Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pen and Ink Sketches as Inspiration

I was looking through some older sketch pads and found some interesting pen and ink sketches I had done a few years ago.  Seeing them in black and white gave me an idea.  When I drew them I was primarily quilting and hadn`t yet tried out embroidery work.   I think they would make lovely embroideries - just black on white with a little touch of colour....

A Harbour on Prince Edward Island

Moose from Algonquin Park (I made a quilt featuring this fellow)

My Ash Tree - subject of many artworks

So......I've started working on the harbour piece stitched in black thread on white background and it is almost finished!   I can't believe it is so addictive!  When I pick it up  and start stitching I can't seem to put it down.   I'll post the results soon.

And for now, here is a photo from my recent visit to Prince Edward County.
A Soaring Gull on a beautiful day near lake Ontario

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fibre Art Projects - Completed and Works in Progress

Wow!  I haven't blogged since the beginning of August!   I have been busy getting projects completed around the house and took some time out to visit Prince Edward County in southern Ontario.   I still have my annual visit to Cape Breton to look forward to in September.

I realize that I am incapable of posting regularly but always end up doing one long post less often.  I guess I could do several drafts all at once then post them different days but it sounds complicated to me.   So here we are - August projects, finished and works in progress.

I have finished my ghost tree piece and I may show it at an exhibition at our local library in November (based on the first line of a book - The Sacred Tree).    When I created it I also had in mind the SAQA trunk show so I made it in the correct dimensions and may submit it.  It ended up to be completely hand stitched except for the zigzag edge.    I painted fabrics, then cut out the coloured bits and fused them to the background to indicate movement and an indication of the flowering tree, gardens, shrubs,  leaves etc that surround the actual ash tree in my backyard.  I appliqued the tree over top and stitched the bark with pearly white thread.   Then I added batting and backing and hand quilted the areas around the tree.  I finished with a zigzag machine stitched edge.

Close up of hand stitching

I like the way it looks on the back surrounded by hand quilting stitches
I have also finished my second swamp piece.   The first one I did was predominantly green, this one leans more to the blues.  I liked the way it turned out and I really love creating these ones!  It is spontaneous and fun to lay down the strips this way and that, until I like what I have, then I fuse it all down, machine stitch to create more movement and reflections then add hand stitching for a little detail (water lilies,  reeds etc).   It ends up mostly abstract with just a little realism.

I mounted it on a painted canvas.   I was happy with the paint colours after several tries (there are many layers on this canvas).  I wanted it to resemble water and the colours of blue in the piece but didn't want it to take away from the stitched work by being too busy.

Reflections II

Here is a close up that shows the stitching well - the colour is a little off 

This next one is a work in progress with a couple of shows in mind.  It's another prairie piece (I'm working my way across Canada), representing the diversity of growth - both natural and cultivated - that exists on the prairies.   This is the central section of the piece - not sure what will be surrounding it yet but I have some ideas.   All hand stitched with painted satin sky.  I`m trying to decide whether to cover it with pink or mauve tulle because it is supposed to be a prairie dawn. 

Not Quite - I added some native plants in foreground - may add more to blend the sections

Last but not least, I am working on a colour challenge piece which needs to be 12 x 12 inches when completed.  It also needs to have at least 20% of a specific shade of Turquoise.  I decided that the central section would be a blue interpretation of Elephant Head and Trout River Pond in Newfoundland.  I have used this theme before and it is one of my favourite vistas with orange tablelands, trout river pond, hills in the background and the majestic rise of elephant head on the right.  I will add THE turquoise shade as part of the quilt surrounding the scene, maybe add some stamped fabric, not sure yet.  It`s still perculating.  This part is hand stitched.  I used some of Elaine Quehl`s hand dyes in this piece.   They are so gorgeous!
Trout River Pond and Elephant Head in Blue

Linking up to the Needle and Thread Network  WIP Wednesdays        Check it out!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Motherhood! Embroidered Whimsy

