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:

Eel Grass

This piece is sold

Width: 34 cm
Height: 26 cm

A wooden fish lurks in the eel grass surrounded by the treasures of the deep. Hand dyed background, painted and embellished eel grass, Angelina fibres, beads, yarn, shells, found objects, commercial fabrics. Free motion quilting with cotton threads.

Sorry about the photographic distortion.  I've learned a lot more about photography now and can avoid the barrelling shape.  Too late to go back and fix this one though!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Bracken Fern

This piece is sold

Width: 37 cm
Height:31 cm

The year I made this I was entranced by the colour turquoise! The rich colours and texture of dead bracken fern provided the contrast I was looking for, and cheered up a bleak winter's day. Mixed media, using wool roving, lace, ribbon, beads, sheers, embroidery threads, floss, tapestry fabric, and cotton batting. The techniques used to construct this piece include:  felting, machine embroidery and a hand painted background.  It is mounted on tapestry fabric.


Width: 68 cm
Height: 74 cm

The cut and recut background made me think of a trellis, and the trellis needed a vine. The vine is machine embroidered using rayon threads, lace, 3-D flowers, and beads. This piece is made from commercial fabrics and is free motion quilted.

Here is a close-up of the dimensional flowers:

Rosehips III

This piece is sold

Width: 64 cm
Height: 75 cm

This is the third time I have recreated these rosehips of the Rosa glauca plant. Their hips persist into the winter, glowing with red and burgundy. The centre panel is hand painted with dye. There is cotton batting, commercial borders, binding and backing. It is free motion quilted with oil stick highlights.

Main Lake

This piece is sold

Width: 106 cm
Height: 92 cm
A glassy calm day in autumn, with the fog just lifting above the tree tops. This piece has a hand painted centre panel that has been embroidered with rayon threads. The leaf border is done using a paper piecing technique. It has cotton batting, commercial and hand dyed fabrics and is free motion quilted.

Here is a close up of the centre painting:

In a Sea of Hydrangeas

This piece is sold

Width: 124 cm
Height: 99 cm

These blue hydrangeas grow in my garden and flower through the late summer and autumn. The perfect background for them was a hand-dyed piece of cotton inspired by the colours of the tropical sea. I have used hand-dyed and commercial cottons, sheers, rayon and cotton threads, and cotton batting. I have used a turned edge machine applique technique to complete the picture.

Here is a closeup of the quilting details:

Here is a close up of one of the flowers:

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Jungle Mask

Width: 120 cm
Height: 158 cm

This large wall hanging depicts a pottery mask made for me by my mother. The mask, with its bark like texture, watches over the garden from its vantage among the maple leaves. The central panel is a densely woven Egyptian cotton that I painted using Pebeo Setacolour pigment dyes.  This is extremely difficult to do without the dyes bleeding all over!  However, I've developed a technique that doesn't involve adding thickening mediums which can stiffen the fabric.  The border is first dyed with procion dyes, then stamped using my favourite method; styrofoam meat tray and silk screen paints.  They leave a lovely soft hand to the fabric. I free motion machine quilted the piece with polyester embroidery threads.  Highlights are done with oil sticks. Cotton batting interior and the backing is hand-dyed with commercial fabric inserts.

This photo shows the main panel after the painting is completed:


The next photo shows the centre panel with the dyed border added.

The next photo shows the quilting texture on the central panel.

Here is the completed quilt.

And here is a close-up of some detail.



Size 12x12

Techniques: Fused, machine applique, free motion quilting.
I included the symbol of a spiral to represent growth. I have been trying to design some original flower blocks and this is one of them. I was very interested in developing the quilting layer as an opaque layer, so I free-motion embroidered the black vines quite densely. 

This piece uses commercial batiks, polyester embroidery threads and cotton threads.

"Childhood Memories"

This piece is not available for sale.

This was a fun theme!

Size approx. 16.5” x 16.5”

This piece was constructed in response to the journal challenge “Childhood Memory”. Normally I do my journal pieces in a 12x12 format, and that’s what I started out doing. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed these extra pieces of an ‘ocean waves’ border that I had left over from another project, and they fit nearly perfectly so on they went. In most of my memories the ocean waves are in sight.

This is my brothers and I picking blackberries at our family’s favourite spot. Berry picking was an affair that went on all summer, and included anything that could be made into jam, jelly, pies, or syrup. The rainy background symbolizes our family’s determination to get outside despite the constant rainy weather. Picnic in the rain? No problem, just find a log or a bridge to hide under!

