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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Starting a Commissioned Art Quilt

I have finally finished my other large projects and now have begun work on a commissioned art quilt. I sent my clients some photos of landscapes I had taken over the years in order to choose a scene they'd like me to make out of fabric.  They have seen some of my other work and have an idea of what it will look like when it's done.

This is the photo that was chosen.

 My process is to do a watercolour painting of the photo in which I try to highlight a focal point and bring out some of the colours I see. In this photo the line where the water meets the far shore is crooked (because of the angle of the camera) so the first adjustment would be to straighten that. The rocks do not have sun shining on them but I might try to give them more light and vary the colours in them for more interest.

These are the first washes of colour.

I have just positioned the trees, shrubs, rock and grasses. I've put a little yellow into the sky and also some pinks. The rocks have a light pink/peach colour on them. I don't like to paint my rocks grey. When I study them, I see pinks, purples, greens and blues in them and that is much more interesting than grey.

Here the colours are "punched" up a bit.

Today I worked on darkening the colours as I continue to look for the focal point I want to stress. I've made the far shore a little bluer which pushes it into the distance. You can see that this version is already more interesting than the photo. I will continue to work on the colours and create some nice contrasts in the sky as well.

Once the painting is done, I'll make a tracing of it and take it to Staples to enlarge to the size I want it. From the enlargement, I will plot out my sewing plan marking my colour scheme and fabric choices. That is the most time consuming part of the whole process but the most important.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Work Begun on Fabric Cards Quilt

For years, I have been making fabric greeting cards, they're actually more like postcards. At one point I let everyone know that if they did not want to keep them, instead of throwing them out, they could send them back to me and I would put them together, making an art quilt out of them. I have received many of them back and have pinned them to my design board to see how I could put them together.

Here I grouped the cards by colour with the
orientation both landscape and portrait (sideways
and up and down)

Here, I lined them up in colour rows
with all the landscape oriented ones

The final art quilt will be in the format above. I've taken the portrait oriented cards out and will make another quilt from them when I have enough. I decided that I would attach the cards in rows of six.

This is the top row all put together

I pondered long on how to put them together as I wanted to have all the edges showing as opposed to sewing them together and having the edges in the seams. I got around that problem by using pop can tabs on the backs of the cards.

You can see how the tabs were sewn onto the backs of the cards
to keep them together. I also added the names of the recipients,
the occasion it was made for and the Month and year it was given.

I was able to get two rows put together and then I ran out of pop can tabs. I don't drink pop, but if some of my local followers do, could you save them for me?  Each card will have four tabs, two to attach the cards in a row and two to attach each row together. It is pretty time consuming as they are sewn on by hand. It's a job I do while I watch TV.

I love how they all look together. Each one is unique but assembling them by colour gives them something in common and from a distance the colour changes in the quilt really look nice.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Month of Love and the Spotlight Auction Entrance

Wow, it's February already! This is the Month of Love and I just realized that the piece I'm making for the Spotlight Auction in Nebraska has a love theme. I've finally finished my piece which I titled, "Spread LOVE Around". We, in the Americas, think that we are very tolerant of others and their differences. But what we hear on the news these days tells a different story. We hear of terrorism, mass shootings, bullying, and travel bans. When I was planning this auction piece I wanted to give a positive message. We just need more love for others in this world. When we show love to someone, it can set off a chain of loving action. We should infuse love into everything we do.

In my piece, "Spread LOVE Around" I placed a heart in the upper left corner and spreading from it are many "fingers" as if they are throwing love into the air, hoping it is contagious and people will "catch" it and "come down" with a serious case of LOVE. If only it worked that way. Nevertheless, I really believe that when we show love to another the relationship we have with each other changes for the better.

This was my starting plan. I developed it in a
very intuitive way instead of having a plan
in the beginning that I would follow.

I embellished it with beads to depict little
bits flying through the air, destined
to hit someone and "infect" them with love.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Inspired by Being a Grandmother

When I became a grandmother almost 6 years ago, I decided to make little journals for each of my grandchildren. It seemed like an easy task. The journals would commemorate special days and events in the lives of each grandchild. When there were only a few, it was fairly doable to keep up to date. There are now 7 grandchildren and I'm finding it difficult to record everything that is happening in their lives. Every once in a while I have to catch them up. I usually write a list of the events I want to place in their journals so I don't forget them and when I feel like I'm getting too far behind I drop everything else and get working on the journals.

For the last several weeks I have been trying to catch up the year 2016. Below are a few pages out of those journals.

Each child has a family tree in the beginning of their journal.

Each birthday is also celebrated.

Religious events are very special.

Trips and large moves are also remembered. 

Holiday trips with Opa and Oma are included.

First baby teeth and first adult teeth are also celebrated.

