Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quilting Project

We have just finished our fourth session in the quilting project and several of the women have finished their squares.  They have created some lovely pieces with doves, trees, tranquil scenes and words of peace.     I can't wait to see how it will look once we assemble the quilt/wall hanging.     Shirley and I are enjoying working with these wonderful women and I am again made aware that people can communicate with one another without sharing a common language.   I have taken some photos of the work and will share them on my blog once we have all of them.   We are having a break over the holidays and will resume in January to complete the project.   This is where the machine savvy stitchers will take over.   I have discovered that I really enjoy teaching and encouraging women's creativity.

I found out last week that I placed second in two categories and third in two categories in the annual Hike the Highlands photo contest.   Soon as I have some free time I'll post the photos here on my blog.  Or you can see them on the Hike the Highlands Cape Breton website.

I am also presently working on a piece to submit to a calendar contest.....I hope I can finish it on time.  I have only two weeks to go......and there's still all that Christmas shopping, decorating, cleaning, and cooking the holiday dinner....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exhibition at Wabi Sabi

Ten members of our fibre arts group, Out of the Box, are presently having an exhibition at Wabi Sabi on Wellington Street in Ottawa, Canada.  The exhibit runs till January 4, and tomorrow, November 30, we will host an open house with tea and goodies.   Anyone in the Ottawa area who is interested in seeing our work is invited to drop by between 3 and 5 pm.  Wabi Sabi is an interesting shop selling yarns and felting materials.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Peace Quilt Project

I had a very good show last week in Ottawa and now a friend and I are involved in an interesting new venture.   I was approached to help out with a quilting project where 12 immigrant women from many different countries will each make a square for a quilt symbolizing what peace means to them.    The finished quilt will hang in an immigrant services organization.

I met with the women yesterday and we got right down to work.   They are eager and enthusiastic and had lots of great ideas for their squares.   Some of them do not speak English and spoke through interpreters.   We started by creating a design on paper.   Some of the women had already researched and brought in copies of their ideas.   I think they will create a lovely message with this quilt.   Shirley and I are very excited about this project and I will ask if I may take pictures as we work and put them up on my blog.  

I am particularly excited because I started quilting 15 years ago when someone asked me to make a square for a women's strength quilt (which was to be donated to a church that welcomed the most vulnerable and needy of the community).   As I created my square thinking about where I found my strength as a woman I was won over to the creative process of creating an art quilt.   At the time I didn't even sew (in fact I hated sewing).   I haven't stopped sewing since that time.    I wonder if any of the women in our group will go on to become quilters.

Before we could finish the quilt, our organizer went away to work for Amnesty International so we finished our individual squares and mine still hangs in my hallway (and brings me strength).  I brought it in yesterday to the workshop to show the women.  I hope it will inspire them.   Here is a photo of my first quilt.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Glebe Craft and Artisan Show 2010

This weekend I will be exhibiting my art quilts at the Glebe Craft and Artisan Show.    I will be introducing my new fabric art cards and photo art cards.   I also have a series of 4 x 6 miniature pieces.   If you live in the Ottawa area please drop by for a visit.

The show takes place November 19, 6-9 pm, November 20, 10 - 5pm, and November 21, 10 to 4 pm at the Glebe Community Centre at 175 Third Avenue in Ottawa.

Here is a preview of some of the work I will be displaying.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My New Site

I have a new site on wordpress that my son set up for me.  It is still in the development stage but I have managed my first post.  I'm still trying to figure out placement of pictures etc.   Please bear with me until I figure out all the intricacies of the site.  I invite you to visit.  Just click on link for 'juanitasauveartquilts' in my favourite links at right.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Time to Finish UFOs - The Day Lily

I'm back from Hiking the Highlands of Cape Breton.   We had a lovely time as always and I'll share some photos once I have time to download and edit.

But now it's time to start finishing up some unfinished work in preparation for upcoming shows etc.  This one is called ' The Day Lily' and started with a photo of a beautiful vermilion coloured day lily in my garden.   I worked extensively on it last winter.  I used some hand-dyed fabric that I had dyed in class last fall and added some ready made batiks.   After many many hours of hand stitching I was done but I couldn't decide on a frame so I set it aside.  I tried black, white, various shades of colour......but was not happy with the result.   I didn't want it bursting out of the background but had pictured it more photo-like -  a bright center framed behind a light or dark coloured matt but I didn't want to use a regular matt and frame.  With input from other artistic folks, I decided on a creamy matt-like inner fabric frame and a narrow contrasting outer frame.   I chose a dark green for the outer frame that was present in the background.   I also found the perfect fabric for the backing that was covered with orange-red lilies. Here is the finished piece.  It's not very big, maybe around 12" x 12".

