuse and I have lots of that.

It is a lot less cerebral, more intuitive, relaxing and playful.  I normally have a radio or TV on in the background, so I can tune in or out at will, and away I go with the needle felting machine: chung chung chung chung chung,….a lot of noise emanates from my studio during this process!

Meanwhile I pound one colour and texture into the other.  Sometimes I will flip the piece over and pound some of the background back into the foreground.


  I keep my sewing machine handy or embroidery floss and add some line work if needed. 


If I don’t like the results, I simply apply another piece of fabric on top and pound that in. What is underneath disappears into the substrate and the piece is rescued again.


Oh, and for icing on the cake…I run a hot steam iron over the front and back.  This not only blocks the piece but creates a gorgeously smooth felted surface that further bonds this new matrix together. 

I love the resulting mix  - the texture and sheen of this new matrix is almost like paint at times.


Friday, July 03, 2009

The Heat is on…

27C (81F) – perfect!  My summer art cabin is in full production. No hot water, no AC but lots of cool breezes to keep this worker happy. 



No phones, m0 computer, just a small radio with an antenna that manages to pick up NPR from across the river.  Oh, and the sound of gulls - divine!











Thursday, June 25, 2009

Black you say?


Yes, indeed, Silk black in fact, Pro-Chem’s #610.


My favourite for silk cloth. Drop a little in a wet sink and look at all those colours! Add a bit more water and the colours merge into a rich black and all its various shades of gray, and best of all, they don’t split – no halos, no spotting, and no tell-tale under tones. Just black. This is specially important when I am over-dyeing a resisted item like the one below and I want a no nonsense black background.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Shows ,Shows, Shows…

OK, the heat is on - -

1) Quiltfest this week in Brockville. They want photos of all the quilts in the show…170+. I offered, they accepted!! Ugh, but a great way to hone my Photoshop RAW skills – the lighting in the hall was awful. It’s win win all around.

2) Quilts on the Tay - Kamloops to Halifax, an exhibition of traditional and contemporary quilts and wall hangings sponsored by the Lanark county Quilters Guild in Perth, ON. They want my stuff by mid-July. OK, I can handle that.

3) Marianne van Silfhout Gallery at St. Lawrence College Intrigue into the 1000 Islands.– this show runs throughout July & August. My work is already on sight. Piece of cake!

4) Ahh, then there is the Mallory Coach House. TIA’s very own gallery opens with a Strawberry Social next week: June 28th from 1 to 4pm. Thousand Islands Arts (TIA) finally has its vey own gallery: the Coach House!


It is located in a very old but beautifully restored stone house in Mallorytown Ontario. We plan to showcase the work of TIA artists and artisans all summer! We hope to attract day trippers and road savvy art enthusiasts to this delightful little town on the shores of the St Lawrence River.

All this wonderful exposure, means that I am busy pulling work out of cupboards, drawers, and off of shelves for review, dispatching and and shipping. In short, all real art work comes to a grinding halt…sigh.

I dutifully check out my stockpile of ‘mostly finished’ work, looking for any tell-tale ‘unfinished bits’, threads, pins, etc. I then mop up, dust off, sew, bind, sign, photograph, record and occasionally even redesign some of these…not too often, but occasionally that will happen. What can I say? It is another way to work.

And then, I look forward to the openings and the odd occasion to be interviewed and represent some of these events on TV. As it happens, next week in fact -- I will polish my face, put on my Sunday smile and head on up to Ottawa, to the CTV studios on George street, with work in one hand and speaking notes in the other. Hopefully the airing will not take place at 3am – but then, who knows? Some collectors are insomniacs…you really never know.