Monday, March 26, 2012

Down the Garden Path - New Fibre Art

Here is an early configuration of my floral piece using my sun print cloth for the background and with a dyed cheesecloth path.  I wasn't too happy with the single path cutting through so  I tried moving it up so the division wouldn't be too symmetrical then I added a smaller path off the main one (see below).  I changed the placement of flowers and removed some of them.  I also tried out some photo transfers done by painting a laser copy of flowers with a medium then wetting down the paper backing and removing it.   I placed them on the piece in various configurations but did not really like the result. 

 Finally I removed the photo transfers and I think this is the one I will go with (see below).  The lower path is not very well delineated.  It was done with different colours of cheese cloth.  I placed some smaller flowers along the pathways and may need to do more work on that smaller path to make it more prominent.  When I look at photographs I can more easily see where placement was off or where I need more foliage or flowers to balance.   I have been practising my free motion stitching but still need to improve  before I move to an actual project so I will hand applique the flowers but hope to add some free motion embroidery before this piece is done.    I'll show some samples once I get some that are half decent....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Sketchbook Challenge - flowers

Flowers - one of my favourite things to sketch and it has taken me almost a month to get to this sketchbook challenge.  But I finally curled up in front of the TV with pencil and watercolour pencils and covered a page with flowers.  I had a vase full of tulips in front of me so I started with them them then looked around to a fibre piece I did called Birds of Paradise (see my About Me picture) then just improvised the rest.  I'm still working on my floral fibre piece but can't seem to commit to any of the designs enough to fuse them down and start stitching. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunprints in March!

Who would think I would be out on my patio on the first day of spring making sunprints?  Well since the temperature here in Ontario was 27 degrees celcius (in the 80s), it was just the thing to do.    Now I am frantically cutting and placing fabric flowers to see if it will work for my garden.   I will post a photo of my efforts next time.   I have some sketched flowers for the Sketchbook Challenge to post before the end of the month and a couple of announcements of shows coming soon.   Also soon to be announced - the launch of my new and improved website designed by my son!   It's been a busy month!    Here are some more photos of my sunprints -   I just painted with setacolour then placed items and stencils on the surface, left it in the sun for under an hour and here are the results.  It was my first attempt so I had no expectations but I think it might work well as a background to my flowers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring

Happy first day of spring from me and my cat!!

I just happened to have purchased  some new florals last week since I have had an idea about a friendship garden/garden path.  Since last spring I have been asking my friends "what is your favourite flower?"   I finally decided to start with floral fabric and fussy cut each flower and create a garden with a path through it.  Not sure of the background, the path, maybe do some sun prints (since we are in summer mode in central Canada right now !!).  Oooh, I love these luscious florals!  I have never worked much with florals before - what fun!

 So here are some ideas for the path/background.  Not enough contrast in the first one - still working on the sun print/painted path idea.

I also like the effect of the black background.  I'm just trying out a few rough cut flowers right now.  I haven't fussy cut the flowers yet because I am out of fusible and waiting for an order to come in.  Then I will fuse the fabric and cut out the flowers once they are on the fusible - saves cutting twice.  In the meantime I'll just salivate over these beauties.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Work with Photograph Inspiration

photo by Neville Hamilton
Here is another of Neville Hamilton's photos that I am attempting to interpret in fabric (with permission).   This photo was taken in Rustico, PEI.    What to think when you are walking in the fields and come upon three kitchen chairs sitting empty in the long grass.  It certainly makes my imagination run wild - thoughts of the ghosts of earlier days, getting together to chat away from chores, enjoying the sunshine, sitting in a field playing could give a new spin to 'kitchen parties'.    Even the positioning of the chairs is interesting - and now they sit abandoned. 

Here is how I interpreted this scene so far.   I hand painted the sky (and I think I did a better job of it than the last sky I painted) then I added fields, trees, water, flowers etc and started stitching - no chairs yet.
It still needs lots of hand stitching in the fields and grasses, and some paint to blend the different areas more, and I will add some ends of barbed wire to the fence posts, then decide what to do about the chairs.  I cut out a couple of paper chairs and positioned them to see the effect.
I think I like it.  I need to turn the chair on the left a bit.  Probably 2 chairs will be enough - though 3 gives a different effect.  I'll see.  I have some other ideas for this as well but need to see if it will work.  It will be a surprise.

I finally overcame my fear of my new sewing machine and have been using it to add sleeves to the backs of some pieces and I now am more eager to try it out on a new piece but I first need to finish a couple more hand stitched ones for my exhibition.   The next piece I want to do is of a street in St. John's, NL.   I am also working on painting a piece on fabric with acrylic paints and haven't yet perfected thinning the paints with/without medium enough to have a soft hand.  Instead I am thinking that it will be impossible to hand stitch - so that may be the first machine stitched piece....we'll see.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

A Happy International Women's Day to Women Throughout the World!!!  May there be an end to inequality and injustice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Miniature - Revised

I might be able to salvage this one after all.  After much thought, I decided to cover the sky with a translucent bluish white acrylic.  It gives it a pearly look and covers up the garish colours.  I think it also gives some definition to the figures and the grasses.  I hope it's not too shiny.  I tried some tulle over it but it dulls it down too much. I think I am starting to like it now and I am glad I didn't give up on it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You Can't Win 'Em All - Painted and Stitched Miniature

Well, I stitched and stitched and painted and I'm not happy with the result.   I was content with the way the stitching of the grass, rocks and figures worked out but the sky - yuck!  I somehow muddied the first colours I put on ( not waiting long enough between colours, not using the hair dryer to dry layers, dirty brush, dirty crayons?????) so I tried to fix it by painting over with white then trying again but I still don't like it.  And now my lovely variegated stitching is painted over too.  It was almost impossible to paint around the tiny figures.  I wanted a sunset with a yellow glow and storm clouds mixed in - they were mixed in all right! Now I have abandoned that whole idea.  Ah well, I originally wanted to do a larger piece on this theme so I will consider this a trial run.  I still need to stitch the cross and some of the rocks but I don't think it will improve things.  The mat that's over it right now is just a test mat.  My plan was to mat it with an 8 x10 mat with a 4 x 6 opening.   It does seem to look better from a distance (like in my camera screen).  I guess I'll need to fence it off like the Mona Lisa - Ha ha!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Painted and Stitched Miniatures

As a reward for finishing so many larger pieces,  I painted a couple of 4 x 6" fabric landscapes then used hand stitching to complete the picture.   The first is a view of Telerife Mountain from Cabot Landing Beach in Cape Breton.    We hiked the beach as part of the Hike the Highlands festival.
  Here is the photo inspiration for this piece.

    The second one is only partly finished.    The photo inspiration for this piece won a prize in the Hike the Highlands photo contest a couple of years ago.    I snapped hikers walking past a large cross which was a tribute to the unknown  sailor whose body washed up near White Point CB many years ago.  It was an eerie shot taken in early evening with mixed clouds behind it.    It's a work in progress with lots of stitching still to do then I'll applique the cross and sign (the ones shown are paper copies).  First is the photo inspiration then the work in progress.