And here is the back.  I just need to add a sleeve.  It was very labour intensive but I am glad that I persevered.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Way Up High and Close to the Edge - and Awesome!!

This just about summarizes the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland.   We were amazed at every turn of the path.  At times we thought we were going to walk right over the edge into the ocean below.   We saw and heard whales from our perch on the cliff tops.   There was a large pod of orcas off the coast in August and the radio and TV channels had several reports about them - it was an unusual event.  We were lucky enough to see them twice.  I have quite a fear of open heights but by the time we were finished I was taking photos from the edge.  I think you learn to trust your instincts and overcome your fears when you are challenged.

Colourful Houses of St. John's, Newfoundland
Here are some examples of what we experienced in the sun, rain, and fog of Newfoundland.  Next week I am off to Cape Breton for their annual Hike the Highlands event.

The Fog Rolls in on Mickleleen's Path

Puffins on the Island

Very Close to the Edge
View of Petty Harbour From our B & B
OMG! They're Orcas!
Puffin at Sanctuary near Witless Bay
The Pulpit near beginning of Spout Path
Sugarloaf Trail - Logy Bay to Quidi Vidi
Just Keeps Getting Higher
Almost to Quidi Vidi - Can't Wait to Sample QV Beer on a Hot Day

Eerie Landscape on a Foggy Day
Puffin Pair on the Island                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Fabric Miniatures

I have been working on some 4 x 6s and 5 x 7s for an upcoming show in November.  Here are a few of the finished pieces mounted on 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 matts.     For the trunks of the trees in one piece and a few of the rocks in another I have used my rusted fabric from our experiment this summer.  I am really having fun with these small fabric pictures.  It's a break from the larger ones that I have been working on lately.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back from the Rock

I just returned from 10 days hiking the East Coast Trail in Nfld.   It is a fabulous trail!    We hiked around 87 km of trail in weather ranging from hot sun to cloud, fog and pouring rain - even a thunderstorm!   We saw several whales as we walked along the cliffs and even saw a pod of orca whales - who were seen attacking a minke whale the day before we spotted them.   I'm glad I wasn't a witness to that event.   However when we went out whale watching a few days later we did not see a single whale - lots of puffins and mures though.  We strolled the lovely city of St. John's, visited craft shops and galleries, and photographed the colourful houses.

I have some great photos which I'm sure will be inspiration for wall hangings and maybe paintings.  As soon as I download my photos I will post some on my blog.  Now to quilting.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rusting in Progress

In my last post, I forgot to include a picture of the wine bottles wrapped in fabric - all ready for the rusting to begin.   Inside the fabric is a layer of steel wool.   Just add water and wait........Shirley tended them all week keeping them damp.

ready to rust!  only 6 days to go.

When we removed the fabric it was a mess of wet smelly bits of rusty steel wool.    Taking it apart was a bit of a challenge.   But when we saw the results we were determined to try it again.    Now, whenever I am out cycling or walking I am always on the lookout for old rusty treasures.

It's been a busy summer with BBQs, music nights and now, a friend visiting from Newfoundland.   I am working away on my quilting in spite of the hot weather but most of it I am keeping under wraps for now.  My commissioned piece is past the crucial stage and I am enjoying the process.   I was accepted into a show at the Glebe Community Centre in November and am working on some smaller pieces for that weekend as well.  In less than 2 weeks I am off to Newfoundland to hike the East Coast Trail.   I know I will come back brimming with ideas.    Since it has been so hot here all summer, I am not in the best of shape for hiking.   I am hoping it will be cooler (but dry?) out there.   I think I'll be taking it slow and steady.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fabric dyeing/Rusting

It's been such a busy summer I 've hardly had time to blog.   My friends and I have been playing with setacolour dyes on fabric, just painting on the colour, throwing on some salt and waiting to see what happens.

This last one was completed by Shirley previously. This is a photo of Shirley and Iris watching our work dry.

