Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Ribbon Embroidery

I've been having some neck pain the last few months along with my eye surgeries so haven't started any large pieces recently because I tend to obsess over them and work long hours until they are done.  I finally had my neck xrayed and the results were not too encouraging but I am starting physio soon and hoping for some relief.  Anyway, enough of that.   The result is that I have been working on more small ribbon embroideries.   With the help of some new instructions on floral stitches (thanks Debbie) and my own imagination, I completed some small florals.   I have a couple of orders so I am in the proces of finishing the pieces and matting them.  I apologize for the quality of the photos.   The light conditions were not great.

With the first one I tried some flowers with curled petals, a sprig of bleeding hearts, irises and brown eyed susan.  The pink one was an experiment and looks like a peony but definitely not to scale.

This one is my favourite

Practicing some new flowers - calendula, columbine and some unidentified ones

Bouquet of Tulips

 This one is shown with a 3 x 5 mat opening but I have since decided that it will look better with a 4 x 4 opening in an 8 x 8 mat to show off the leaves.  

I like doing these aster/daisy types - lots of light and shadows in the petals

So that's what I've been up to artistically.

It's also been a fun musical weekend.   Yesterday  I attended the second annual Ottawa Grassroots Festival.  Last night we were treated to a performance by two great musicians -  Wendell Ferguson, who is a wonderful guitar player and very humorous - and one of my favourite musicians - Suzie Vinnick (a Saskatoon girl).   She has such a powerful voice and sure knows her way around a guitar.   They were so good together and I marvel again at the number of wonderful musicians we have in this country - many of them who don't enjoy the success they deserve.   Also appearing were Ana Muira, Amanda Rheaume and Amanda Bon and her band.    They were all fabulous.    We were also entertained by the choir that I used to belong to - Folka Voca.   What fun!   I may go back this afternoon but   maybe I need to do some yard clean up first.  It is a beautiful day!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mama Told Me There'd Be Days Like This - Embroidery Inspiration

Here is a story all mothers will be able to relate to.  I took these photos two years ago of a mother raccoon and her babies who liked to sleep high up in my Ash tree - and it inspired another artwork.
It was a hot day of a hot summer and mom had 4 babies frolicking around her, lying on her back and roughhousing.  I know that raccoons have a bad reputation and are seen as a nuisance but you have to admit, they are cute.   And they are just trying to survive in an increasingly urban world. This poor mom had her hands full.

Hey mom!  Look at me!

C'mon mom.   We want to play!

Let's all jump on mom!

Just give me a minute alone.......
 I was doodling on paper and this is the result.  I had put it away for awhile but decided to work on it while recuperating from my catarract surgery.  I embroidered the scene in black on white cloth.   The leaves were painted with watercolour crayons and the background stitched in various greens.  
 I'm trying out several different ideas for finishing.  Perhaps a narrow binding or zigzag stitched along the edge and mounted on a painted canvas.  Here I am auditioning a green binding.   I don't want anything to overpower the delicate stitching  but I do want some definition (which I may get by painting the background canvas).

Motherhood has its good days and bad days......

This post is linked up with  Off the Wall Fridays     and Fiber Artist Journey  Take a look at what other fibre artists are up to this week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Torn Fabric Quilt

Autumn Reflections in the Swamp

 When I was away at our weekend quilting retreat I worked on a piece that was totally outside my usual style.    I had a lovely photo of a swamp in autumn with interesting corals and greens, lots of reflections, lines across the water etc.    So I chose a few fabrics and ripped them into strips then fused and placed them on a background.   At the retreat I stitched and stitched across them to blend the colours together then added some reeds and hand stitching.   It is still a work in progress but I am liking it - and I loved the process.   It was such fun to  mix in the fabrics, moving them around to give a feeling of water and movement.  

I will hand stitch tiny trees and bushes at the top in the background and I can see where it needs more machine stitching on the water, and maybe a few more vertical grasses etc. I'm not sure if I need something on the left side to balance the leaves but I kind of like that one gesture of realism.  There are things I would do differently the next time and will give it a bit more thought but I wanted it to be more abstract than representational and this method does that for sure.  

First Step - Laying down the strips
Close up of the hand stitched leaves

Original Photo Inspiration
I had some good news waiting for me when I returned home from my quilt retreat.   My quilt "Kuan Yin: Mother of Compassion" was accepted into the Sacred Threads exhibition in Virginia.   I am very thrilled!!!  

This post is linked to the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays.   Take a look at what some Canadian fibre artists are doing.WIP Wednesdays

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Our art show was a huge success after a bit of a slow start on Friday because of the snow/ice storm. The high tea was very popular and I'm thinking that lots of money was raised for the Stephen Lewis Foundation for African Grannies/AIDS orphans. 

I believe that art sales were good generally too.   The show was a personal success for me with all of my framed ribbon embroideries selling out and most of my art cards, bookmarks, and small landscapes.  I had brought a bin full of pieces for the sales table and came home with a handful of items.  One of my embroidered art pieces sold as well.

