Thursday, 24 October 2013


Approx size: 13” x 13”

You know all the little messages going around in your head? Like the ones that say you can’t do that, or, there’s no time for this, or, what if you waste your time, or make a mistake, or get criticised, or totally MUCK IT UP. Well I wanted to be free of that, and I’m my own worst enemy, believe me. So this week I just made time for absolute FREEDOM from all that and I set out to play.

Aside from a wonderful feeling inside (that is still with me) my day resulted in this little piece. I started with double batting and a backing. I had a rough idea of the image I was going to make, and so I trialed scraps of fabrics for the sky, water, boat, and sail. (There, I told you what it was, so you don’t need to embarrass me by asking). Next I placed a piece of navy sheer polyester on top and started free motion stitching with cotton thread. An hour later I brought it outside and blasted it with the heat gun until the sheer melted away. Ahhhhh. My favourite technique at the moment. That’s it, no paint, and the binding is only pinned on at the moment, but you don’t know that.

Oh yes, the spiral. I’ve used it before as a symbol of growth, which I hope I’m working on. I think it also holds the spark of freedom today. Hop on board!

Fabrics are a mix of hand dyed, batik, commercial, and an African print for the boat. The pieces are neither fused, nor sewn. Only the top stitching holds them in place.

Here is a close up:

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My Place

Approx size:  16 ½ “ wide x 14 ½ “ tall

This piece is done in response to a summer challenge of 2013 which was to interpret 'Your Place' in fabric.  This could be a literal translation of your house, your property, or  your garden.  Or it could be a wider interpretation of 'your place' in the world, your community, or your family.  Included was to be an object of personal significance in your picture (real or copy).  For example, your pet, your favourite chair, the tree you planted.

All pieces are hand-dyed.  The orange fabric is stamped with a hand carved stamp.  The green fabric is stamped, but also sketched using wheat paste medium.

My challenge to myself was to incorporate these varied fabrics into one piece, and then let them play off one another.  Repeated shapes, repeated colours, and rich texture in a formal, yet informal layout keep the eyes moving around, searching for an element of harmony.  The paintbrush becomes the object to which all other elements relate.

Here is a photo of the pieces beginning to take shape:

And here is a close up of the stitching which includes quilting, thread painting on the leaves, and background infill on the orange.  

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Salish Sea

Size:  yet to be measured...

A stylized view overlooking the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) and towards the Coast Mountains of BC.
This was a very fun, experimental piece that involved lots of burning, cutting, and painting.  I tore my hair out more than once over this!  In the end though, I am happy with the results and am planning more like this.  I am enormously inspired by the Canadian artist David Blackwood, His use of line to create texture, and his moody atmospheres draw me in.

Here is a close up where you can see the texture, the paint, and the stitching:

Monday, 30 September 2013

Giant in the Forest

Approx: 24" x 36"

I had the most lovely visit from a group from the Friends of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  A most appreciative audience!

In this piece a miniature world is revealed in the texture of tree bark, when viewed up close. Here we are looking up into the canopy of a forest of giants in Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island.

The piece is hand dyed, textured, fused, free-motion stitched and painted.

Here is a close-up:

Saturday, 28 September 2013

That Storm III

approx: 24" wide x 30" long

 I started with a 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 at the last minute.  I prepared several sections out of the top by painting them with gesso and white acrylic paint to tone it down and stiffen the fabric. Then I overpainted with coloured acrylics and so they sat. Then we had THAT STORM in March 2011 and I knew what I would do with them. 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 pieces of upholstery fabric. I fused them onto the background and then free-motion zigzagged around the edges.  Next I added some irridescent fabric paint/oil stick to highlight the glistening branches. The piece is double batted, and the quilting is done in ‘isobars’ to accentuate the force of the wind.  The resulting textile is quite stiff and heavy, but can still be rolled.  I have done three versions of this stormy tree in different sizes and colours.

