Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour

Toronto residents are (hopefully) participating in Earth Hour tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 pm

Everyone should be turning off their lights for one hour.

To think women use to hand sew by candle light! Should I try?

hand sewing my travel blanket for my on-line course
Maybe I will make a fire and share some wine and a cheese platter with my husband instead. Not a bad way to spend an hour.

leave less of a foot print

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Being Inspired

Today, I was at Branksome Hall again talking about my career and showing the girls from grade 10 my work.

Some older art students poked their heads in to see my textile work hanging in the class.

The grade 12 students are preparing their own show and I saw many of their pieces being photographed for documentation. I was inspired by their work!

"The Keys of Truth" by a grade 12 IB art student.
"This piece sets out to demonstrate how our generation
does not spend time informing ourselves on world issues
but instead focus on gossip in magazines or on line articles."
burnt newspaper, plastic computer keys, wire

work in progress by a grade 12 IB art student.
 embroidery on paper
I spoke of textile artists that inspire me and the teacher wrote their names on the board for the students to research.

The two art teachers thanked me for inspiring their students. Many have already started to think about their next project and have decided to use some of the techniques we talked about and practiced together.

Working with textile is something that brings me such joy and I was glad to share that passion with the students and spark something in them!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grade 10 Art Students

The art department at the prestigious, private, girls school, Branksome Hall, in Toronto recently bought some sewing machines. I was invited to teach the grade 10 art students the versatile free-motion technique.

Branksome Hall in Toronto, BE REMARKABLE!

What a joy! The students were so interested and engaged and had a blast trying this new way of sewing! It looks easy but takes lots of control.

me in the art room

I am returning to show and speak about my textile art, do a few demos and help them with their textile art project.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I saw some wonderful textiles from Diane Shink's collection. I was at her home in Montreal last month and we spent about 3 hours just looking through her stuff. Honestly, I could have stayed longer.

She had boxes of pin cushions and tins of buttons.

She had antique quilt blocks everywhere.

A star in a circle is something you don't find often.

Lovely Art Deco fabric.

Victorian morning fabric (grey ones) and blue-striped denim in the centre.

More Art Deco fabric
She had a cedar box full of wool quilts. (The bar quilt came from there)

She has a collection of almost 900 aprons! Plus a book about them.

This apron came from Germany.
 I particularly loved the mending on this one.

Everything in her collection had a story. I learned so much from her! A la prochaine, Diane.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Worth Repairing?

This is an antique piece that my friend, Diane, is debating to repair. As she considers it, it hangs in her studio.

I love the splashes of yellow
The Toronto Public Library, Spadina branch (Spadina/Bloor) program continues to meet on Thursday evenings at 6:30 to 8pm. We are working on a log cabin quilt. Everyone is welcome no matter what their skill level. The finished quilt will be used by the library for one of the children's programs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Travel Blanket

My on-line course continues.

The first step was dying some fabric.

Three dyed fabrics to consider. I wanted to use the middle one
but the one on the left turned out to be better.
Sometimes you have to listen to what your fabric is telling you!
The next step was looking for fabric that would help me tell the story of my travels.

I am ready to layer the back, the flannel and the top together and baste it using the tailor's basting stitch.

Then comes the stitching. I am looking forward to that part. I bought some nice threads.

4 small hand-dyed silk spools, made in Romania (Valdani)
 and a gift from my friend Gabriella
of hand-dyed silk thread from Umbria

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Couldn't Resist

This is the third (and last!) antique quilt I bought while in Montreal a few weeks ago. It is another from appraiser Diane Shink's collection.

It is a bar quilt and has the proper uneven number of stripes, or bars, not counting the background stripes.

The front is made of red wools and black cotton sateen and there is a twill weave on the back.

It is hand quilted using the traditional baptist fan pattern.

From looking at the binding as one of the clues, Diane is confident saying it was made in Canada, circa first quarter of twentieth century.

It has a good example of twill weave on the back.

The red stripes go right from the top of the quilt to the bottom edge. The Mennonites have their bar quilts set with a frame or border all around the quilt.

It is in pretty good shape.

I could not resist! Could you for twenty dollars?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Laurentian Hills

Meredith Filshie, artist and business woman, dropped by on her way back home to Ottawa with the work, Laurentian Hills.

Laurentian Hills, detail,
upper panel by Meredith Filshie
bottom panel by Robin Field

It is a piece that I am including in the France show, Tradition in Transition.

What I liked about it was the fact that 20 women worked on it together. Each created a quadrant in textile of the painting entitled Saint Sauveur by Anne Savage, a contemporary of the Group of Seven.