The set up committee had done a great job and the displays looked wonderful.   After an afternoon at the art show and with the help of friends, I quickly packed up, brought my work home, then hurried out to another church where my choir - Shout Sister - was having a concert to raise funds for that church's foundation which helps people in dire need in Canada and abroad.    We sang two sets to a packed house and received a standing ovation.    What a day!

Needless to say, I came home last night satisfied and exhausted.   My eyes are still having trouble in bright lights and a few times I felt a little woozy especially at the art show.   But I didn't want to wear my sunglasses preferring to be able to see the lovely work of my fellow artists.

I didn't take many photos because I spent most of my time chatting with friends and customers.   I so enjoyed hearing the enthusiasm of visitors to the show and especially their generous comments about my work.

Now on to the subject that Canadians love to talk about.......the weather.

I took these photos in my backyard over the last 10 days and it struck me that this photo journey is, in a nutshell, our Canadian weather of late - ie.  if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes.

Brrr....this wind is chilling.

Woohoo!  It's spring at last!

Mmm....I think I will have a bath.

Look!   The grass is turning green...

Good grief! How do I peck through all this ice?

The next day nobody came
Except for this large Cooper's Hawk
In the middle of Friday's storm only a few brave birds came to the feeder.  Unfortunately one of them fell prey to this very large hawk.   I took this photo through a wet window so it's not too clear.

Yesterday it rained.   Today it's gloomy but a little warmer.....maybe spring is here???

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Well I had my second eye surgery on Tuesday and I can see quite well.   Just in time for our second annual FIBRE FLING 2 ART SHOW AND TEA.  Members of Out of the Box fibre artists will be exhibiting over 200 unique works of art ranging from fibre art, funky dolls, felting, mixed media, rug hooking, wearable art and much more.   Just a reminder that it takes place tomorrow and Saturday at the Kitchissippi United Church hall in Ottawa.   For details, please see my Exhibitions page.  Here are just a few of the pieces I will have on display.

Down the Garden Path: Friendship is a Garden

Down the Garden Path was part of my Pathways show last year at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.   The individual flowers are embroidered by hand on a sun printed background.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have written all over the background - expressions about 'gardening', friendship, uniqueness, blooming - "Friendship is a garden" "We are each of us unique" "Come into my garden" "We each bloom in our own time" .....

Small Wonders of the Forest - Colour Challenge piece
Small Wonders of the Forest is a colour challenge piece where 32 artists chose from 2 colours and designed a piece around the colour.   Mine was orange (Benjamin Moore Tomato Red to be exact).

Prairie Sky

Prairie Sky is also part of my Pathways series.  For so many people who have their roots in the prairies, it is the vast prairie skies and grassy fields that bring them joy.   This piece was inspired by songs written about the prairies and particularly a song by Jody Benjamin called Infinite Blue.

With Eyes Like Diamonds in the Sky
 This piece is part of a bead work challenge which will also be exhibited at our show.   The pieces will be open for bidding in an auction to raise funds for the Heart Institute.    Each artist was given a bag of beads and some lovely silk threads.   The rest was left up to us except that the piece needed to be either 10" x 10" or 10" x "20".  This piece is all hand stitched

This year we are featuring a table with smaller items and art cards for sale.   Here are a few of the pieces that I have submitted.  I also have healing dolls, landscape bookmarks, art cards, small landscapes and jewelry.


My newest piece called When I Was Twenty-One will also be on display.   It is a hand stitched pictorial and textual depiction of the major influences of my coming of age.   Those of us who grew up in the sixties have seen some interesting and tumultuous times, and have witnessed or been a part of major human rights movements, great and not so great music trends, and great technological changes.
When I Was Twenty-One
This is just a fraction of the works on display by an innovative group of fibre artists.   Hope you can attend.

Monday, April 1, 2013


As one final small framed piece, I started stitching tree shapes on one of my favourite background fabrics.   I love this fabric with its blues, violets and orangy tones and used it in another autumn tree piece as a background a couple of years ago.   Sadly I am running out.... It is a commercial fabric but I don't remember where I purchased it and don't have any identifying marks on it so I probably can't get any more (if anyone recognizes it, please tell me who makes it).  I am reduced to using it for very small landscapes.   When I finished embroidering the trees I really liked the effect so I have added a mat and will frame it.   I'd love to do a larger piece on this theme but I guess I'll need to paint my own background. 

For my evening's entertainment recently, I have picked up an embroidered piece that I started two years ago.  It is a kind of doodle/zentangle of a raccoon and her four babies in  a tree - inspired by a photo I took in my backyard.  It's stitched mostly in black on white with a little green watercolour paint and threads.  I put it aside for awhile but now I am slowly stitching my way through it.  I'll post it soon....once I decide what to do with the finished piece.   I am also finishing my Ode to Newfoundland that I started last year.....

This post is linked to the Needle and Thread Network   WIP Wednesdays
Check it out to see what other Canadian stitchers are up to this week.