Monday, November 7, 2016

Shows and Exhibitions

***Please note - Colour Unboxed at Textile Museum in Almonte, Ontario - NEW HOURS
The museum will be CLOSED from Dec 23 to Jan 9, 2017.
Opening hours changed to 10 am to 2 pm.

I am gearing up for three weekends of shows starting on November 18 but first I decided to take a weekend off and attend a quilt retreat.   I can't believe I am doing this the weekend before a show but I have worked hard and have lots of work to show.   The trouble is I keep getting inspired to start more works when I know I really should wait till January.    I will probably be finishing up some small embroideries at the retreat or maybe pricing and packaging necklaces:)   Or just eat and drink and walk in the woods:)))

Please check my Exhibition page if you are in the Ottawa area.   I will post details and posters. Besides the three craft and artisan shows,  I am taking part in an exhibition at the Textile Museum in Almonte starting in mid December with my fibre arts group Out of the Box.  It promises to be a wonderful exhibition of fibre art.   I will post that one too.

I have been embroidering birds this fall.  I used to draw birds and sculpt them in clay (many years ago) and have done a few embroidered or appliqued birds but these are very tiny - made to fit into mini frames and hanging ornaments.  The difficult part is setting a price on them.   They take a long time to stitch using one or two strands of thread but in the end they are tiny ornaments or framed minis.   They are fun to make though!

Red Breasted Nuthatch on the side of a tree trunk

Cardinal, Chickadee, Loon and Nuthatch

this 2" high goldfinch is ready to frame
Ornaments - loon, cardinal  and downy woodpecker

Besides birds, and as far removed as one can get, I have been playing with needle felting and embroidering abstracts.   I started a series called Building Character, looking at the ways we can describe people using shapes and expressions - it started with a piece called Spiralling Out of Control (I was having a bad day).   This one is called When Edgy Meets Calm
When Edgy Meets Calm

 I am finishing up two others -  "With Eyes Wide Open" (ie aware)  and "The Flash" (ie appearing like a bolt of lightning).   I'm thinking about Diva, Firecracker, Sunny Personality,  Bubbly etc etc ..........all to come.    This could be fun.

Talk about Serendipity,  last week I unknowingly parked my car under a Ginkgo Biloba tree.   I returned to find my car covered with beautiful Ginkgo leaves.   Luckily none of the gunky fruit landed on the car but they were scattered on the ground.  I took some photos then rescued a few leaves from my car and brought them home.   Their shape is so beautiful!  I am still finding some stuck around the trunk of my car.  

When I was gathering photos to post I saw this little reminder of my hiking trip to Cape Breton in September - seems so long ago.   These Adirondack chairs behind our rented cottage in Neils Harbour beckon but we barely had time to sit in year..
Hope to see you at the shows!    Check my Exhibition page.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Upcoming Shows - Preparations

My two art works are off to Fibre Content at the Burlington Art Gallery and now I am concentrating on preparing for the fall shows - working on some major pieces as well as smaller framed work, embroidered and landscape necklaces, and even some painted jewelry.

I have been hampered by ongoing dental work which was supposed to finish today with a permanent bridge but a problem with the bridge work means more weeks of uncertainty, careful eating, and appointments.  I have also had exterior work done on my house which took a chunk out of the summer too.   But that's finished now.

On October 7,8 and 9 I will be taking part in Expressions of Art with the WCAS in Carp, Ontario.  Click on the link for more info or to download the brochure.
Expressions of Art.

 Besides Expressions,  I will take part in the Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair at the Glebe Community Centre and Baz'Art at the Shenkman Centre in Orleans in November, and the $100 and Under Sale in Carp (WCAS) in early December.    I will post details on my Exhibitions page shortly.

I have been doing some experimenting too.   I follow Mary Corbet's wonderful embroidery site  Needle'n Thread and I learn so much.    Recently she demonstrated how to stitch free form using a voided approach.  She used the letter A.   I tried it using an outline of my birdbath for the centre area and stitching florals all around it.  I really enjoyed the process and learned something that was transferable to other projects - and probably most embroiderers already know - when you can't draw on the right side of your background, draw on the back, stitch around it and you will know where to place your stitches on the front.   When finished, you pull out the original stitching.   It works so well!  And now I know when I want to make a piece in a circular form I can use that same technique to stitch a circle.
I didn't really leave the centre void but stitched it in white. 