The applique is all fused and the quilting is simple outline quilting.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Tallhe Guest House, Bella Coola, BC

This piece is sold

Tallheo Guest House, Bella Coola, BC

Size: Approx 21 ½” x 27 ½” This quilt was done as a project in an Ionne MacCauley landscape class. I knew my niece was getting married in the summer, so I decided to do the piece for her. I started with a photo of the Tallheo Guest House, part of the Old Cannery that she and her soon to be husband are fixing up as a Lodge.

The technique is raw edge applique, the pieces being placed directly onto the batting. I paid attention to perspective and value while looking at the photo. I didn’t make a pattern, but cut freeform. I had a lot of fun constructing this house. I did a lot of dense quilting all over the piece, bringing in textures of wind, trees, grass, and foreground foliage.

Here is a close up:

Friday, 11 January 2013

"Tree of Life"

This little piece isn't actually a part of the archives; I finished it today!

This piece has sold

Size 12” x 12”

I’m pleased to have completed my fifth tree piece this year. Creating a series wasn’t something I started out to do, but I’m sure enjoying the process and look forward to a few more. From the first piece “Walk a Mile in His Shoes”, I loved working on the dimensionality and I guess I was easily inspired to try another, and another. Trees are a perfect fit because my studio looks out over the forest, with a couple of giant trunks just inches away from my window.

For my “Tree of Life” I wanted to show how an old Douglas fir tree supports a wide variety of other species. There is the bird that just flew away, the spider beginning its web, the dripping moisture from the ever present misty rain. I’ve tried to recreate the fractured bark growing with many types of lichen and moss. When the light hits the branch outside my window, it’s not brown at all, but various shades of gold, green, grey, blue, red, and purple.

I’m also trying to create more movement in my work, so I made the swirling mist and the drips of water.

I started with a piece of hand dyed background. My, I fussed over that. And now, I don’t really think it matters! The misty trees are cut from a piece of sheer using a hot stencil cutter. They are stitched onto the background. The tree branch is made from upholstery fabric overlaid with yarn, fabrics, threads, sheers and heavy stitching using cotton thread. I subjected it to the heat gun until it shrivelled and the sheers melted. It has batting underneath and is zigzagged using invisible thread to the backing. The quilting was done using polyester embroidery thread.

The branch is then painted with oilstick and dried for a couple of days. There are french knots to show the fruiting bodies of one crusty type of lichen. The patch of moss on the left is thread embroidered onto soluble stabilizer, as is the branch-like lichen, and the fir needles. (Oh dear, I need to get the lichen book out…you know there are 15,000 – 20,000 species worldwide. They are often classified by type: and I remember it this way; dusty, crusty, leafy, branchy, and hairy.)

The leafy lichen is made using housewrap, the top is dyed green, the back is coloured with a sharpie marker and then heat shrunk. The hairy lichen is a piece of dyed cheesecloth. The spider is made from two beads and some black floss. The web is some fine grey polyester embroidery thread.

I hope you enjoy – I sure had some fun making it!

And here is a close up:

"Walk a Mile in His Shoes"

This piece is sold
Walk a Mile in His Shoes

Size: about 13”x15”

This piece started with some textured trees that I did in a Susan Paynter workshop. Once again I’m using up pieces that have been unfinished. When I saw the trees trunks, and then looked at the themes the idea of old work boots popped into my head. The rust dyed fabric was also in the corner of my eye (Hey, it comes from leaving things lying around!). My brother has been in the logging industry since he started as a chokerman at age 16, during summer holidays. Now he works as a heavy duty mechanic/  He commutes daily and works the night shift when the machines are back in the yard after the working day. He often has to drive out at night in miserable conditions to fix broken down machinery in the field. He has surely gone through his fair share of work boots, and I'm hoping he'll hang his up for good soon.

The textured tree trunks were on a piece of lime-green fabric that was really too bright. So I layered some darker green batik in between leaving just pin stripes of the lime. I satin stitched the green down using different coloured bright threads. The cedar branch was started during the Susan Paynter workshop. It was made using zig-zag stitch onto soluble stabilizer. When the thread was built up enough I washed out the stabilizer. The trailing blackberry leaves were thread-painted onto a green background and then cut out. Both are just tacked into place. For the boots, I used a copyright free line drawing for the idea, but then changed them quite a bit. I drew them out onto paper, spray basted the paper to the back of my fabric. I stitched through the paper and then ripped the paper off the back. From the front I did more stitching, this time with stabilizer behind. The laces are thread-painted and there are shadows done with Tsukineko ink pens. This piece is double batted with cotton-poly batting and the quilting is simple straight lines and outline quilting. 

