Saturday, 13 December 2014

'Finally' - Day is Done Teapot

By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Approx Size 12” W x 13” H

The theme is 'FINALLY' and “Day is Done” is the last of the nine teapots. Now it is time for the final cup of tea before bedtime using a teapot that could be from the Arabian Nights with its glittering beaded curtain hanging in the background. The midnight blue teapot glows with golden stars and a moon, while sunset infuses the sky. 

 Breath deep the night air, scented with jasmine tea.

Inspired by a Master II - Teapot

By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Size approx 12” W x 13” H

This is the 7th in the series of teapots, dedicated to the master Japanese potters who have been making teapots for centuries. The Japanese are also master tea makers in the highly ritualized tea ceremony that take making a cup of tea to the highest level of “wabi,” the inner experience of human lives like self control, introspection, respect, humility, and “sabi,” the outer material side of life like imperfection and emptiness. Following these principles of Buddhism were the first steps on the road to enlightenment.  The peach branch makes me think of Pearl S Buck, surely a master writer of some of my favourite stories.

The peach branch in the background is a symbol of longevity and immortality. A peach branch was used in China to ward away evil. It is the perfect fruit to accompany a peaceful cup of tea.

(with thanks to Wikipedia for the information about peaches, teamaking, and Japanese pottery.)

Architecture - Blue and White Teapot

By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Approx Size 12 “ W x 13 “ H

This is the 8th teapot in the series, and the most difficult to fit with a theme. On the surface there is the architecture of the pagoda on the teapot and the little mountain hut in the landscape. But I was also trying to contrast the architecture of the rough, brown, craggy mountain of nature with the smooth, refined, blue and white globe of the glazed teapot. There is some not so obvious symbolism between the grandeur and dominance of a sacred mountain and the architecture of very large, imposing buildings like cathedrals and skyscrapers built by architects, however humble they may be.

Nonetheless, there is sanctuary in the mountain hut as there is sanctuary in a cup of tea.  

The mountain is pure fabrication, as is the design on the teapot.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

That Storm IV

Line, texture, and sparkle play together in 'That Storm'; a significant happening in March 2011 where hurricance force winds blew across Georgia Strait and over Quadra Island. Many trees blew down and the ocean washed over the land.

Materials and techniques include:  silk and procion dyeing, Hand stamped storm at sea block, various wool and cotton fibres, overlaid with polyester sheer fabrics, heavy stitching to create movement and texture, burning to melt sheer fabrics, oil paintsticks.  

This piece will join the 'On the Wind' travelling exhibition with the Fibre Art Network, starting at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta during Quilt Canada on June 4-6, 2015

Size:  18" x 36"
By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC

Completed November, 2014

Here is a close up where you can see the background dyeing, the stamped block, the fibres, and the stitching:

Island Homestead

This piece was done in response to the Exhibition titled 'Edge of the Forest' by the Canadian Surface Design Association. It was submitted on October 01, 2014 and news of its acceptance was received November 18, 2014. It will travel around starting at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts and then across Canada for two years.

The original sketch for this piece was an old cottage in Quathiaski Cove near the ferry terminal. The cottage sits almost at the water's edge with the north facing forested hillside rising darkly, steeply behind it. The cottage beckons invitingly as a last hint of summer colour glows above in the maple leaves.

Materials and Techniques. 100% cotton fabrics, double layer of 100% cotton batting. The wholecloth piece was enriched with fibres of various kinds and hues. Then several colours of polyester sheer fabrics were laid over top and stitching in black threads completed the design. The piece was heat blasted until the highlights of the sheer fabrics melted away.

Size: 16” x 28”

By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC Canada
PO Box 685
Quathiaski Cove, BC V0P 1N0


By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Size: approx 12 ½” x 13 ½”

Here is the 9th teapot in the series, slightly out of order. (I still have 6, 7, and 8 to finish). The theme is 'NINE' and the design is inspired by Japanese laquerware. The original idea was to place nine overlapping flowers on the teapot but I got carried away....and there are a few more than nine, depending on how you count them!

I like the way the green and the grey shimmer together.

Here is a close up:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tallheo Cannery; Bella Coola

Size:  18” W x 27 ¼” H
By Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC

This fall I joined the Fibre Art Network, a group of professional textile artists in Western Canada working to promote textile art.  I am please to announce that this piece was accepted into their Canadiana Exhibit!

For this exhibition artists were asked to explore a sense of place in Canada, “considering its history, environment, the people, culture [including food, outdoor activities, music] and its uniqueness.”  The show opens in January 2015 at the New Zealand Quilt Symposium in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

I love exploring the boundaries of textile art and in this piece I have combined the rich colours of acrylic with the sculptural qualities of a stitched canvas.  In Bella Coola a fishing boat lies forgotten on the shoreline while the Tallheo Cannery finds new life as an Adventure Lodge by the efforts of the next generation of young, energetic Canadians. My niece, co-owner of the Tallheo Cannery, gave me permission to use her photograph for this piece.

