Friday, January 27, 2012

Too Much Politics and I Turn to Doodling - The Sketchbook Challenge

I don't know about everyone else but I have heard enough from politicians lately (from any country)    about the economy and their solutions to it and I find myself practicing deep breathing, meditation, tai chi, doing sudokus, sewing, and now doodling to help me remain calm - reminding myself - 'do not panic'.   When the Sketchbook challenge announced their theme is doodling this month, I had to join in.   So here is my first sketchbook challenge.  I hope to be able to take part every month because I do love sketching and drawing.     If you want to check out 'The Sketchbook Challenge' see the badge here on my blog.    And don't forget to breathe!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Framed Fibre Art - Fog on Micheleen's Path

Fog on Micheleen's Path
This is my month for finishing pieces and here is another.  I worked on this one for over six months, using paint,  applique, embroidery, dyed cheesecloth (trees and foreground), beads, stones, pearlized paint, layers of tulle and strips of tulle for the fog.   I stapled it onto a stretched canvas and mounted it in a floating frame.  I still feel like it is missing something but I am so used to making brightly coloured art that doing a piece like this which by definition needed to be shrouded in fog, is very difficult.  I tried to put stronger colours in the foreground fading to fog in the distance.    This was a path we took on the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland on a foggy day and this piece has heavier fog than the original photo.  I may need to put more colour into the foreground.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Designing a Business Card Holder - something practical for a change

Voila! My new sewing machine.
So this is what purchasing a sewing machine does to you.  I've suddenly started to think of practical things to sew.   Actually someone in our fibre arts group gave us each a collaged business card holder a couple of months ago.   I thought of it when I was trying to decide what to give a friend for her birthday.  She has been getting work done on her house recently and I thought this might be useful when collecting cards from designers, paint stores, painters, carpenters etc...  I started by embroidering leaves on a white background again using Laura's beautiful threads.
If you look closely you will see my inspiration - a plastic place mat that I placed on the table to have a smooth surface to work on happened to have a leaf design.   I ended up doodling leaves onto my fabric but making them more colourful, loose and flowing than the rigid design on place mat.

Using my new sewing machine I was able to machine stitch the lining to the cover but I decided to do the final assembly by hand because I am just learning to manage this beast (although I had fun trying out stitches and even alphabet letters a few days ago).  So the finished product is a little wonky but it works.    I gave it to my friend along with some exercise DVDs for when the weather is bad and a new journal.  I think she liked it.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Autumn Walk in the Greenbelt

I need to thank Neville Hamilton for the inspiration for this hand stitched piece.   Before Christmas he purchased one of my pieces as a gift for his partner after they saw it at my open house in November.   At the open house we had discussed my upcoming exhibition called 'Pathways' .  It just so happens that he is an excellent photographer.   When he came to pick up the artwork he brought me three photos for inspiration.  I immediately had an idea for one of them and he gave permission for me to use it as a photo transfer.   It was an autumn scene of his partner walking their dog in the greenbelt forest.   So here is what I did with it.  First I scanned the photo into my computer and printed it on fabric.  See original photo below.   My scanned version would not upload because it was in the wrong format so I had to take a picture of the picture for this post.

I surrounded it with rectangles of autumn colours, adding stitches and paint to the photo transfer.   Then I appliqued trees in the foreground and hand cut many tiny maple leaves and fused them in the foreground as well, stitching their veins with some lovely variegated threads I purchased from Laura Wasilowski at Artfabrik.

Laura's threads

  I covered it all with a fine yellowy netting and prepared a stretched canvas by turning it over and covering the frame with fabric.