This piece has been the first in a series on trees.

Here is a close up:

Thursday, 10 January 2013

"Beginning and Ending and Beginning Again:

“Beginning and Ending and Beginning Again”

Size approx 8.5" x 11"

I am a mad, keen gardener and always have plants on my brain. I think often of the cycles of nature. At this time of year the garden is dying, and all the beautiful plants are coming to their ends. Imagine the seed pod cut open and see new life waiting there to begin. The "shadow" of the seed pod represents ghosts of cycles past. I chose colours in this year's pod that vibrate with energy. The rose quilting motif represents the anticipation of next summer's flowers.

Commercial and hand-dyed cottons, sheers, cotton batting. Rayon, cotton and polyester embroidery threads. Free motion quilted.

Here is a close up of the layers of sheers:










"All That Sparkles"

For the Journal Theme "All That Sparkles"

Size 12” x 12”

I used a tall glass to dye several pieces, dribbling the dye down the insides of the container. I got a couple of good pieces out of the container, but this one was a reject because the dye was too strong in places, and I was after that crystallized effect. A square of this rejected fabric was folded into a snowflake fold and then clamped in several places. A few strategic dips into full strength bleach and then a thorough rinsing out. The snowflake appeared, although faint in places. I highlighted the lines of the star by stitching with Sliver Thread (by Sulky). Too bad you can’t see the glitter in the photo. Not satisfied, I added some beads, trying my best to be subtle. Sorry, I couldn’t help it looking a bit like Christmas – that good old red and green!

Here is a close up of the thread and beading:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

An Apple A Day, Plus One!

This art quilt was for the theme "Repetition"

The size is approx 12” x 12”

The materials are hand dyed cottons, silkscreen paints, oil sticks, polyester embroidery threads. Cotton batting and backing.

This quilt was for a theme back in October, 2009, when there were apples, apples everywhere. I have about a dozen fruit trees to look after and 6 of them are apples. Applesauce, dried apples, apple jelly, frozen apples, apple pie, fresh apples. And now in December I’m still up to my eyeballs in apples.

This piece started with a piece of magenta dyed cotton.  I then stamped it with an apple design I had carved onto a meat tray with a ball point pen. I used silk screen paints put onto the meat tray with a paintbrush, using the colours I wanted. The design didn’t show up very well on the darker fabric so I overpainted and used oil sticks.  I used doilies and oil sticks creating the background, and finally the quilting adds detail to the apples and gold coloured polyester embroidery threads added an extra layer to the background.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Stop! Don't Throw Away That Amaryllis Yet!

After cleaning away all the Christmas decorations yesterday, all that was left was a soggy looking red amaryllis flower on the windowsill.  Pretty raggedy when you looked at it, but still, a splash of colour.  Who can blame me for leaving it out past it's best before date?  As I picked at it's bedraggled petals that were stuck like glue to the window pane the burgundy colour stained my fingertips.  Ah ha!  I remembered the pounded flower techniques that I've only done in my imagination before. 

Not one to let a little pigment go to waste, I quickly got some squares of fabric out.  The first one was a scrap of rust dyed fabric, and the second was a very pale purple attempt at deconstructive screen printing that was either going to be a future rag, or was in desperate need of overdyeing.

Here were my steps:

  • Ironed the fabrics to pieces of heavy duty freezer paper, mostly to help protect my ironing board.

  • snipped the petals off the flower and lay them on the rust dyed fabric.

  • Steamed the petals with the iron on hot about an inch above the fabric.  This further wilted the petals and made them lie flat.  It also moistened them quite a bit, which was a great help.

  • Placed another piece of heavy duty freezer paper on top and then ironed the whole mess until lots of colour came out into the fabric below.
At this point, the petals became stuck to the top piece of freezer paper so they were extremely easy to remove from the fabric.  I dryed the fabric by placing my pale purple piece over top and ironing.  When dry, I gave it another 30 seconds with the iron to heat set the colours. 

Here is a look at the effect on the rust dyed fabric:

I like the watercolour effect that the petals gave.  I felt there was still a lot of colour left in the petals that were stuck to the freezer paper so here is what I did:

  • Steamed the petals again with the iron.

  • Flipped it over onto the pale purple piece.

  • Rubbed and pressed with the iron, and with the back of a spoon.

  • Repeated several times, moving the petal/paper to different areas of the fabric below

  • Dryed and heat set the fabric.
Here is a look at the effect on the pale purple piece:

Here, the effect is more splotchy, but you can see there was still a lot of colour left. (About 50% of the colour came from the flower)  All this from just one flower bulb!