And here is a close up:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Forest Filter III

Size:  Approx 21 1/2 x 21"

I had a lovely studio visit today with spouses of Woodlot Association of BC members.  A great occasion to unveil my latest forest pieces.  The background fabric is procion dyed, then silkscreened and overpainted with thickened dyes.  Distant trees are cut from polyester sheer.  Middle distance trees are fused/machine appliqued.  The piece is double batted with cotton, but the tree trunks have an extra layer.  The branches and mosses are thread sculpted.  Oil sticks are used for highlights and sunlight.

Here is a close up of the texture on one of the trunks.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Walk a Mile in His Shoes II

Size:  approx 20 3/4" x 21 1/2"

The title and theme for this piece came from a journal quilt that I did of the same name.  Imagine those tired out old hiking boots, or work boots and their owner that have seen better days!   This piece is more in depth, larger, and of finer quality than the first version.  Some of the materials and techniques that were used include:  procion dyeing for the background fabrics, wheat paste resist, rust dyeing for the boots, Tsukineko inks, deconstructive silk screening, bleach discharging, encrusting for the tree trunks, thread painting for the boots and branches, sheer fabrics for the background trees, foiling for the lettering, cheese cloth for the lichens, trapunto, free motion quilting, and oil stick paint.

Here is a close up of the boot and background, and branches:

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Size: 12 ¾” x 14 ¼”

I'm pleased with this little piece.  Despite taking all summer to stew over, it really didn't take that much time.  The hardest part was coming up with an idea for the quilting design.  Decided against trees for this one!
I’ve been exploring some new techniques this summer using combinations of paint and burnings, and journal quilts are a perfect way for me to document my trials. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried this technique, but I’m working out some bugs… I normally do my journal quilts at 12 x 12, but this one I forgot to cut down before quilting and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it afterwards. I would have ended up cutting off some of the leaves that I really liked.

I started with the scrap pile that sits behind my sewing machine, and sorted out some greens and blues. After piecing them together in a random fashion I wasn’t too pleased with the results. The range of hues and values was just too large, and made no design sense at all. So I toned the whole piece with some acrylic lime green, leaving fabric colours showing through the paint.

After drying I layered on a piece of sheer polyester in a burgundy colour. This was stitched down using a burgundy cotton thread in a free motion design of stylised hydrangea blossoms and leaves. The background I filled in with pebbles.

Next I took the heat gun to the piece and burned away the highlights of the sheer, leaving the fabric showing through.

Sometimes I’ve painted again overtop of the burning, but I will leave this one alone. I’m pleased with the layered effect and I like the seam line ‘Intersections’ showing through.

Next I would like to try using different colours of sheers and threads on the top layer for new effects. We’ll see! I would also like to piece the background like crazy roses, and then stitch roses on top.

Here is a close up:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Summer began with a very successful Studio Tour in June, followed by some enthusiastic groups of visitors through July and August.

Still, I found time to spend outside with some fabric dyes.  Here is a selection of pieces that I dyed in the last few weeks.  Techniques that I used included:

scrunch dyeing
wheat paste resist
thickened procion dyes
graduated dyeing
deconstructive silkscreening
line dyeing
silk dyeing
fold dyeing
rusty objects

Some of these pieces are going to make great backgrounds!

Here is one such example; the background was dyed using a multiple fold method, and several dips into various shades of green.  Now I am in the process of painting a pear branch onto the fabric using a variety of pigment pencils and crayons, blended with textile medium.  Still to come is the stitching!

Here is a piece that started out with white fabric onto which I have painted silk dyes.  Next I am adding details with Tsukineko inks.  This will be heat set, and then stitched....

And here is a more abstract piece, also in progress.  I am considering this layout, then I will stitch it down with embroidery threads, and probably add paint too!

Plein air painting with dyes onto fabric.

 Painting on fabric with watercolour crayons and textile medium.