The techniques used are wholecloth black cotton stitched in red thread.  Treated with black gesso and painted in acrylics.  Here is a close up:

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Made by Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Size approx 12” W x 13” H

As this series ‘unfolds’, I present to you the 5th teapot. There is nothing so romantic as the unfolding of a rose on a warm summer day. You bring your face closer and the sunwarmed petals release their tea scented fragrance into the soft air. It is no coincidence they are called Tea Roses. Don your long gloves, hat, and fancy dress for a tea party in the summer garden.

I love making quilted roses, and have done many over the years. They’re fun to sculpt with the stitching and now I can add extra dimension using acrylic paints. The leaves and sky weave together to create the background. The lacy tablecloth is created using a common sashiko design. I don’t like the convention which says show objects in odd numbered groups like 3, 5, or 7. Many times I choose groupings of 4, and do it in a way that might be pleasing, in this case 3 + 1. Just stubborn I guess.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Size approx 12” W x 13” H

How much fun it was to put the tugboat captain’s face on a teapot! He sits on a westcoast windowsill looking wistfully out at the passage he once sailed as a tugboat comes into view.
Pure whimsy!

OK Mom, now you have to make the real teapot!

Technique is the same as the rest of the teapots; acrylic on gesso on quilted fabric. Double batted.

Here is a detail:

Monday, 6 October 2014

Crackle Tree Coordinating Fabrics

1 metre feature fabric with 10 fat quarters.

Here is a selection of fabrics that I prepared this week, the idea was to have them coordinate together.

The feature fabric is dyed with wheat paste resist, stamped with various shapes and colours and painted with textile acrylics.  The coordinating fabrics also use a variety of techniques, from deconstructive silkscreening, low water immersion procion dyeing, pole shibori and stamping.  I pulled the extra two from my handmade stash as possible players.


Size approx 12"W x 13" H

Here is my contribution for the theme “Medieval”.

I saw plenty of medieval pottery in Greece, Italy, and Spain this year, but nothing I would describe as a teapot. So I used the internet to search out shapes of teapots made in medieval times. The tall shape with the narrow opening at the top meant that no lid was needed and still the contents stayed warm and wouldn't spill out when pouring. The green glaze was typical of pottery wares coming out of England after 1080, at which time glazes started to appear on pots. Copper filings were added to the lead based glazes to obtain the decorative green colour.

The designs carved onto the pot are my fabrications based on ancient celtic designs from the British Isles. Following the medieval theme, I placed the stone wall, cobbled street, and stone arches in the background. This teapot may also have held a tipple, judging from the grape vines!

Friday, 5 September 2014


Size: Approx 12 ½” W x 13 ½” H

As I sit here enjoying my daily lunchtime cup of tea; …slurp…I present to you the second of the nine teapots, this one for the Rituals theme. Like all the teapots, this one is fanciful with one of my favourite stylized floral motifs. Trying to keep a more or less even texture throughout leads to dense background quilting. Four layers of depth; ( teapot, table, branch, and background) help to add interest, while the steam adds movement.

Shown without binding because I’m hoping to do these a little differently.

And here is the close-up:

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Frida's Teapot

Size: approx 12 ½” W x 13 ½” H

Here is my SPICY teapot, the first completed of nine teapots. I was thinking of Frida Kahlo while I painted this piece; fierce in disposition, weak in body. I tried to use the colours that she might have used in one of her paintings although she would never have painted anything as timid as a teapot!!

I’ve used Mexican designs and colours, as well as chili peppers, hibiscus, and cinnamon in the composition. The cool of the green background contrasts.

Raarrhh, pour yourself a cup of spicy tiger tea.

For a great fictional account of Frida’s life, try reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “The Lacuna” 2009. Although she is not the main character, Kingsolver delves deep into her life and the people she touched.

Here is a flower for her hair:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Homestead Pears

Made by Teresa Carole Phillips
Quadra Island, BC
Size:  Approx 14" x 20"

An old pear tree overhanging the beach at an abandoned homestead on an island north of Quadra. 

 Hand dyed cotton fabric, manipulated and redyed several times creates complex layers. Pears hand painted with pigment pencils and textile medium. Free motion quilted with feathers and pebbles.

Crystal Ball - Salmon Circle

Size: 12” x 12”
Made by Teresa Carole Phillips
Quadra Island, BC

For this journal theme ‘Crystal Ball’ I attempted a serious look at the state of wild salmon on the Canadian coast. Some of the problems I see: the federal government laying off fisheries officers and oceanographers; unmitigated habitat loss, overfishing, sport fishing, ocean pollution, river pollution, atlantic salmon farming practices….

