Friday, January 25, 2013

More Fabric Flowers and an Inspiration

I think I have almost enough flowers to start my Garden piece.  Here they are laid out on my counter.  Some are painted, others are pieced from fabric.

I still need a couple of tulips and I plan to embroider some foliage and flowers onto the background but I started to lay them out yesterday on my pieced sun printed background.  I don't want to give everything away but I have to show you this serendipitous piece of inspiration.    After I laid them out on the counter in the late afternoon sun, the sun's rays suddenly appeared across the piece (the sun made my colours look a bit faded - actually much stronger colours).

Since I placed the flowers on a path radiating out from the large sunflower in the upper left this was a stroke of genius - thanks, sun!   I decided to add 'rays' radiating down from the top corner using gold organza.   The whole piece is actually square.    This is just a portion of it.  It reminds me of two things.  One, a plan is never set in stone.   Two, inspiration comes in many ways.   This one was pure serendipity!   

Now I will attempt to free motion stitch each flower.  I need to add some little printed signs - the theme is friendship.   I was planning on embroidering words but just now got the idea of printed ones (like the little signs you see in public gardens).     The pieced background is not exact but I am hoping that machine and hand stitching and then quilting will do the trick.  It looks like a long process.  And I want to finish it by the end of February.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Colour Challenge Completed

This has been a week for finishing.   First I completed my piece on aging and spent two days photographing it....Then I spent this morning mounting my colour challenge piece on a stretched canvas - It consists of tiny brightly coloured, nibbled mushrooms, lots of foliage with hand and machine stitching.    The finished piece is 12" x 12" but the actual mushrooms were miniscule.   I am still deciding on a name for the piece - something that speaks of them being mushrooms, nibbled, larger than life.  I spotted them when I was hiking in Cape Breton and was attracted by the look of these tiny beauties nestled among the tiny bits of foliage like a miniature forest.  A mouse wouldn't even need to go on tiptoes to reach them.

Here is a close up view of the photo that inspired this piece just in case you don't believe mushrooms can come in reds and oranges.  I took this through the glass so there's a little glare.
This colour challenge exhibit will consist of 16 pieces (all 12" x 12") done primarily in tomato red (orange red) and 16 pieces done primarily in midnight blue (almost violet).  It will be displayed for the month of March at Wabi Sabi on Wellington Street in Ottawa, and on April 11-13 at the annual Out of the Box and Island Park United Church tea and art show.  I can't wait to see what the others have done with their colours.  Next year there will be 2 more colours and a further 2 colours the following year.

 This challenge is loosely patterned after the excellent book Twelve by Twelve; the International Art Quilt Challenge (Lark Crafts) where 12 women completed 12 pieces with 12 themes over 24 months.  The book not only talks about the challenge pieces but I also learned a lot about the women who took part, and the way different people approach the same theme.  If you haven't read this book, I strongly recommend it - very informative and very moving.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fabric Flowers Everywhere

I just spend most of a frustrating day photographing my latest work  and swearing I'll never again use black as a background.  It's so hard to get the focus right for the rest of the piece and black shows everything.    I should have used black batting or painted it because the hairs on the batting seem to find their way through the black fabric.....Anyway enough of that. 

I decided I needed a break so I took some quick photos of a bunch of flowers I have been assembling for a floral piece - part 2 of Down the Garden Path: Friendship is a Garden.   Here's what I have so far.   They still need to have all the details stitched on once they are appliqued to the background.

Only 30+ more to go......

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year! New Fabric and More

Let me join all the other quilters who are showing off their new fabric purchases.   My favourite quilt shop The Running Stitch had a great January sale and I purchased some great yardage (with a gift certificate from my son so I really didn't spend anything:)   Then I added some fat quarters...

A few days later, I went over to Canada Beading Company to pick up the gift certificate that I won with my Peacock piece.    They have a great selection of Vineyard silk threads so I picked up a few more colours....

And a few lovely little organza bags to hold my fabric brooches.

Then my friend and I decided to stop by Wooltime to see their new yarns.   What a great selection of fancy yarns and patterns - a knitter's paradise!    In their bargain area I found some great textured yarns to use in wall hangings and for texture in my hooked rugs.  Aren't they great!

I also ordered some pieces of felted wool to add to my rug hooking stash but it hasn't arrived yet.  I'm working towards starting another hooked rug on my new frame.

 Before Christmas I ordered a few pins online at Zazzle.   The buttons have images of some of my pieces on them and I think they could be a good way to promote my work.