It doesn't look as pretty as Mary's.....

Then I decided to stitch a circle (inside of a 4" hoop is perfect for tracing on the back)

.......And just stitch wildflowers and grasses till it was filled.

I am working on a piece for our Out of the Box exhibition in December at the Textile Museum in Almonte.    First I needed to needle felt several rectangles so I bought these yummy rovings at Wabi Sabi.

After needle felting each rectangle I hand stitched on each one (see previous blog posts) for months -  then placed them on a black felt background.   Here is a sneak peek at a bit of the almost finished piece.  The theme is Colour Unboxed and the title of this piece is Living Colour.

Here is another piece called Reclamation I think - lots of hand and machine stitching - which I will mount on a stretched canvas which has been covered in wrinkled tissue and painted to resemble the crumbling structure in the piece.
Lots of experimentation this summer!

Close up ....

I like to have lots of new smaller framed pieces ready too.  Here are a couple I have completed recently.

hand stitched

Hand and machine stitching

Here are some pendants drying on a messy glue tray.  I love to see them all together like this.  It almost makes it worth all the fussy cutting and gluing.

It has been difficult finding time to sew this summer but I managed to make some progress and will continue throughout the fall.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I was very pleased to receive word that my two pieces - Sunset Over Cavendish Beach and Look Up; Autumn's Last Hurrah - have been accepted into this year's Fibre Content exhibition at the Art Gallery in Burlington.  Yeah!!   Here are detail shots of sections of the pieces.   The beautiful hand dyed background on the second piece is by Pat Hardie.

Monday, July 4, 2016

UFOs and Other Fun

This summer I am determined to work on a few projects that were started then put on hold until my skills caught up to my ideas  (mostly around free motion stitching).   I still need to work on my free motion but I realize that I have been using it whenever I needed without thinking about it too much.  And as I stitch I am improving....slowly.   My biggest issue still is getting a smooth movement of fabric as I stitch.   I don't always like using a hoop especially when there is a lot of applique and hand stitches on the piece.  I do wear gloves most of the time. But I am trying to follow my own advice to learning anything - Just do it!

This is a floral piece I started a while ago.  I hand painted each flower to be attached to a pieced background of sun printed and painted fabric.   When I first started to free motion stitch them onto the fabric some of the flowers were too thick for my needles (layered petals, fusible, pellon - lesson number 1).   Once I found the right needles (topstitch), threads and settings the task has become do able again.   So I am working on this one - perhaps for our Out of the Box show at the Textile Museum - if I can finish in time.

This one that I refer to as "The Wall" but is about breaking down walls not building them, was started last summer with the hopes of entering in the SAQA show "Concrete and Grasslands".  I came across this structure on a hike in Cape Breton - an old mine building that was abandoned and crumbling.  Foliage and young trees were growing up inside it.  I thought it was so thematic - nature reclaiming human built structures.   However, I didn't finish in time and put the whole thing aside.   So now I am back at it - machine stitching the concrete structure and hand stitching the foliage.  I think I will add a satin sky.  Last night I spent the evening cutting out leaves.  I think the  trees were alders and maples.   I am about to machine stitch the trees down and add branches before placing the leaves by hand stitching.  I took some liberties with the original photo adding an old crumbling outbuilding and more flowers than grasses.  Less trees (it was in a forest).

I really liked the way the wall turned out but not sure about the foliage.  I have left lots of bare spots and feel inclined to keep stitching - don't know when to stop?  Thinking of calling it "Reclamation".

Lastly, I have started another piece which was planned for the Textile Museum show in December.  I briefly discussed this one before.  I am hand stitching pieces of felt in rainbow colours and plan to create some kind of structured piece with it.  I have not totally decided on the finishing but keep stitching on.   The theme is Colour Unboxed and I am using needle felting to change the colours gradually from one row to the next - and using corresponding threads.   My marks include symbols of earth, sky, water, and so on and one aspect of the theme is that colour exists in nature with purpose aside from aesthetics - think of the chameleon for example, brightly coloured flowers to attract pollinators.... Colour is part of the connections that exist between species - with purpose and beauty.   And of course there is the rainbow....