This piece is still in layout format. The next step is to stitch, then go in with some thread painting, and some oils.  The background fabric has the deconstructive silkscreening process used on it.

Another at the same stage.

Now when the cool weather comes I am ready to spend some time at the sewing machine with all these pieces to complete.

This one is a watercolour on PAPER!  It's a plein air painting I did one afternoon in a friend's backyard.

Friday, 17 May 2013

"Forest Filter"

This piece has sold

Approximately 18" x 22"

The inspiration came from photos taken at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.  I started with hand-dyed background fabric using a technique I'll call 'line-dyeing'.  The tree trunks have had all kinds of torture treatment; encrusting, layering, stitching, heating, burning, padding, and then painting.  In that order.  The distant trees are made with sheer fabrics, cut out with a stencil cutter.  The middle distance tree trunks are fabric.  The moss on the tree trunks is made with thread built up onto water soluble stabilizer.  As are the foreground branches.  

Her is a close up.  I love how the light comes through the trees, created by the choice of fabrics.

And here is another close up of one of my favourite bits; the moss on the tree trunks.  When you see it the moss looks so real.  You can also see that the background is stitched to add more texture.  Oil paint is used on the tree trunks to show reflected light.

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Black Matters

Size 12" x 12"

I love it when, after being ‘stumped’ for months, suddenly an idea pops into being. While hiking in the forest taking photos for future ‘tree’ art I came across fire blackened Douglas Fir stumps. On closer inspection tiny lichens and infantile mosses appeared. Rather than being pure black the stump had a rainbow of colours, from the blue sheen of wet charcoal, the vibrant greens, golds, and brown specks of lichens, to the rich reds of undamaged bark. New life clung to cracks in the old.

My idea for this piece evolved 180 from my original plan. My first thought was to burn the hand-dyed cottons for the real effect. I did try holding a few pieces over a candle and under the heat gun. I found the results amusing and messy! A few burst into flame, others just got sooty and I ended up with black fingers. I abandoned that attempt, and fortunately had enough pieces left to proceed without the flames and soot.

I worked from a sketch, cutting out each piece and fusing them to a solid black base. They are stitched on using free-motion zigzag in black thread. The piece is rubbed with different colours of oil stick and left to dry for 48 hours. The first piece of batting is placed under and textured machine stitching is added. Mosses and lichens are machine and hand embroidered. A little huckleberry is fused and embroidered. The large mosses were thread embroidered onto soluble stabilizer then stitched on with extra stuffing behind. Lastly, a second batting and backing were added before the final quilting to make the bark stand out.

I’m pleased with the result, but I do have a few changes to add. I’m finding that the negative space of black is a bit too strong on the lower left and I’m going to soften it some more with added oil sticks.

Here’s a close up:

Thursday, 14 March 2013


This piece has sold

Size 12" x 12"

As soon as I saw the theme “Reflections” I knew it would be easy to fit into my series of Trees. I worked from my imagination for the sketch of trees and their reflections. I had this piece of shibori fabric that I dyed last summer and I thought it really looked like sky or water. However, in order to get the water texture to appear horizontal I had to cut a diamond piece out of the larger fabric. What a waste of fabric! So the white stripes are horizontal, but the straight of grain is diagonally. If that makes sense. I will still use the rest eventually, (but maybe in smaller triangular pieces) since I really like the fabric.   

Next I used a blending colour of polyester sheer and cut out the trees all in one piece using my reversed paper pattern on a piece of plywood and my hot stencil cutter to melt the sheer. Works amazingly well and very quick! The sheer was then very fragile and to fit it to the background I first lightly sprayed it with 505 while it was still on the pattern board. I lowered the background onto the sheers, smoothed it flat with my hand, flipped it over and then peeled off the paper pattern gently. I’ve used a close free-motion stitch in polyester embroidery thread to applique the trees. One layer of cotton batting and then quilting is done in a slightly paler colour just outside the outlines. One more darker line across the horizon and that was it. I was tempted to do swirly’s in the sky, but refrained. Binding is done in a batik.  I should have double-batted.