Regretfully,  my ghost of salmon future was born, served on a plate of ‘broken dishes’ quilt block pattern.

I sketched a salmon within a circle; a tribute to the ‘salmon circle’ of life. See the song lyrics at the bottom. This used to be a favourite song of mine back in the 80’s and I found myself humming it while working on this piece.

I stitched through my sketch onto the quilt below to create the ghost image, and then picked out the bits of paper.  Apologies for any lack of anatomical correctness.

Here is a close-up:

Song lyrics by Fraser Lang. Great song if you want to listen to a clip you can find it on the internet.

The salmon circle from the sea to the sea
Up the rivers of life endlessly
And they always return to the place they began
For a million years they swam and swam and swam
They swam and swam and swam

Round the rocks in the pool in the river below
They are turning and turning oh so slow
Salmon been here forever in this sacred dance
Round and round they go, its a water romance

From the long slow rhythm of a four year cycle
to the pounding beat of the oceans that are like
a drum that sounds clear across the globe and
it's calling the children, calling them home

Redbacks swimming in the stream
Humpbacks dancing in a dream
Nose to tail they circle round and round
Go back to the spawning grounds

By the taste of the waters they return to the source
Lay down their eggs and feel the life force
Resting safe in the gravel, pass the winter thru
The big fish are dying, but in the spring life renews

Friday, 4 July 2014

Housewarming Bouquet

Size:  24 ½” x 24 ½”

To warm the walls with ever fresh flowers!

This is an original design.  Fused raw edge applique with free motion machine embroidery using Hemmingworth polyester embroidery threads throughout.  Double batting; bottom layer cotton/polyester; top layer Hobbs polyester.  Free motion feather designs with motifs in the background.  Motifs were inspired by wrought iron fence designs.

Here are some close-ups of the background quilting and the embroidery.

Friday, 27 June 2014


Size: Approx 12” x 12 ¾”

This piece has sold.

Materials: Hand dyed cottons, upholstery fabrics for tree trunk, 2 layers cotton batting, cotton threads, polyester embroidery threads for branches. Cheesecloth and fabric trimmings for lichens.

All the fabrics were hand dyed. Very soon after I spent time in Whistler and did the zipline tour between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. It was called the Bear Tour and made up 4 separate ziplines back and forth across the creek that runs between the two mountains. I did the trip with my highschool girlfriends and we had a blast, especially since this was a spur of the moment activity. Some of us needed a lot of encouragement! Part of the tour was a walk through the canopy among the old growth trees. The view and the feeling was incredible. It was a long way down, and yet you could reach out and touch the bark of these 700 year old trees. I was trying to capture the ruggedness, the closeness, and the airiness of the place.

And then, looking out over open space, you had to JUMP! That’s where the whirlwind comes in.

You would whoosh through the air, shouting, whirling, kicking your legs, until finally you came to other side and were saved and congratulated by everyone.

This little piece is about 5” x 9” and I made it to commemorate the occasion for one of the friends who overcame absolute terror to achieve this. The little woman dangles from a waxed black cord and can zip back and forth on her jewelry clasp. She is grasping a piece of twisted embroidery floss.

It was an exhilarating and emotional experience – a Whirlwind.


Size: 14 ½” x 23 ½”

This piece has sold.

This piece fits in my 2013 series of forest scenes. I like the way the light in a forest at twilight is subdued, reflecting the colours of the mosses and canopy, until the air is saturated with browns and greens. The trunks become the dark contrast. I worked from photos taken at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.

Materials and techniques: cotton fabric: dyed, silkscreen printed, and string bleached. Thread sketched in black cotton. Hand painted with fabric inks, oils and foil. Cotton batting. Quilted with invisible thread. Commercial batik binding.

Tuscany Turquoise

Approx size:  24" x 36"

Hand dyed, hand painted fabrics throughout. A wheat paste resist was etched, dried, crumpled, then painted to achieve the effects on the main panel. Free motion thread embroidery is used on the leaves of the tree.

Dragonfly's Monet

Size:  approx 12” x 18”

This piece has sold.

 Wool roving, bits of thread and yarn, fabric scraps, and cheesecloth are encrusted together building up an image that resembles Monet's waterlilies.  The Dragonfly's Domain.

Here is a close up:

Carrot Garden

Size:  approx 8" x 9"

This little whimsey uses encrusted fabric for the dirt.  The carrots and tops are fused with extra thread work for details.  I love my swirly skies!

Here is a close up of the encrusted soil.  You can see all the threads, yarns, and ribbons used to build the texture.

My Favourite Things. aka Flower Power

Size 12” x 12”

Materials: Hand dyed and commercial cottons, polyester embroidery threads, DMC cotton embroidery threads, cotton batting, polyester batting, cording.

Techniques: I retrieved a practice piece which had the central daisy appliqued onto a crazy block. I had been practicing cording by machine. I cut this block into a vase shape and machine appliqued it onto the green hand dyed. I then free-cut out flower petals and various shapes from my baggy full of “Scraps with Fusible”. I used only what was in the baggy. I then fused the bunch down and did some free motion machine embroidery on top using coloured threads. Then I did some cotton hand embroidery with DMC. Before quilting I machine basted around the edges, because it was so thick, and finally quilted the top using the double batting (cotton on bottom, poly on top).

This was a fun way to begin a project – with something already on hand! The subject was easy, because flowers are one of my favourite things, and because flowers are so forgiving when represented this way. Overall I’m pleased with the effect. The crazy block hides in the background giving some depth that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll try this again…

Thin Green Line

Size: 12” x 12”

Materials: Commercial and hand-dyed cottons, cotton batting, polyester embroidery threads, glass beads, hand-made cording for binding.

Techniques: fused applique, free-motion machine embroidery and quilting. Hand sewn beads.

I really liked this theme, and had an idea for it early on. To me the thin green line is all that stands between this living earth and the vacuum of space. I chose to represent it as trees giving off life sustaining oxygen. So here you have my very weird earth hurtling through space, clinging to its ‘thin green line’.


Size: about 8.5 x 11”

This piece started with a piece of encrusted fabric that I cut into the shape of a butterfly. The edge is trimmed with handmade cording and the beading is added last.   It shimmers because of the angelina fibres and the quilting adds some dimension.

This is a usable piece to which a stick can be added, or a cord to wear it around my head for the next ball. Ahem. 

 It really looks scary on, because the eyes really stand out. 


 Maybe it would look cuter on my niece.

Self portrait

Size; 12" x 12"

I admire Greek and Roman mosaics and was wowed the first time I saw one interpreted in fabric. This was my first attempt to try mosaic work using fabric. I started by backing a selection of fabrics with fusible. I printed out an enlarged B/W photo and traced over the main features with a black felt pen. Using a window I traced the main lines of my image onto the background fabric. (I didn’t bother reversing the image, so my nose is bent to the right, instead of to the actual LEFT.) I started with the hair and worked downwards. I focused on paying the most attention to dark/light values of the fabric rather than the actual colour. So if you look closely, my eyebrows are different colours, but you don’t see that at first glance!

It was way more work than I thought it would be – now I have a great respect for those whose main craft is mosaic. The pieces were small and I had to use a needle and tweezers to shift each piece into position. I placed about 6 pieces at a time and then fused. Planning how the pieces would fit the contours was fun. I think I might like to try this again, but with a different subject and larger ‘tiles’. I hope the tiles stick in the long term because there was no way I was going to sew each one down.

Quilting is simple outline quilting, with a few swirls in the background.

This was my first attempt at a self portrait in any medium, and I’m glad I did the exercise. Thanks to whoever made this theme!

Here is a close up:

Seaweed Mandala

Size 12” x 12”

Materials: Batik cotton, cotton batting, polyester embroidery threads in black, cream and blue, Tsukineko ink pens in turquoise.

Techniques: Free motion embroidery, free motion quilting, hand colouring.

A doodle similar to this is in my sketchbook. I was thinking about seaweed mandalas at the the time, and some turquoise and black pottery of my Mom’s. I spent HOURS on this piece. First, doodling with the sewing machine, then picking out bits of stabilizer from the back. At that time I was pretty happy with the piece and decided to give it a press with the iron. What a ~~~~~MISTAKE~~~~.

Perhaps the iron was too hot, because the polyester embroidery thread SHRUNK! The piece lost an inch all around and puckered terribly. I couldn’t do anything about it. Wetting didn’t help. Thank goodness I had cut a generous starting square, and thank goodness the design is more or less symmetrical and the puckers were even all over.

I didn’t lose any sleep over it and quilted it up in fairly simple outline quilting.  I am pleased with the results and love the texture. 

Here’s a close-up picture of the embroidery design.

Inner Animal

Size:  approx 12" x 12"

The theme for this art quilt was "Inner Animal".

When I started thinking about my inner animal I thought of a timid mouse. My husband, however, cheered me up and said it wasn’t true. I used to be a synchronized swimmer (right through university) and I still have swimming dreams. They’re like flying dreams because I can breath under water.

So the dolphin idea was born. It started out as a boring purple dolphin on this piece of hand-dyed fabric that I was saving. It sat like that. Boring, boring, boring; not a very happy dolphin!

After a while I decided it was time to play. The swirls were born out of a variegated pink and blue rayon thread. Still boring. I opened up the latest issue of Quilters Newlsetter and there in the back “photo finish” was the most beautiful quilt with paisley appliques on it called “Open up Your Dream Flower”. So I filled in the spaces with paisley designs in lots of colours. I doodled with my Tsukineko ink pens as I went. More detail, and more colour.

Suddenly my dolphin was having fun again!