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.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tree Project Gone Wild

I watched the Juno awards tonight (Canadian Music Awards) feeling like the young have taken over.....and I loved it!!  I was especially impressed by K'Naan the young Somali Canadian rapper (Waving Flag).   I saw him last summer at Bluesfest and knew he would go far.   Another great performer was Drake, another rapper who also won some awards.   I have to admit, I like rap when it is poetic or involves social commentary.  St. John's Newfoundland did a good job of hosting - they have so much musical talent right in that city ...and I am heading out there this summer to hike the East Coast Trail.

So back to the quilting.   My friends and I had decided on a new challenge and since Shirley is getting back soon from visiting the Chicago show,  I thought I had better get going on it.   We have to take an 11 x 14 stretched canvas and create a grid composition in the back of it.   I had a great idea about creating a piece based on a tree photo I had been saving for a year and a half.    The theme was 'What is a Tree'.   It is beauty, home to creatures including humans, shade, protection, the air we breathe - it is life!    So I painted a bare tree with inks, watersoluble wax crayons and fabrico markers, cut it out and fused it to this great background.    Then I cut zillions of tiny leaf shapes from fabric backed with fusible web.  I must say I developed a great way of cutting the fabric by zigzagging the edges and cutting furiously so I had them done in no time (make that about 4 hours).  Next I ironed them onto the fabric using my photo as a guide and placed it inside of the back of a stretched canvas.    And here is the result below.

I loved the result!   Already I was having qualms about the next step.   I had planned to either cut the piece into squares or add grid lines with couched thread to make a grid.   I don't think I can do it.....

Anyway, part of the plan was to print photos of trees on fabric and use them to cover the I soaked fabric in Golden digital ground, dried it, ironed it onto freezer paper and started printing.   I was pleased with the results - except when my printer tried to eat the photos a couple of times.

So now I have these great photos as well.   When I tried wrapping them around the frame I knew this was not going to work.   Which is just as well because I love my tree just as it is.    So it's back to the drawing board.

I have another idea.  I will try using a tree photo for the centre rectangle with rectangles of fabric around it.  I'll fuse tree trunks over and around the centrepiece and cut the pieces up into separate rectangles then attach them to the background....Wait a minute, isn't this how I started???    But I have a vision and this time I won't make it so pretty.   I'll post when I have developed this further.  

So Shirley and Iris, I hope you have not progressed too far.  Be patient with me...the tree went wild and ruined my plan.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Online Quilt Course - discount

In an earlier post (March 18), I showed you a picture of the landscape that I created for an online landscape class on the Quilting Weekly website.   If anyone is interested in signing up with Quilting Weekly, you can get a 50% off coupon for your first class by signing up on the website (click on logo at right) and emailing Chris ( to let her know that you were referred by me, and she will send you a coupon.

Still Laughing

I just finished reading today's post from The Bitchy Stitcher.   She posted a glossary of quilting terms - and I'm still laughing.   If any of you haven't checked her out yet and you need a laugh - get on over to her blog.   It is too funny! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Surface Decoration

In my last quilting class I had the opportunity to purchase fabrico markers, shiva paintsticks, and Tsukineko inks.   All week I have been playing with them (and my water soluble wax crayons) as I work on my postcards.  I learned not to use too much water with the inks (my first attempt ended up to be a solid dull gray colour as the colours mixed).   I also tried to let each colour dry a little before adding the next unless I wanted lots of mixing.  I loved using the markers - they make great rainbows and are good for fine detail.     My favourite are the wax crayons which blend to create delicate watercolour effects, again using water sparingly.   Last year I took a watercolour and ink course.  I think I'll try the techniques I learned with my fabrico markers and watercolour crayons.

I also tried some of these paints/inks on lutrador with mixed results.  I think the shiva paintsticks might work well on the black lutrador.   Maybe I'll try them next.

Since I stitch everything by hand it takes me a long time to complete a postcard.  But I am making progress. Stitching the edges are especially tedious and time-consuming.  I have to be careful not to have too many layers.   I am pleased with the finished results so far.  I have 6 to make - As I mentioned before I have to complete three postcards with a musical landscape theme (do falling leaves and the cosmos count as landscapes?  maybe skyscapes).  I also signed up to complete three landscapes that represent Canada in some way and I have chosen three different Canadian landscapes.   Hard to choose without stereotyping this country that defies definition.   What represents Canada for me is our extremes, our diverse landscapes.   Canada is mountains, streams, forests, oceans, wheatfields, autumn colours, tundra, ice and snow, space, sunny beaches, villages, cities, cultural diversity, flowers, parks, highways, moose, whales.....and don't forget our famous loons and beavers.   What to choose?  I will give no more hints until the postcards are finished, mailed, and have reached their destinations.  I managed to print a postcard back with only a few smudges (I had to clean my print heads at one point).  I am having such fun with these.   They are addictive!

Next I need to decide whether to risk sending them through the mail as is or in an envelope.  I'm afraid they will be ruined or that my post office may freak out when they see them.   They still don't understand why I would put lengths of fabric in an envelope every month and mail them to the US (our last fabric exchanges).  I'll have to ask others in my online quilting group for advice.

My Last Art Quilt Class

Last Saturday was our last art quilt class with Elaine Quehl.   Elaine shared lots of information with us about exhibiting and selling our quilts, quilting organizations, and gave us several internet links.   I am committed to exposing my work and her generous sharing of information was greatly appreciated.   For years I have quilted while working full time.  Quilting was my passion and my outlet from front line social work.  It was my way to avoid burn out and vicarious trauma.

Now that I am semi-retired I want to make art quilts my primary work.    So I plan to join new groups, network with other quilters, and enter exhibitions and challenges -get my work out into the world.  My quilts tell a story - about my life, my loves, my values and philosophy.  Art has always been a part of my life, for many years working with clay, then writing poetry, songs, and prose.   Now I am writing with fabric.  I am thinking of ways to combine these loves - maybe in a quilt/story book.

Last year I approached the Textile Museum in Almonte Ontario for an exhibition.   I was thrilled to be juried in for a show in 2012.    Then last fall, I was approached to  prepare an online course for Quilting Weekly.   Encouraged by this, I am determined to try other venues.

I was listening to someone on TV recently describing the definition of a Bucket List - things you want to do before you.....well, you know.   I pondered and decided that I am already doing it - I just want to keep doing what I am already doing - singing, writing, hiking, quilting, travelling, and growing.......