Shirley had purchased a rusting kit recently so she invited us over to try it out.   We placed steel wool on the wet fabric and rolled it round wine bottles (no, we didn't drink the wine first).   We fastened it with elastics then wrapped a copper wire round it.   Then we placed the bottles on trays containing a little water.   They were left for 6 days and Shirley kept watering them every day.   Then we unwrapped them from the bottles, washed the fabric adding an agent to stop the rusting (I'll have to check with Shirley on this - can't remember what it is called).   We loved the results.   Iris used fine steel wool for hers, the others were done with coarse steel wool and we could see the difference.    Shirley also wrapped a rusted bolt in a piece of fabric and it gave some interesting effects too.   Here they are - I can see tree trunks....

That's all for now.   By the way, you've met mom, maybe dad, now it's time to introduce the whole family....
These little guys were sleeping in my elm tree about 35-40 feet up in the air.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Touch of the Sixties

No blogging for over a week and now I'm posting twice in 12 hours!!  I hurt my wrist last week and was unable to do much for a couple of days.  Happily it's back to normal and I was able to complete this piece which I call "Flower Power Revisited".    Starting with a flower garden doodled with Tsukeniko inks and a comment from my friend that it was shaped like a flower power bug, my design turned into a beetle car driving across a quilted 'road' leaving behind a trail of flowers.   Along the top of the car I embroidered the words "when will they ever learn?" Does anyone remember that song?  I'll give you a hint - it has 'Flowers' in the title.    With shiva paintstiks and my own homemade stencils I stencilled more flowers and words like 'peace', 'love', freedom', happiness'.   Does anyone remember the songs of  "Hair" the musical?    When I began, the piece was kind of whimsical but it soon took a turn in the road just like the car itself which I placed on a slightly downward route heading off the quilt.   In an earlier post I talked about the philosophy behind this piece.  I guess in these days of wars, oil spills,  consumerism, instability, destruction of the environment and temperature change,  I wonder what kind of movement can bring us out of it this time.

Most of my pieces have a message but usually it is a subtle one.   My concern for the environment often results in quilts depicting my own connection with nature - I believe that encouraging people to feel connected to nature is the best way to save our natural world and ultimately our existence.   The message in this piece is still a bit subtle I think.

Here is a photo of the funky fabric I used as backing.

Grid Challenge

Here are the completed grid design pieces from our latest challenge.   Shirley, Iris and I each took an 11 x 14 stretched canvas and designed a piece of fabric art, fitting it into the back of the canvas.   The only other rule was that we had to use a grid design.   We came up with totally different pieces.

Shirley's piece is an interesting array of doors.   She used shiva paintstiks and a stencil to decorate the frame.                                          

Iris designed her piece around the four seasons.   I love the striking colours on the black background.

I already posted my piece but I'll include it here as well.  The grid is in the background - eight fabric rectangles surrounding a photo of a favourite pathway.   I used lutrador painted with inks and caran d'ache watercolour crayons for the appliqued trees in the foreground and added highlights with shiva paintstiks to indicate the sun shining through the trees.
Aren't they all great examples of using a grid design!   This was quite a challenge to complete -  a grid design was never my favourite.  Interestingly it has given me ideas for more.

As I mentioned before, our next challenge is a tryptych - each of us will complete 1/3 of the pattern designed by Shirley.  Can't wait to see the results.

In  my next post I'll show you my completed piece called  "Flower Power Revisited".   This one took me in another totally different direction.

And I'm finally starting my commissioned piece with a Mexican theme.  I purchased some Robert Kaufman solids (beautiful shades of Kona cotton) and am planning it in a folk art style.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Quilting Challenges

In my next post I will show you photos of our last quilting challenge - using a grid composition (I have already posted mine).

That project completed, my friends and I got together yesterday to decide on our next challenge.   Shirley had asked us to bring 3 magazines with us.   She proceeded to place them in a bag and asked us to each pick a number.  Then we had to reach into the bag, choose a magazine without looking, turn to the page number that we had chosen and use whatever was on that page for our inspiration.    With much groaning and complaining we complied.   We barely missed a page full of dead birds and another of a sexy pregnant woman.    We did have some interesting subjects - a bearded paper mache man, some impressionist art, a very colourful grasshopper, a beach with a zillion sea gulls, an Egyptian motif......It was coming down to the wire when someone reminded us of the tryptych we had wanted to do and we all jumped ship.  We are so fickle!!