Here's what I have so far.  Above these will be the reds - purple red, to red, to red orange.  In the first row shown the orange yellow at the bottom will continue in a row of orange yellow, yellow, yellow green still to come, which will then continue into this yellow green, green and blue green row.....and on to the blues shown here, then purples.  Hope that makes sense.  Still working on the middle blue row in this photo.  May add some beads and fringe....who knows!

These are mostly stitched using the beautiful hand dyed threads from Colour Complements

Circle of life, olive branch, water, fish, hearts for love

Autumn leaves

hills, trees, wind, water.....

I hope it will turn into something eventually........

Here are a few of my latest fabric landscape necklaces - doing a lot of stitched "Tree of Life" ones too - like the one on the right.

And yesterday I took out my new Pebeo Fantasy paints to try them out - they are so much fun!
They are more like oils than acrylics so I worked near an open window and hope the odour will dissipate when cured - but they look so neat!  I tried some on bits of 1" cardboard which I cut to fit trays.   The first one below is painted right onto the tray but may need to be covered since it is set rather low inside - apply paint more thickly perhaps.   I want to try some of the other paints too.  These are the Prisme.  Works on metal, glass, wood, card etc.  The results can be manipulated a bit but are largely serendipitous.  I applied the paint with a round toothpick.

I am linking up with WIP Wednesdays at the Needle and Thread Network here

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quilt of Belonging

I had the good fortune to see the Quilt of Belonging when it was in Kingston recently.  I had seen it several years ago when it came to the Museum of Civilization (now Museum of History). The venue at the Curling Club in Kingston was perfect for seeing a panoramic view of the whole quilt.
Here are a few different views - think of it - 130 feet long!   Each square represents one country of the world who have people living in Canada.  From what I understood, that is all the countries of the world.    As well, all along the sides and bottom are representatives of tribes of First Nations, as well as Inuit and Metis.   What an education and what an emotional experience aside from the beauty and expertise of the quilt itself!   My friend and I stayed the whole afternoon.

It was so well set out with benches along the way to rest and observe.  They were covered in quilts.  As well, there were groupings of comfy chairs and tables holding several copies of the accompanying book which tells the story of each square.   Add to that, we were able to take a lunch break in the adjoining eating area overlooking the quilt.

Gathering to read and chat about the Quilt

 There were pages spread out over a table and we were encouraged to sign along the curved lines drawn there.   These pages will accompany the Quilt in its travels.

By chance, we were there for the opening ceremonies complete with town crier, First Nations drummers and singers, local politicians and the woman who started it all - Esther Bryan.     The town crier made the announcement, Esther spoke about the idea and the process, the politicians cut the ribbon and the drummers chanted "We are all One People".    Such a moving experience!

Esther is on the Right

And then we had cake!

Amazing embroidery

The Metis square - one of my favourites!!

The top strips were hand dyed

Oh, the stitching!

This amazing beadwork

From the individual squares with some of the most wonderful embroidery and beadwork to the hand dyed top strips and cord to the colour coordinated backgrounds and the tassels on the bottom, this quilt was a work of art. The quilt took 8 years to complete and all was done with many volunteers.

The website has photos of each square with the story behind it and the beautiful book can be ordered for $30.   There are also tour dates on the site.   Check it out here

If you haven't already seen this Quilt, watch for it to come to a venue close to you.  Not only a beautiful work of art but a way to celebrate our diversity and connect us all.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Canada Post Blues

I am holding my breath hoping that a Canada wide postal strike or lock out will be averted.  Just in case it happens I have placed my Etsy shop on vacation mode.   I don't sell a lot through Etsy but you never know and customers do contact me from time to time to purchase from my blog or website.  Unless customers are in the Ottawa area it looks like I will not be able to sell any small items online as long as this threat hangs over our heads.  Larger pieces can ship through alternative means but it is way too expensive for smaller stuff. The worst is that I can't place my own orders to purchase jewelry findings or threads.  Boohoo!!  I do have a fairly good supply on hand as long as things get settled soon.  Luckily all my art work for shows, CDs etc have been mailed.   With all the artists and craftspeople who sell online, this can be so bad for business!

