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Friday, 27 February 2015

Progress on the Leaf Art Quilt

Wow, it was Christmas when I last posted about this project. I have been continually working on it when I could and now I have finished the main design of the leaves on the quilt top. I've put the quilt batting behind it and added a backing fabric and quilted around the leaves and added the veins to them. Now I'm ready to quilt the background. I had to distance myself from it for a few days while I mulled over what design I would quilt into the background.

As I looked at the fabric, I found the background to be too light and plain so I knew I needed to liven it up a bit but not make it too overpowering. I still want the leaves to "jump off the page" so to speak.
As I was investigating different patterns for free-motion quilting, I came across the patterns I used to make the fabric cards with leaves on them. Good thing I didn't throw those away. I decided that they would make a wonderful quilted background that would tie the whole piece together.

I decided to use the three colours of thread I used on the leaves themselves, a burgundy, ochre and brown.

I didn't want to start right out on my finished piece in case it looked horrible so I found a piece of fabric that resembled the background fabric and did a test drive on it.

I thought it looked pretty good. Not too overpowering and still interesting. Ok, time to start on the actual quilt. I photocopied my pattern pieces on sheets of photocopy paper which was used on once side. (That way, I didn't feel like I was wasting paper).  I then pinned the pattern to my quilt where I wanted to stitch the design.

Using this pattern I free-motion stitched right through the paper, changing the thread colour three times for interest. Once the whole pattern was stitched, I tore the paper free leaving just the stitching.

You can't really tell that the pattern is leaves but you get the feeling that it's leaves. I am in the process of filling the whole background with this stitching. It's quite time-consuming but I'm liking how it's turning out.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Inspired by Road Trash

We've all heard people say that artists are different. I never thought that of myself; I feel like I'm pretty normal and people who don't know me would never be able to tell I was an artist. I don't have purple or green hair. My clothes are not bizarre looking. I'm not spaced out or have my head somewhere else.
Yesterday I had to do some errands, and because it had warmed up outside from -25C, I walked to do them. I have told you before that my eyes are scouring the ground when I walk on my own. On the road just up from my driveway, I saw a piece of something that excited me. I didn't pick it up because by the time my brain had registered what it was, I was already a few paces past it.
You're going to laugh. I got so excited when I finally realized what it was, that the whole time I was doing my errands, I couldn't stop thinking about it and what I could do with it! I started to worry that I would lose my opportunity and someone else would pick it up! So I started to move a little faster. On my way home I took a different route and acknowledged that if I didn't go home the same way I left, I would not walk past where I saw this item laying on the road so I corrected my route and tried to remember where I saw it.
I was almost home and I started thinking,"Oh no, I don't see it! Did I pass it already?! Did someone actually pick it up?!" To my relief, there it was, just ahead of me, still lying where I had seen it earlier. Phew!

Well, I have to tell you, I came to the realization that I'm a little weird too. Who gets excited about a piece of trash on the road?  And who worries that a normal person would pick up what they thought was trash anyway? And who would even think it was worthy to include in an art piece? I guess only an artist................

So, I guess you are wondering what this fantastic piece of trash is? Have a look and see if you get as excited as me. Then let me know if you did or didn't. I want to know if I'm truly eccentric!..........

This is how I saw it when I found it. Doesn't look like
much, does it? Yet I got excited!

When I got  it in the house I washed it off and it looked even better!

Look at all the colours and interesting things on it.
This is the front.

This is the back. It is also really interesting.

Now I had to decide which side I wanted to use. Not easy, I love both sides!

This is what I did with it.