I just realized that I missed the deadline for a show I wanted to enter.   I thought I could register by email but discovered it needed to be mailed in.   Drat!  I still barely had time but I would have needed to prepare everything quickly and send it Express halfway across the country.   It's expensive plus the registration costs and then if it is not juried in......So I decided to pass on it.  Luckily I hadn't completed a special piece for that show.  I do keep lists of show dates etc but it pays to read  and make notes on ALL the requirements (and keep checking them).   I have others coming up that I will not miss.

I am just putting the binding on my piece on aging and mounting my colour challenge piece.  It will feel good to have them finished and move on to the next....I'm still working on my Sunshine and Vines piece and starting a floral and some water pieces. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another Healing Doll Project

I have just completed another very special goddess.   This healing doll is going out to a brave little girl who is undergoing chemotherapy.   She is the niece of my friend's son-in-law, and has had to undergo lots of difficult procedures over the last few weeks with more to come.   My friend asked me to make this doll and we decided on a list of words to embroider on her to give hope and encouragement to her and her family.

I added butterflies, stitched and appliqued flowers and appliqued teddy bears.   She holds a star in one hand and a flower in the other.   She is bigger than the others I have made because she is definitely meant to be cuddled. I used this fabric on the back of the doll.  Perhaps it will remind her of the many friends and family members who care for her. 

These dolls which started as gifts to friends, have travelled widely, providing support and comfort through cancer, chronic illnesses, grieving losses, surgeries, and end of life.   They have become a labour of love for me and a way to make art with a very different purpose.
I'm linking this post up to the Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesdays - Click on the red button on the right to visit some great Canadian blogs.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year of Quilting!

Snow Days!

Backyard Visitor

Enjoying the Mild Snowy Day
We sure had a snowy holiday season and it continues.     I have been busy at work on finishing projects and starting new ones.  I finished the doll for the brave little girl who is undergoing chemo.  I made this one larger so she can be cuddled.  I don't have a photo yet but will post it soon.

Here is a little sneak peek at a tiny corner of my Sunshine and Vines Challenge piece.  It's all I can show you.   I wanted to try to use only the five fabrics in the kit but ended up using 2 other fabrics for sky and water.   The rest will be kit fabrics.   I free motion stitched the trees here.  In fact I am trying to machine stitch the whole piece.  I have several layers of fabrics in some places and was struggling with tangles and other nasty issues.   I had to rethread, try different combinations of threads, change needles, tensions etc etc until I finally got it to sew.  It's a big learning curve.

In fact I feel like I am on a giant learning curve right now - machine work, dolls, some needle punch felting (I made a wrist cuff), and rug hooking.   I also joined SAQA and I am working on some pieces which I may enter into jurying for upcoming exhibitions.  I guess we can get too comfortable for a time then it's on to the next challenge (s).   I am also determined to open an Etsy shop this year.

At home, I finally broke down and purchased a new TV (you should see my old one), and got gifts of an ereader and new microwave (you should see my old one:)   All this technology means new learning......whew!    Some days I just wish for a cabin in the woods....

Background for new floral piece
But look what I accomplished with a combination of mother nature and technology - my first machine pieced background - starting with sun prints (thank you mother nature), cutting them into rectangles and machine stitching them together (thank you pfaff).   There are two different sizes of rectangles and I wasn't too worried about the corners meeting perfectly because it will be mostly covered up with the flowers.   Also a couple of the squares stand out a bit too much but I will take care of that when I add flowers and foliage.

Rough sketch of flowers for new floral piece
I am using the background for another floral piece (Down the Garden Path: Friendship is a Garden II).  I will construct some of the flowers in this sketch and place them on the background......I hope to use free motion and hand stitching on this one.

I picked up my gift certificate prize from Canada Beading yesterday and bought some lovely silk threads with it.  I'll take a photo of them and post soon.  I also hopped over to the Running Stitch - great sale - and used a gift certificate from my son to purchase lots of great kids know what I like!

I am still finishing up a hand stitched piece of aging which I think I will call "When I Was Twenty-One"  but that could change.     My colour challenge piece is almost completed - all hand stitched so far.   I sure have lots to keep me busy and I am trying to get some stuff done now because I am scheduled for catarract surgery in March and again in April which may slow me down a bit - but not for long.   Oh and I was one of the members featured on a new group I joined in November FAMM (fibre arts and mixed media).  It's a Yahoo group.   Very nice!