I also make the journal interesting by including fold out pages, pockets. windows and I have a plan to try some pop-up pages. If you have another cool idea that you've seen, let me know what it is. I love trying new things. I want my grandchildren to love looking through their special book and treasure it knowing their Oma really, really loved them.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Inspired by Another Call for Entry

The Studio Art Quilt Associates, of which I am a member, issues many Calls for Entry each year. Some are specifically for certain areas of the world and only those artists that are members in those locations can enter. Others are open to members anywhere in the world to enter. I don't often enter for several reasons. Perhaps the deadline date is too close and I don't think I can complete a quilt in that time or the theme of the show or competition is not something that fits with the subject or genre that I work in. I am also a bit afraid of losing a quilt if I have to mail it to a location outside of Canada.

I recently came across a Call for Entry for a Spotlight Auction. It is called the Creation to Curation Spotlight Auction which is an opportunity for all SAQA members to have their work showcased at the 2017 SAQA Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The quilts are to be small; only 6" X 8" and they will be displayed in mats. The pieces will be sold through a Silent Auction at the Conference Banquet with the proceeds going towards SAQA's exhibition programs. The deadline for entering is February 24/17 and the entries have to be received by March 10/17.

I feel like this is a Call for Entry I can handle and it will not take as long to complete as one of my larger quilts.

I like that the proceeds are going to SAQA which does a lot of planning for it's exhibitions. Most exhibitions travel from place to place and that is expensive. One of my quilts is being exhibited in its second venue. It was first in Stratford, Ontario and is now in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

I took my plan from a small quilt I did a few years ago. It won't be exactly the same but similar. It will be mostly thread painted. Instead of batting, I will use a thick felt as the middle layer and the front and back will be muslin.

In the photo above my hand is resting on the thick felt. The fine layer that is laying over my hand is an adhesive that I buy in sheets. I cut it to the size of the felt and place it on top of the felt then using a silicone sheet on top of the adhesive I iron it to the felt on both sides. Then I cut the muslin to size and iron the muslin on top of the adhesive. That way the layers will not come apart and makes it easier to quilt.

I've decided to use different shades of red. Above is my plan for the 6 X 8 inch quilt.

I fused the heart to the muslin and then used the different colours of thread to start my design. Hopefully it will develop fast and I can post the finished quilt here next week. I also plan to embellish this one with beads.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Creativity in Unexpected Places

Have you noticed them? Keep your eyes open when you are out walking or driving on city streets. On many street corners stand utility boxes. I'm not sure what's in them but I assume they have something to do with wiring for electricity or telephones or something like that. You may have driven past these boxes without even noticing them because they were painted grey and kind of blended in with the surroundings.

Well, someone decided that they would be great canvases and here and there I have been noticing some that are brightly painted with various designs on them. I've tried to photograph them when I see them. Usually I only have my I-phone with me so the images aren't great but you can see the designs.

This one is downtown somewhere and is covered with
Queen Anne's Lace flowers. This one looks like a photo
that was printed on decal paper and then wrapped around
the box.

This one looks like it was hand painted and it looks like
various stones on a beach-like background. It is on Islington Ave
between Finch and Steeles.

This one is on the Southwest corner of Finch and
Islington. It has been hand painted with a tree
with exposed roots.

This one was hand painted by members of the Franklin Carmichael
Art Group as a copy of a Franklin Carmichael painting. Franklin was
a member of the Group of Seven. It is located on the corner of Albion
and Thistledown Blvd near the Shoppers Drug Mart. It is beautiful.

If you happen to see any others in your city travels, why not take a photo and send it to my email address. I'll try to post them in a future blog.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Some Results of my Batik Class

In the Fall I had enrolled in a Batik class that the Toronto District School Board offered. It was being held at the Central Technical School on Bathurst Street.

I missed the first class because I was out of town but attended the next few. I was really enjoying them in the beginning and I did learn how the waxing of fabric is done, however, there wasn't very much in-class instruction so I was quite confused as to how many times to dye the work and didn't know exactly how to get the wax out of the fabric.

When the Christmas season came around I decided not to finish the course. I wasn't enjoying it anymore and it was a long drive to get to Central Tech.

I still had some unfinished fabric that I wanted to do something with. Some of it was dyed and waxed several times so I decided to try to get the wax out and see what I ended up with. I googled how to get wax out of batik fabric and it told me I could iron it out with newsprint between my iron and the fabric. I tried that and my fabric looked like it had an oily residue on it and I wasn't able to get that out.

So then I tried to boil it out. That worked better but it took three attempts at boiling before most of the wax was out. It still was the better method.

Below are some samples of my fabric.  I am pleased with them but I may experiment with other resists that are easier to get out.

This was only dyed once therefore it is very pale. Where the wax
was remains the original colour of the fabric.

This was dyed twice with the same colour. You can see some areas
are a darker shade and the wax left the original colour of the

This one turned out better and was dyed with yellow first and
then blue.

This was dyed yellow before the wax was placed on it, then dyed blue
and then rose.

This one turned out the best with yellow first, then wax then red
and then spots of green.

I love the colour of this one but I should have used more wax.