This visitor to my ash tree yesterday motivated me to complete my little raccoon themed hand embroidery.  I have posted this piece in progress many times over the last two years relating the story of a mother raccoon, a hot day and four rambunctious babies.  See photos at  Mama told me there'd be days like this   I took several photos but the last one told the whole story as mom crawled out from under the bouncing babies and threw herself on a bare branch with her legs hanging down on all sides.   I started with a doodle/zentangle drawing in my sketch book. Then I traced my original drawing on fabric and started stitching.  I added a little colour on the leaves (with caran d'ache pencils I think.)  After two years, it was time to finish it off.

I had auditioned this fabric months ago then couldn't decide whether to use a fabric border or a painted stretched canvas.   I chose to add the fabric border with a green fabric covered in black line drawn leaves.

Then I added thin batting to give it some body and mounted it on a stretched canvas, stapling it on the back.

Finished at last


Can you relate?

Finally settled down to rest

The family visited backyards throughout the summer sleeping all day in trees and prowling all night until neighbours attempted to remove them.   The family was broken up and since then have only appeared now and then as singles -both adults and younger ones.   Maybe yesterday's visitor was a grown up version of one of those frolicking babies.   I guess some people feel that wildlife is a threat to urban life.   My philosophy is that we have destroyed so much habitat and food sources that animals have to adapt however they can.  I don't encourage them and I put bungee cords on my recycling bin to keep it closed.  Otherwise I let them be.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Sacred Tree

At a playdate in June we used different techniques with a view to creating our personal talisman.   I had no trouble choosing mine.   This is a negative image of my ash tree, which symbolizes so much for me.  I tore bits of tissue and used a medium to stick it to a piece of hand made paper (not made by me - I purchased it in the Gaspe).  I really liked the result and decided to work on a fabric piece.

First I painted several colours of fabric for the background bits.  It gave me a chance to try out my new Stewart Gill paints and my newish Derwent inktense colours.   They gave me some lovely colours.   I added fusible (mistyfuse) to the back of the fabric.

Tiny Bits
 Then came the tedious work of cutting tiny bits of colour and arranging them on the back ground.

More bits

First mistake.  I should have painted the background first.  I thought I could cover every inch but it would have been too thick.   To compensate I dabbed a little lime green in between the coloured bits.   Then I covered it all with lime green tulle.

I drew my tree on good white fabric and painted it with opaque white setacolour, added fusible to the back of it and fused it down to the background.

So that's where I am for now.   I really want to applique the tree and quilt the background by hand but I'm not sure if I can because it is a little I may need to tackle the dreaded machine and free motion stitch the tree and machine quilt the background.   I will use white thread for the tree to keep the negative image.   I created this ghost tree for good reason:  I'm not sure if my tree will survive.  It has been treated for the ash borer and time will tell if it makes it.  And I love this tree!

I have made some progress on my second swamp piece adding hand cut and stitched water lilies and lily pads.  I need to do more stitching over the pads to blend more with the background - and add some reflections which also need to be stitched over.

Lastly, I painted a dawn sky for a new piece I am working on.  I used setasilk colours and watered down derwent inktense blocks on satin then heat set it.   I have two shows in mind for the piece - both having to do with big skies.

And speaking of big skies,  the other day I noticed that the sun was shining out front while it was still pouring rain.   I knew there would be a rainbow and ran from one window to the next to see where it was.   Out back it was still dark with rain but there in the middle of the sky was my rainbow......I ran outside and got these shots just as it was starting to disappear.

The Sacred Threads exhibition finished on the weekend and my Kuan Yin piece is on her way home.   The folks at Sacred Threads have published a book of the exhibition and CDs which include the artists' statements and audio recordings from each artist.   They are available at the  Sacred Threads website.  It's the next best thing to being there for those of us who were not able to attend.

This post is linked up to Off the Wall Fridays.   Have a look at what fibre artists are up to this week.