Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back from Cape Breton

Well I am back from my hiking trip in Cape Breton with some new ideas.  Unfortunately I injured my back (not a hiking accident) and may be taking it easy for the next few weeks.  Hopefully I can still stitch a bit and plan some new work.   The hiking was good with some difficult trails and the weather was mostly sunny except when the tropical storm passed by (that was some hike up at Cape St Lawrence in the wind and rain!!).   I visited a lovely craft gallery along the Cabot Trail called Arts North with some wonderful hooked rugs, driftwood whales, landscape quilts, jewelry, pottery and more.   It was a quick stop and I didn't get the names of all the artists.  I hope they have a website.

We had a great turnout for Hike the Highlands, got to see old friends again and meet new people.   We saw a few moose on the trails and along the highway.   I purchased a couple of interesting books, one called The Song of Rita Joe, the poignant life story of an aboriginal poet from Cape Breton.    The other was a book about Cape Breton weather called Weather Watching for the Naturally Curious written by Bill Danielson -- a very interesting read!    Bill gave a talk about the weather at Hike the Highlands a few years ago and he and his wife Esther invited all of us hikers back to their home for snacks after a hike that year so I was thrilled to find this copy of his book.    The weather extremes on Cape Breton create magnificent landscapes - sun, fog, storms, high winds, rainbows over the water, wonderful cloud formations, great sunsets and sunrises, lovely twilight......great for a landscape quilter.  It is kind of appropriate that I am working on a Weather quilt right now.

Since I need to nurture my back for a few weeks I guess I'll have some time to read.....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Through all Kinds of Weather - Progress

I've been making some progress on "Through all Kinds of Weather: The Relationship Path".   Still not sure of the title since so many relationship don't weather the storms and this little embroidered couple are just starting down the path, so who knows.     I stitched the path with multicoloured threads and the couple in black.  I added some lightning to the stormy sections (purple and grey sections) but a friend thought they were sparks (as in 'sparks of attraction' or perhaps 'when sparks fly' in a relationship:-)   The binding is still partly pinned and I plan to add a narrow inner frame of black.  It is not a large piece, maybe 12" x 16" when completed.  No quilting for the next little while.  I'm off to Cape Breton tomorrow and hoping for good hiking weather.

Monday, September 5, 2011

East and West and a Gift of Fabric

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to western Canada and surprised me with some lovely fabric from an award-winning quilt shop in Canmore Alta called the Sugar Pine Company.  She is not a quilter herself but was impressed by the lovely art quilts on display there.  Just another reason for me to take a trip west.  She brought me their brochure and another flyer about "Canmore Quilt Art Rockies 2011-2012.    I was drawn to one of the quilts shown on the front of the brochure of camels silhouetted in the sunset.  It looked familiar.  What a coincidence!    They are presenting workshops by Gloria Loughman and David Taylor, both amazing art quilters and I had just purchased Gloria Loughman's book "Luminous Landscapes" and was starting to read it.  I showed it to my friend and she was suitably in awe.   A trip west is not in the cards for me this year so I'll just have to be content reading this luscious book.  

Nevertheless I am heading east to Cape Breton in a few days for my annual Hike the Highlands trip.   We will be doing day hikes for 10 days and I am so out of shape.   It has been a hot summer and I have not had much opportunity to hike except for a few short hikes in Gaspe in July.   Just being in Cape Breton is a treat however and I am looking forward to it.   I have been trying to figure out how I can afford to spend my summers there - house sitting? renting a seasonal trailer site, living in a camper van?    People always ask me if I am a maritimer and I say "no but I'm a wannabee".  My heart is really in the east (you can tell by my artwork).  I love the combination of hills and ocean, big sky and forest.     It's the best of both worlds for me, a place where you can drive a long time without seeing a fast food outlet.    Hopefully I'll come back with inspiration for more art quilts.  Here is a photo of Fishing Cove (a 12 km hike through these hills ending at the ocean)  and one of a bald eagle we saw while hiking the Coastal Trail near Neil's Harbour.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

stitching on black eyed susans completed

To prepare for an exhibition next summer, I am spending most of my time this year working on my 'pathways' series.    I am still working on my 'relationship path' and foggy 'mickeleens's path pieces ( the latter has already a zillion stitches!).    I have also spent time on another piece showing my son and I blueberry picking in Gatineau park which I already love (it's from a 34 year old photo).      I like to work on several pieces at a time.    But I also like to complete pieces because it motivates me.   And working on smaller pieces especially these painted stitched ones is very relaxing.  So here is my finished black eyed susans, all stitched and bound.   I decided to  add batting and backing and stitch through all three layers.   By cutting the backing slightly bigger than the front, I was able to fold it over and use it for the binding.    So the small piece (4 x 6" plus binding) is complete as it is but I will probably add a mat (8" x 10") and frame it without the binding showing - and without glass to show off the 3D effect of the stitching.  Why finish it this way if I am going to cover it with a frame???   I don't always do it this way but  I kind of like knowing that whoever ends up with this piece can remove the frame and have the nice surprise of seeing a finished stand alone little piece.