Since I can't buy stuff I might as well get working.....I am working on a new hand stitched project and doing some free motion work on some UFOS so hopefully I will have new work to post soon.  I am procrastinating on the machine work but once I sit down to sew I can really get into it.

I also saw the Quilt of Belonging in Kingston last week.   It was an emotional experience!  I will post details and photos soon.
Keep cool!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Threadworks Exhibition and Travelling Show

I just received word that two of my three art works on exhibit in Wellington County Museum and Archives have been chosen to travel around Ontario with Threadworks.   How exciting is that!   I have seen the catalogue of the beautiful array of work presently at the Wellington County show and am very happy to be joining some of these wonderful pieces in the travelling exhibition (my art gets to travel more than I do).
Blueberry Magic

Kitchen Party
 Here is a partial itinerary- so far.

Wellington County Museum and Archives
Fergus, On     April 16 - May 29, 2016

Museum of Northern History,
Kirkland Lake     June 6 - August 21, 2016

Bruce County Museum,
Southampton, ON         Sept 1 - Oct 22, 2016

Fort Frances Museum
Fort Frances     Nov 1 - Dec 14, 2016

Dryden and District Museum
Dryden     Jan 4 - Feb 22, 2017

Lake of the Woods Museum,
Kenora, ON      Mar 9 - April 27, 2017

Thunder Bay Museum
Thunder Bay, ON       May 8 - June 29, 2017

Temiskaming Art Gallery
Haileybury     July 4 - Aug 30 2017

 Arther Child Heritage Museum
Gananoque      Sept 12 - Oct 31, 2017

Scugog Shores Museum
Port Perry, ON              Nov 6 - Jan 6, 2018

more TBA

Now that I finally finished my taxes and mailed them off,  I am starting work in earnest on a piece that I will submit to Fibre Content in Burlington if I finish in time.  It started with a hand dye I purchased recently at our Fibre Fling which I am embroidering and adding applique.  More on this piece later.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Great Happenings!! Fibre Fling 5, Threadworks and My Heritage!

Last weekend was Out of the Box Fibre Artists' Fibre Fling 5.   It is our most successful show to date.   We had a great turnout and sales were high!  Of course, we are always so happy to hear the enthusiasm of visitors for Fibre Art.   What a diversity of work using every kind of fibre imaginable!   Many took part in the high tea served on Saturday as well.   The final numbers are not calculated yet but I am sure we raised many dollars for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 

I sold 3 out of my 5 exhibition pieces and many of my small art pieces in our separate sales area.   All of the necklaces I brought were sold.  My apologies to customers who came looking for necklaces on Saturday to find them gone.   But please don't forget I have an Etsy shop (see sidebar)!   All in all a very good show for me as well:)   

After basking in the glow for two days during the show,  I came down to earth rather sharply when I looked around at all the chaos I left behind at home.   An added reality check came the following day when I found myself up to my elbows in (clean) water reaching into the toilet tank to replace a broken part.   Ah well, nothing lasts forever:)

More good news!  I am thrilled to report that the following three pieces will be part of this year's '.Threadworks  Exhibition at the Wellington County Museum and Archives.  As soon as I read that the theme was  'Flashback'  I knew I had to apply!    These three pieces each describe a different aspect of the theme, from coming of age in the sixties, to questions about a group of old weatherbeaten kitchen chairs in a field in PEI, to a piece taken from an old instamatic camera photo of my son and I as he discovered blueberries growing in the Gatineau Hills (he is now 42).

When I Was Twenty One

Kitchen Party

Blueberry Magic

As well, I just shipped two pieces to Edmonton for the Focus on Fibre Art Association show

' My Heritage' .  The show opens on May 5, 2016.

Protecting Our Wilderness: Canada's National Parks

Votes for Women: The Women's Mock Parliament

I am very excited to have had all five pieces juried into these two shows and it is heartening as well to hear positive feedback from visitors to our Spring show.   We spend a lot of our time alone in our studios with only our friends to critique our work (and they will always say nice things deserved or not:).   It means so much to have feedback from other artists, art lovers, buyers, and impartial judges.  It validates and inspires!!     I was thinking that I need to remember this the next time I get a rejection notice!

So back to work.   This is the time of year when I need to start applying for fall shows as well so - no time to rest.  I am pulling up applications, taking photos and dreaming about new work.....But first the dreaded taxes......