So we set aside the above-mentioned challenge for now and perused the mags and Shirley's photos until we found a picture of beach change houses on the coast of England with great perspective.   We combined several aspects of different photos and Shirley drew a pattern which we cut into 3 sections.   Each of us has to complete our section separately.   The only rules were that the lines had to meet at the edges (ex houses, skyline etc) and that we stick to the chosen colours (but we can decide on the shade, fabric, plain or patterned etc).  We also decided on a folk art style which suited me because I am just starting to work on a commissioned piece representing a location in Mexico which will also be done in a folk art style.   I'll keep you posted.

Here is a list of ideas we have for future challenges:
1.  Through a microscope -  Start with a piece of patterned fabric - Enlarge an small area of the fabric.   Re-create the enlarged section then applique it onto the original fabric and quilt it.  We got this idea from one of Cathy Miller's quilts.

2.  Sketch to music and create an abstract art quilt.

3. Self-Portrait (this got a lot of groans).  I think it would be fun!

3. Take some fabric scraps, glue, scissors, and a stretched canvas outdoors and work live -  'en pleine air' (I got this idea from someone on my online quilting group and adapted it for us - thanks!)

4.  Take a photo of the centre of a flower and create an abstract from it (I like this one).

5.  Find our 'spirit animal' and quilt it!  Or alternately decide what animal we think we are most like and make an art quilt........a sloth???    Really!

Well this should keep us busy for awhile.   Feel free to try these.   Anyone have any more ideas?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Concerts, Gardens, and More Critters

I'm finally getting around to blogging about the concert I attended last Sunday night in Ottawa.   Cathy Miller, the singing quilter, writes beautiful songs about quilting  - historical songs that bring tears to our eyes, like The Rajah Quilt, and very funny songs like 100 Ways to Hide your Stash.  Her husband accompanies her.  Every quilter in the room (and their partners) had tears in their eyes then roared with laughter as she mixed storytelling with songs and a trunk show of her own quilts.   She starts by giving us some historical background about the quilt and the song.  For the non-quilters she describes techniques and the meaning of some quilting terms.   She told us that she started out writing songs for a Quilt Canada Exhibition in Ottawa in the early 90s.  It was later on that she began quilting - and her quilts are fabulous.

The most interesting one for me is a song using the various names of quilting blocks - well, it was really based on the expression 'stack and slash' (I hope that's accurate - it's a long story).     Every block in the quilt is part of the story in her song.   We were invited to  'read' the story in the quilt from left to right top to bottom - with blocks such as 'log cabin' 'sunbonnet sue' and 'puss in the corner' .    Take a look and see if you know the names of them.

I must admit, not being a traditional quilter I was stumped but my friend knew many of them.   Cathy is amazing and her songs speak to all quilters.    She has sung at hundreds of quilt guilds all over the world and apparently even does quilt cruises.  If you ever have a chance to bring her to your city or town you will not be disappointed.  (No she is not paying me for the compliments).  My friend emailed me today to say that she is still basking in the glow of Cathy's concert.

Here is a photo I took this week in my friend's garden.   I've never done a poppy quilt before......

And last of all, we met this prickly little critter out on the trail last Monday.   Neither of us wanted to give way so after staring at each other for some minutes and some grumbling on his part, he decided to walk around us.  Needless to say we were not going to make the first move.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flower Power Revisited

I have been working all week on my flower garden project.  In an earlier post I described how I used inks to doodle a flower garden.   My 'garden' has become the basis of a piece I call "Flower Power Revisited".  I cut up my garden to make a VW beetle car and some sixties flowers.   Thinking about the whole 'Peace, Love, Freedom, Happiness"  theme I used Shiva paintstiks and made stencils of flowers, peace signs and words.   I had lots of thoughts and questions as I worked.   Where are we at with this today?   Is it all behind us now?  It all seemed so simple back then.  Could the world do with some peace, love and happiness right now?   That is the question in this piece.   It's been fused and painted and now I need to stitch and quilt.  Here are some preliminary photos.   The colours are not totally accurate probably because of light on dark.  Next time I'll focus more carefully.    I'll post the final results once it is completed.