Sorry I don’t have a close up, but the resolution on this one isn’t  great and there’s not really any detail to see. I do like the misty feeling of this piece.  

Friday, 15 February 2013

Rose Hips II

This piece is not for sale.

 A Rosa glauca in my garden is a constant delight. In autumn its bright red and burgundy hips glow against the garden’s leaves. This piece started in a strip piecing workshop with Coreen Zerr. Raw edge applique, thread painted leaves and hips, machine quilting, and hand embroidery are the techniques used.

Here is a close up of the rosehips:

Here is a close up of the thread painted leaves:



This piece is not for sale.  Sorry for the poor quality photo.

Width: 64 cm
Height: 64 cm

The piece resulted from a Guild Summer Challenge. The challenge was to use the stripey fabric, and I chose to use it’s similarity to wood grain. The flowers might be found in a piece of furniture wood inlay. Embellished with beads.  Hand and machine quilted.

Here is a close up:



This piece is not for sale.

 The inspiration for this piece was a small antique cloisonne vase. The challenge was to fill the background space with enamel like colours. The brass work is imitated by the gold coloured rayon thread, and the beads reflect the light like the jewel tones of the real vase. Raw edge fused applique, satin stitching, hand quilting, and beading are techniques used in this piece.

 Here is a close up of the thread work and the beading.

Well Behaved Women Marking Time in a Crazy World

This piece is sold.

Width: 42 cm
Height: 42 cm

This piece was my response to the summer challenge offered by my guild one summer. The challenge was to use both the quote "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History" and the challenge fabric which had kitchen implements all over it.  The challenge fabric is incorporated into the clock numbers.  A crazy quilted panel provides the canvas for this piece. The words:  " Well Behaved Women Marking Time in a Crazy World" are embroidered around the inside of the clock ring.  This title is a play on the original quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the women's historian and author. 

The women figures are marking time on the clock face, and are my interpretation based upon two stories related by the author Clarissa Pinkola Estes in "Women Who Run With the Wolves".  The figure on the left represents Skeleton Woman, and the figure on the right represents Butterfly Woman. 

Sheers, clock pieces, metallic paint, fabric markers, hand embroidery, free motion quilting are used in this piece.

Here is a close up:

Friday, 1 February 2013

Old Fishing Boat

Width: 36 cm
Height: 46 cm

I was intrigued by the different sculptural qualities of old paint, old wood, rust and moss. The challenge was to recreate them using the techniques of an art quilter. I used Egyptian cotton hand painted with dye, fabric paint, puff paint, fusibles, cotton threads, old rope.  The piece is double batted to give it rigidity.  It has commercial fabric backing. 
Here is a close up of the flaking paint:

Here is a close up of the rusty chain and the moss:

Vine Maple Leaves

These pieces are sold.

 Width: 36 cm
Height: 23 cm

The native vine maple is rare on our island, but a few exist to show their vibrant reds and purples in the autumn. They are the perfect subject to explore the sculptural qualities of quilting. Techniques: hand painted with dye. Machine embroidery, oil sticks. Free motion quilted.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cornus canadensis II

This piece is sold

Width: 35 cm
Height: 45 cm

The freshness of new bunchberry is shown against the craggy bark of an old cedar tree. This piece is hand painted with dyes. It is machine embroidered, beaded and embellished with oil sticks and puff paint. Hand-dyed backing. Cotton batting. Free motion quilted



Width: 35 cm
Height: 45 cm

A memory of grandma. She is surrounded by laces and embroidery from her era, and the green is like I remember from her kitchen. Techniques: photo transfer, acrylic paints and gesso. Cotton batting, muslin, fusibles, commercial fabrics, ribbon, recycled lace and embroidery.

Here is a detail: