Monday, January 30, 2012

Back to Purple

I had a busy week dealing with deadlines and such for the France show. There is still lots to do for the exhibit but I needed to do some sewing to clear my head!

I knew I wanted to stitch this piece heavily. It took a while to decide how to proceed.

I use newspaper as a template instead of marking my fabric with a pencil.

That is why I work on several pieces at the same time. Some need to stay on the design wall and "simmer" until they are ready.

The back fabric was bought in South Africa
but doesn't necessarily mean it is  from there.  I just know it is African.
 -hand dyed and batik designs.

A study done in the 80's by Dr. R. Reiner, of the New York University Medical Center, studied women while playing cards, watching video games, reading the newspaper, painting at an easel and sewing simple projects. He found that heart rates decreased by 7 to 11 beats per minute when women were sewing but increased by 4 to 8 beats during the other activities.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hard Twist 6- Obsession

The textile-based exhibit at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto ends this weekend (January 29).

Kate Busby will have her red piece going to France for the Canadian exhibit I am curating.

3,600 (BEATS) by Kate Busby
There is a french knot in the center of every square.

Amanda McCavour's work is still hanging at the hotel.

my picture of Amanda's work isn't very good.
Go see it LIVE! It's beautiful.

One of the jurors, Judith Tinkl, is an artist who is also participating in the France show, Tradition in Transition. She has made a new piece using her grandfather's silk ties, her grandmother's fabric and  japanese obi she had collected.

I loved these two spinning lamps! (yes, they do twirl gently.) They are so FUN! (they are not part of the france show)

SWAG, by Barbara Sutherland, which hangs on the 4th floor of the hotel,
is made with strips of fabric.

The Gladstone, as we locals call it, has a geometric design painted on the outside of its building. Quilt like?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Canadian Landscape

What makes our textile work as Canadians different from the quilting and textile art of Europe?

I believe it is the landscape and how it influences our work, consciously or subconsciously.

"Textile art in Canada is not only inspired by the environment, it
often incorporates that very thing.

Quilts are made of fabric hand-dyed with collected berries or bark;

in the city fabric is dyed with rusted metal.

The forms reflect the symmetry of the skyscrapers

or the raw shapes of the outdoors.

The materials used are themselves important and are often sentimental conversations with the past in the re-use of fabrics.

Although we come from different backgrounds and cultural influences, it is the Canadian landscape that brings us together and inspires our art."

Excerpt from my curator's statement for the 18th Carrefour EuropeƩn du Patchwork.
Canadian photographs by me and my daughter, Isabelle. (photos from provinces of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Studio Visit

Today I taught a different kind of class in my home studio. It was more of a demo style class. We talked about setting up a studio/sewing space. We had tea. I made triangles.

I personally learn so much from watching other experienced quilters/artists work. Not only from their comments as they think aloud but from their way of actually stitching and holding their fabric as they work.

I hope the students enjoyed themselves! As usual, I was busy enjoying myself and forgot to take pictures of the "event".

There are still a few spaces left for my quilt-as-you-go class and the free motion technique class both in the Bloor/Lansdowne area of Toronto. See teaching schedule for times and location.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Show in France

The last two days were crazy days! The phone rang constantly and the emails kept coming in! I did not sew for even 5 minutes!

I was addressing a deadline for the show I am curating for the 18th Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork in the Alsace area of France.

The organizers have given the guest country, Canada, a large church as an exhibition space. The pictures  I am posting are from the Val D'Argent area when I was there in September 2008 for the 14th edition of the carrefour.

I have had great responses from Canadian makers. There are some big names and some local quilters from different communities around the country that are participating.

I have representation from most of the provinces and territories. I want to get some applique works from the Inuit community but I keep hitting snags with that.

The title I chose is 'Tradition in Transition'. I am showing traditional scrap quilts to bed quilts of a contemporary design, going into textile art and ending with three works that are super contemporary, which stem from stitching but are not done in layers or quilted per se.

You can see the piece Judith Martin is presenting on her blog.

If any Europeans reading this will be at the event I would love to meet you! I will be with the show for the 4 days at Eglise de la Madeleine in Ste-Marie-aux-Mines.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It Finally Snowed!

This piece (a very early work), Spring Thaw, was exhibited in several galleries and shows in Toronto and in Europe.

Spring Thaw, made in 2006, 73 cm x 77.5 cm
commercial fabric, organza, crinoline, gesso,
hand and machine stitched
(the cut out parts look pink here but are actually see-through)

It is a piece I originally did not like. It just didn't SAY anything. I had it sitting there for about 3 years and finally decided to play with it.

I quilted it heavily. Still not great.

I painted it with gesso. Getting better.

I cut it up randomly (that took courage!) and sewed it back together in a different way.

Now, I love it!

Spring Thaw, detail
Toronto is finally white with snow. I guess we ARE going to have a spring thaw.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Challenge Results

Our guild hosted a DIVA evening along with the Paint Chip Challenge works.

So many ladies wore costumes! I resurrected my blonde wig and a sparkly top from the kids' dress-up box.

one of the DIVAS

Members voted for their three favorite pieces from the Paint Chip Challenge. The three with the most votes (shown below) were awarded prizes.

This was one of my votes.
It was visually appealing and
very well done technically.

"Grey Morning" by our president
 in her DIVA dress!

Two artists that were in attendance that evening were Maggie Vanderweit and Clare Kirby.

Clare holding up her work,
"Belisarius and the Cosmic Astral Tyger"
hand dyed silks, hand quilted

"Cat Killed the Cardinal", by Clare Kirby
hand dyed silks, fused silk, feathers, beads, hand quilted

The executive from the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre has asked me to contribute an art piece for their fundraising event in May and I have decided to donate my Paint Chip Challenge piece, Jungle Green. (to see the work click here)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Paint Chip Challenge

Our guild decided to put out a challenge to all its members.

We picked a paint chip out of a hat. The main colour of your piece had to be the paint chip colour and the title had to be the name of your paint chip. Mine was Jungle Green.

At first I thought it was green but realized there was quite a bit of blue
 in the colour.
I mixed up some paint and silk screened some leaf shapes onto
painted fabric.
Whenever I hear the word 'jungle' I immediately add the word 'book' after it. So I definitely wanted to have some text in my piece.

I also wanted a hint of orange to remind me of our walk in the rain forest of Borneo. We thought we were alone but as soon as the rain came there were flashes of orange high above our heads- the orangutans scrambling for shelter.

I used some painted lutradur for texture.

I did some photo transfers.

There was too harsh a line between the writing and the blue/green piece of fabric. To soften it, I added lutradur.

Work pinned in place on a vertical design wall. Need to soften the line
between the text fabric and the blue/green one above it.

I added some free motion stitching and there you go!

The back view. Even though zebras live in the savannas
and not in the jungle I found the black and white design 'refreshing'
so I included it.
Final work-

The colours are so much better 'live' plus you can see the stitches better.
Can you make out the bug on the right side? I also added some text
on the lutradur to the left of the bug's wing.
20" x 20"

Looks nothing like my first sketches!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Purple Painting

Wednesday is my painting day. I paint and prepare fabric for future use. This panel is to add to the piece I am working on right now. (click here to view it)

more purple painting
 I make up a small pot of paint every time and only make enough
 to cover the piece of cotton I have in front of me.
It speaks to my concern to over consume.
The purple colour I mix up is always slightly different

My friend dropped by and life stopped for half an hour. We sat and had tea and made a fire.

Sometimes that is bliss!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I spend about half my day in the kitchen (more when the four children lived at home). I love cooking and baking.

The background looks like an encaustic painting.
Did you notice the thin blue line on the bottom left?

There are so many beautiful colours and textures I notice.

This could be interesting as free motion thread work

The compositions are also interesting...achieved without any thought at all.

Nice composition, a circle that goes off the "page",
nice black "french knots" and
 a clever white strip up in the right hand corner.

Food can be a great inspiration for textile work.

Market fair