We have been experiencing a heat wave this week in Ontario.  Nothing sums it up like these photos of my masked friend caught sleeping in my tree again on Tuesday.  I often wonder how this poor critter manages not to fall out of the tree - it's about 40 feet up in the air.  BTW, yesterday the temperature was 40 degrees celsius (that's 102 f).  Too hot for this part of the world especially in the month of May.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

African Fabric and Doodling with Inks

I recently attended the Common Threads quilt show in Ottawa and saw some lovely quilts.   I also purchased this great Ghanian and Tanzanian fabric from KallistiQuilts.  Years ago, I began a piece featuring three 'traditionally-built' African women dancing joyfully.   But I never finished it because it had several structural problems - due to bad planning.   At the time I used solids for their clothing.  I'd like to start over using this fabric and see where it takes me.

Secondly, I started doodling with Tsukeniko Inks when I was at my friend's place for a quilting day.  It became a garden which I finished at home.  I have some ideas for using this fabric in a piece which I am keeping under wraps for now.   A clue - the original shape of my garden looked like a volkswagen beetle and my friend called it 'flower power'.   We'll see if anything comes of this.
And last but not least, here is a photo of a little fellow who slept all day in my Elm tree last week.   Probably waiting for dark to raid trash cans.  I'm afraid that since we've started the green bin program there are slim pickings for this masked marauders.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grid Composition - Take Two

This time I started with a photo of trees in my favourite forest - the Greenbelt.  Around it I stitched rectangles of fabric representing grass, trees and brush, and a pathway.    I painted several larger trees on lutrador with Tsukeniko inks, caran d'ache crayons and fabrico markers, cut them out and fused them on.  I used shiva paintstiks for the sunlight.   Then I mounted this inside the back of a stretched canvas and glued fabric over the edges.   Four fabric squares in the corners completed the piece.  I've never done anything like this before and it was a fun project.    The grid shows up in the background and the central photo but I wouldn't call it a true grid composition.   It was fun to do - not a lot of stitching involved.

A Tree is Life

A  few posts ago, I described the process of creating this tree as part of a challenge to design a piece using a grid composition.   When I came to the step where I needed to cut the piece into rectangles and re-assemble it, I just couldn't do it.  I loved the tree the way it was.   The theme was supposed to be 'What is a Tree' and I would use a combination of parts of this tree and fabric photos all placed inside the back of a stretched canvas for the completed piece.    Well, forget all that.    Here is my completed piece.  I call it "A Tree is Life".    Please note, there is no grid composition.

 There is probably something very deep and philosophical about this whole exercise.   But it just makes me laugh at myself and think that the artist is not always in control of the art.   We don't always end up where we planned (just like life?).   Instinct sometimes takes over from intent.   Or we get sidetracked.   In this case maybe my original plan was just not workable!  Here the fabric and colour (and the original photo) took me in a different direction.    I thought you might like to see the photo that was the inspiration for this artwork.   It was taken in Quebec in the Eastern Townships on a hiking trip.

In my next post, I will show you my second try at using a grid composition (sort of).  It also has a tree theme - none of  which are cut into pieces - well, not exactly......

Friday, April 30, 2010

My First Fabric Postcards

Last week I completed and mailed out my first fabric postcards to members of my online quilt group.  Most of the recipients have received their cards so I am going to post photos.    I needed to make three with musical themes and the next three were cards which represented each of our countries (since we had 4 countries represented in the exchange - Canada, Ireland, South Africa and US).    Since Canada is such a diverse country I chose three of my favourite places - autumn in the Gatineau Hills, a rocky mountain stream in Cape Breton, and a wharf in Newfoundland.  The musical postcards represent Starry Starry Night (Vincent) by Don Mclean,  Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Autumn Leaves.   I used  lots of surface decoration - Tsukeniko inks, water soluble wax crayons, and Fabrico markers.  I really enjoyed making these cards but hand sewing the edges were a challenge - sewing through three layers including a layer of timtex not to mention fusible web.   Ouch!   Almost convinced me to purchase a sewing machine.

I've received two great postcards in exchange so far. When I receive all of them I will post them here as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Michele's Beaded Dolls

Michele Gagne created these wonderful beaded dolls and gave me permission to post them on my blog.   There are over 50 hours of work in each piece.  Michele plans to create one doll for each season.  Can you guess which seasons are represented here?   Michele is a great quilter as well.