I mounted the artwork inside the stretched canvas and, as a final touch I fused and stitched a few leaves drifting over the frame.

closeup of stitched leaves
spilling over onto the frame

An Autumn Walk in the Greenbelt
It took a lot of hand stitching but once I started, I worked on it steadily until it was finished.  Today we are living in a winter wonderland in Ontario and this bright burst of autumn (and a steaming latte) is just what I needed.  I seem to find myself working on autumn scenes every winter.    This piece will definitely be part of my 'Pathways' exhibit.  I'm still thinking about the final naming of this piece.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Lighthouses

First, an acrylic painting of a lighthouse in Prince Edward Island.  And here are photographs of some interesting lighthouses from different locations within Canada.  A few are surely going to be part of a quilt someday.  I hope I was correct with the locations.  Please let me know if I am mistaken.   There were a few whose location I had not recorded.
Lobster Cove Lighthouse Rocky Harbour NL
'Crow's Nest' at Lobster Cove Lighthouse

Hampton NS

Rustico, PEI

Fog at Grand Manan Island

Georgian Bay

I believe this is Cape Spear NL

Georgian Bay


Cape Spear NL

Neil's Harbour Cape Breton     

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I have always had a fascination with lighthouses and have photographed many of them over the years.  Some of them have found their way into my fabric art.   Here are a few examples.

This one was of beach huts on the beach at Suffolk.  I posted this one previously as part of a tryptych.

This is a larger piece showing the lighthouse at Rocky Harbour Newfoundland.  My friend Joyce grew up living by this lovely lighthouse.

This last one is of the famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia.   I did this one several years ago.

My next post will include some recent  photos of lighthouses which are waiting to be transformed into fabric.  I may include an acrylic I did of a lighthouse in Prince Edward Island.   We'll see.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wishing You a Happy New Year!

I have been part of the blogging world for over 2 years now and have learned so much from other bloggers.  I feel like I have a whole raft of online 'friends' whose lives have touched mine.    Happy New Year to all of you!

While I have not made any New Years Resolutions, the beginning of the new year is a good time to take stock, looking back, reflecting on where I am right now, and looking ahead to the coming year.   I ask myself questions like 'what is right about my life?  what is missing? what would I like to see happen in the new year?   what are my hopes and aims for the coming year?  what changes do I need to make?   In my quilting life, I plan to finish a few more pieces for my exhibition which takes place this summer.    I'd like to read more books, learn more techniques, push myself in different directions creatively, and follow my inspirations.  I want to create a better workspace in my home.   The one big step I am taking this year is that I have ordered a sewing machine after much research.  This is a giant step for me since I have always done all of my work by hand.  I am not fond of machines and am a little afraid that the convenience of having a machine will cause me to abandon hand work (but I don't really think that is possible for me).  I will continue at least until my exhibition pieces are ready, to work entirely by hand.   I am ordering an entry level machine - computerized -but it is all new to me - a big learning curve.    I am thinking about the machine as an enhancement of my present style not a total change in direction.   Oh and I almost forgot - I am working on a book about my quilts.

I am feeling restless lately - looking for something new.    My life is pretty full but I realize I have been doing that same things, belonging to the same groups, even singing in the same choir, for several years.   I won't throw the baby out with the bathwater but I need to stretch myself.   This is my first full year of retirement and I want to make the most of it.   I have the urge to travel to places I have never been before (as long as it is not too expensive - I haven't won the lottery yet).   I am looking into artsy vacations -fibre arts retreats, classes  or workshops.    I would like to find ways to spend time in other areas and soak in the culture (even within my own country).  A friend and I may plan a camping trip in Quebec this summer.   I also want to get out into the woods more.    I am getting itchy feet!!  

My pets received gifts this holiday season as well.   As I was wrapping gifts on Christmas eve I placed Drusilla's new cat bed on the floor.  Minutes later I found her curled up in it - tags still on it.

So I put it under the tree and slapped a bow on it.   Dru spend most of the holidays sleeping under the Christmas tree.  She didn't seem to mind the needles or the lights.

Another holiday story - my son gave me a new bird feeder and suet container.   There were three different suet blocks that came with it.    I chose the one with the hairy woodpecker on the front, thinking as I did so that it probably made no difference.  They seemed to have some similar ingredients.    So I hung the feeder and the suet container and next morning when I looked out my window this is what I saw.
This lovely fellow has been here every day since.  Build it and they will come!  How do they know?