Sunday, 30 December 2012

Grandma's Kitchen

This piece is sold

"Grandma's Kitchen" was the theme for this Journal Quilt way back in December, 2008.  It was during the first year of our Journal Group.

Gradually I'll add all the journal quilts that I've done.  They go back to 2008.  That's 5 years worth, times 12.  Look forward to about 60 pieces in the future!  And I'll add other, non-journal pieces as well.

This work ended up 12” x 20” approximately, although I had intended to cut it off at 12” square, in keeping with the rest of the art journals.  I couldn't bring myself to cut it down though, and I like it the way it is, even though the elements tend to 'float around' a bit.

I started with the hand painted flowers that I fused onto the procion dyed background. These were then thread painted in yellows and creams. The sketch of my grandma’s kitchen was done by my uncle when he was a young man. I have always loved this sketch. I traced the main elements onto the background and then machine stitched the outlines in a heavier black cotton thread.

The old doily was spray fused onto the background and then stitched. I had the most fun with the machine quilting on this piece. I love the details around the doily. In an attempt to balance things I stitched on some quilted inchies that I had kicking around, and added the trinkets of tea kettle, watering can and trowel because my grandma loved her garden and her kitchen.

And here's a close-up:


This piece is sold

"Doorways" was this journal quilt theme, and it was from July, 2010

Doorways in July.  It makes me think about sailing in the coastal passages; every time you come around a headland you're sailing through a doorway into another landscape and another set of conditions.

Size 12” x 12”

I used batik fabrics, 2 layers of cotton batting, polyester embroidery threads, sheer fabrics and lace.

Techniques:  I worked within my scrap basket, layering raw edge pieces into a landscape design directly onto the first layer of cotton batting. Different colours of synthetic sheers and laces were placed over the raw edge composition. I used a blue sheer for the sky, and a lighter blue for the water.  Dense textured quilting was done to hold the sheer in place.  These are the swirls in the sky, the water texture, and the trees.  

Now, I'm supposed to say that next, I used a heat gun to melt away most of the sheers.  But, being me and impatient to look for the heat gun, I used my iron (IRON!) instead.  Yes, what a mess!  And whoops the lace went too. Next time I will use cotton lace, and cotton thread too, so that the thread will not melt!

Then I added a second layer of batting and a backing and did some simple quilting to add some dimension.  Here you can see the shapes of the mountains, and the trails in the water. The border is actually the binding with another strip of batting added to make it extra puffy. I was originally going to make a round border and make it look like a porthole, but for the sake of saving time I made a window/door frame instead.

Here is a close-up:

That Storm

This piece is sold

This Journal Quilt is from a theme way back in March 2011.  The theme was to be: “Something Significant in March”.  Well, nothing significant happened in March 2011!  So I left this theme to idle for a whole year, until;


That storm that happened on the West Coast in March 2012.  The wind came out of an unusual corner and whipped around the islands like frenzy.  Hurricane force gusts hit the mid coast.  Countless large trees were laid flat, storm surges sent rocks over roadways, branches everywhere.  On the bluffs near our place I counted 32 trees down, mostly pine poorly anchored to the rocks.  We also lost a very large 3 foot diameter Douglas fir.
Now that's significant.

Size: 12” x 12”

Materials and Techniques:

I started with a 12 ½ piece from a storm at sea quilt top that I had deemed inferior. I must have thrown this old quilt top away at least 6 times. I keep retrieving it from the garbage can at the last minute. I took a square out of the top and prepared it ages ago thinking it might turn into a journal quilt one day. What I did was paint it with gesso and white acrylic paint to tone it down and stiffen the fabric. Then I overpainted with blue acrylics and so it sat.

Then we had THAT STORM in March and I knew what I would do with it. Meanwhile I received a phone call from the bus depot saying there was a large/heavy tote box waiting for me; prepaid. Inside was a treasure trove of upholstery fabrics courtesy of my brother. And so the tree was born out of a piece of fuzzy evergreen upholstery. I fused it onto the background and then freemotion zigzagged around the edges. It looked a little plain so I added some irridescent turquoise fabric paint to highlight the glistening branches. The backing is denim, and the quilting is done in ‘isobars’ to accentuate the force of the wind.