Laurentian Hills, detail,
panel by Deborah Bates
It is all stitched!
-something I missed when I saw the photograph

Having the piece there in front of me was so much better than seeing the picture! There is such detail in every panel.

Cynthia McNair's 12 inch square panel

Bethany Garner's 12 inch square panel

Mary Cope's 12 inch square panel

All twenty panels fit together harmoniously yet each is an individual work of art and reflects the artist's style.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Art and Money

Is ART a material that is put up for sale?

Given the economic state of this time, are artists going back to poverty and unemployment?

Will artists start changing what they are creating in order to sell their work?

The Black Vase, detail

I haven't sold anything of mine in the last 3 years. I have had interest at many exhibits but no sales. I have looked at textile art that has sold. Many of those pieces are 'pretty'. I don't want to make pretty things. I want to make what I want to make.

This is as pretty as I get!

The Black Vase is for a show in Viterbo, Italy.
The theme of the event is ROSES.
I used H. Matisse' work as inspiration

British artist Damien Hirst's (Spot Art) business manager told him, "Be careful not to chase the money with the art but to chase the art with the money."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Teaching in Italy

I am proud to say my proposal to the Abruzzo School of Creative Arts has been selected and I will be teaching in Sulmona, July 23 to 30, 2013.

flickr image by Greenery

All are welcome. The course will be given in english but I also speak fluent french and italian and my german is a little rusty! What an experience it will be for me and the students!

Flickr image by padesig

Here is an excerpt of my course outline:

She will lead a group through the process of educated observation. Students will generate a record, in journal form, of their awakening to this emotional response to both the natural and the man-made world of Sulmona, Italy.

During morning walks, participants will record patterns, shapes and colours so that they may “capture the moment”, later taking these memories home to their studios where they can create at leisure when making larger works. Sandra works with the philosophy of using what is on hand to create with and be inspired by, so the focus of the daily walks will be tied to that way of working.

To learn more about the course click here.

 Flickr image by Greenery

Start saving up! If those dates don't work for you, check out my other two textile trips to Italy that are coming up.

Flickr image by Franciov

Che bello!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More pictures from the ETQG

A member sent me a few pictures from the talk I gave at the East Toronto Quilter's Guild.

The topic was Beyond the Hobby Quilter and focused on marketing your work.

I showed some quilts related to the points I was making.

Scrap quilt-the only kind I ever make.
These kinds of bar quilts traditionally have an odd number of bars
 (not counting the background bars)
but this one has an even number.
I talked about the way I work. I don't sketch. I make postcards.
Member, Del, liked these cards.
People were interested in my contemporary work.
I showed a piece that is in progress.
It is hand dyed with natural dyes
(pomegranate and turmeric)
and stamped (paint). It will be part
of my "map" series.

And here is Bill holding up a piece I made at the Toronto School of Art.

What is with that piece?? It always gets photographed wrong! LOL
Here we see it upside down.
Click here to see it sideways!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Speaking in East Toronto

I was invited by the East Toronto Quilter's Guild to speak at their monthly meeting. My topic was "Beyond the Hobby Quilter".

I brought 18 pieces related to my topic to show the members.

Blue Depression is one of the pieces I brought. It is still one of my favorites.

Blue Depression, detail
photo by Carolina Dal Dossi

I made it in 2006 for a contest in Italy but it missed the show, BLUE, because it was held at Italian customs for a week.

I ended up submitting it the following year in Trame D'Arte in Verona, Italy, and it was awarded 3rd prize in the contemporary category. I received $800 worth of fabric, which I left in Italy and use when I'm there. I can now say I am an international, award-winning textile artist!

It's got paper and actual (altered) photographs in it and since it has been handled while traveling it's a little tattered in spots.

Blue Depression, 40" x 38.5", 120 cm x 98 cm
photo by Carolina Dal Dossi

Later, it was photographed for an Italian calendar (2008) and was selected for the poster for Festival Internacional de Patchwork and was part of the Italian exhibit at the same event in Sitges, Spain, 2009

I am giving the same talk in November at the Mississauga guild. (see speaking engagements)

Everyone is welcome.

Friday, March 2, 2012

More Dying

I dyed another piece of thin, open weave, white muslin.

I used different sizes of elastics to tie the fabric before I submerged it in the dye bath, something that I have experimented with before.

That gave me the shapes.

I did fill some of the shapes with seeds. Last time I did that I got some interesting designs but not so much this time.

I may use it for my on-line class.