Here is a close-up:

I entered this little art quilt into our local fall fair and I can't beleive the attention it got.  For some reason it grabbed people.  I think it must be the action and movement, or suggestion of movement that does it, because the colours aren't particularly striking, I don't think.  I received a phone call and an offer to buy it, so it's no longer mine, but look out for more in this series of stormy trees because I still have more of that old quilt left!  

Monday, 24 December 2012

Cedar Tree Silhouette

This piece is sold
Title: ‘Cedar Tree Silhouette’

Size: 12” x 12”

INSPIRATION: I grew up on the West Coast, and the silhouette of dead cedar tree tops was a frequent and powerful view on the skyline.

CONSTRUCTION: This design was bleach discharged onto black cotton fabric. Batting is cotton. The machine quilting is very simple, and was done with polyester embroidery thread. The moonbeam was added after the quilting with Shiva oil paintsticks.

Here's a close up:

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Earth, Air, Water, Fire

This piece is sold.
"EARTH, AIR, WATER, FIRE" was the theme for The Cyber Fibre Journal Group.  and it's title is the same.

It took me a while to come up with an idea: that earth + air + water + fire(sun) = LIFE!  This was a theme that I chose for the group, but that didn't make the process any easier!  This 'cutaway' of the earth is an idea that I have seen done a few times before in different media, but I hope I have interpreted LIFE in my own whimsical way, using my own elements.

Size about 9” x 12”

Here's a close up:

Materials and techniques: commercial fabrics, fusible applique, machine embroidery, oil paintstik, hand embroidery, and machine quilting.  I used the metallic sliver thread by Sulky and was very pleased with how well it behaved and I really love the effect in the raindrops.

"Blood Diamond; It's Not a Game"

My Journal Group had chosen the theme "GAMES".   Look at the image for a while to see if you can understand what my GAMES piece is all about, and then scroll down to see the explanation!

Size: 12” x 12”

The idea for this piece came to me after watching the movie “Blood Diamond” with Leonardo DiCaprio. What an amazing actor. The movie is violent, but has a powerful message to anyone (me for example) who wasn’t aware of all the politics surrounding blood diamonds. I highly recommend watching it.  It makes me glad that I don't own a diamond.


Between 1991 and 2002 Sierra Leone in Africa was faced with a civil war against rebels supported by Charles Taylor’s Liberian special forces who were attempting to overthrow the Sierra Leone government of the day. Rebel armies attacked whole villages. 50,000 people were displaced. Many villagers were killed. Some were forced into diamond mining. Young boys were captured and forced into rebel service. The diamonds were being smuggled out of the country into neighbouring Guinea. From Guinea they were then sold as legitimate diamonds to the European market. The proceeds of the diamonds were used to fund the rebel armies. There are several other countries in Africa also guilty of trafficking in blood diamonds.

The Quilt:

Title:  "Blood Diamond: It's Not a Game!"
The gameboard is made from strips of fabric cut into wavy lines and then woven together. This represents the then unstable political structure of the area. Sheer fabric is placed over and the piece is stitched onto batting to hold it in place. I used red fabric to represent the “red earth of Africa”. The beige fabric also had a look like primitive cave markings that I thought was appropriate. The diamond is made from two pieces of sheer fabric fused together. I traced the diamond onto it with pencil and then stitched a line. This I overstitched with a narrow satin stitch. I cut it out close to the stitching line. The black pawns represent the enslaved black children and diamond workers. They are fused in place and outline stitched. The map of Africa was drawn onto a piece of water soluble stabilizer. Two rows of stitching around the coast and then the stabilizer was ripped out and the remains removed with a few pats of water. The small diamonds are a few beads stitched in place. The piece is double batted with cotton batting.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Finding Perfection in Imperfection

Size: 12” x 12”
Materials and Techniques: Hand-dyed and commercial cotton fabrics for top and backing. Fusible applique, free motion quilting.

I love those leaves of salad or oregon grape that turn brilliant as they die in a blast of glorious colour. The motivation for this quilt comes from those imperfect leaves.

As you can see I didn’t try for an exact copy, but instead used the colours and shapes as inspiration. I'm really enjoying the abstract approach to quilting.  I can zone out while I choose fabrics and I'm not getting too fussed on accuracy or realism.  I'm enjoying the interplay of colour and shape.
I lost some detail as I cropped my quilt down to size. (And I did it again today on another quilt!) Oh well, live and learn.

Here's a close-up.