These things are called circuit boards and I'm pretty sure they are in a lot of things we use: computers, cell phones, TV's, radios. So if you ever come across one, you know you can always unload it on this crazy artist!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Inspired by a Charitable Cause

The Canadian Chapter of Studio Art Quilts Association (SAQA) that I am a member of posted a request in January on Facebook for fibre artists to create part of a quilt that will be travelling across Canada in the Relay for Hope Run raising money for HIV/Aids. The idea was to make a panel for each Province and Territory and put them all together into one quilt. We could choose which Province or Territory we wanted to create and since Ontario was already taken I chose the Yukon Territory. The next day I received an email to let me know that they had looked at my work on my blog and were impressed so they accepted me as one of the artists.

I will have until April/May to complete it and send it to them to put together with the other panels. So today I worked on an idea for my Yukon Panel. Below is the first draft of my idea. Each panel will be 28" X 28" and have the initials of the Province or Territory in the lower right of the panel.

My panel will have mountains, snow, a dog sled, raven and the northern lights on it. I still have to figure out how I will do it exactly but I am getting some ideas percolating in my mind. I will be challenging to do this project.

Also below are a couple of drawings I did while I was away in Europe. The time I spent there was very busy so I didn't have large sections of time to create.

Drawing done while relaxing in our hotel.

A sketch of our plane while we waited to board for our trip home.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Handmade Book Inspiration

For the last few years, I've been intrigued by hand made books. I had no idea that it was a thing. I found there are magazines dedicated to book making. I have tried my hand at it, making small, simple books. I've made a few small folded, accordion books which didn't require stitching together.

Then I tried my hand at some larger books with cardboard covers that had to be stitched together.

This one was made with watercolour paper and is being used as a scrapbook.

This one was made with sketching paper and is being used as a sketch book.

The one I am currently working on has a mix of watercolour paper and sketching paper and was stitched together using the coptic stitch.

I then found some scraps of fabric and sewed pieces together, trimmed it and glued it to the front and back covers.



I am planning to use this book as I do my devotions each day, noting the lesson learned or the comfort I felt from the Bible passage and doing a sketch or watercolour painting to go with the words.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Continuing Creativity While Away from Home

As I mentioned in last weeks blog, I brought some pre-packaged supplies along on my trip. In little sandwich bags I placed some fabric cards that I had started. At home,I planned how I wanted to embellish them and included the embellishments, thread, and some small scissors that I was able to get through security at airport. I had plans to work on them in the plane but I had forgotten to include needles. So this week I worked on them at my daughter's apartment.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Inspired in Whitehorse

I'm a little late with this blog once again. This time it's due to the fact that I had to fly out suddenly to Whitehorse, Yukon because my daughter was having a difficult labour having her first child. I spent four days in hospital with her and her husband after my grandson was finally born. My daughter had to recuperate from a 5 day labour and a Caesarian Section. So there was lot of sitting around and watching her sleep.

I had thrown a few art supplies such as pencils, watercolour pencils, sketchbooks, and some pre-packaged fabric card supplies. So while my daughter rested, I did some sketches in her hospital room. I was actually inspired by a book I received from my nephew. It is called "Drawing Your Life" and gives tips on how to document life with sketches.

Here's a few photos of the new parents and baby.

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year's Resolutions

I am not normally one who makes New Year's Resolutions. It's not because I don't think I can keep them but more the fact that I just let life happen and go for the ride. Lately, however, I have come to see the benefit of setting goals and formulating plans to get me to those goals. When I was a young mom and wife, I didn't have the time to set goals and try to meet them. I was busy working at our business, raising 3 children and caring for my home. Now that I am an empty nester, I have some extra time on my hands which allows me to pursue my art and improve my skills at it.

A few years ago, I set the very achievable goal of making more art and was successful in doing so. The next goal was to try to get my art into some shows. I also achieved that this past year. So as this new year begins, I'm thinking of what the next goals would be. Where do I want to go with my art? Do I want to try to enter shows in other countries? Do I want to pursue gallery representation? Do I want to work at fabric art predominantly or continue to hone my painting skills as well? Should I enroll in more courses? Or do I just want to make art for the sake of making art or to give away? Do I want to teach art to others? Should I volunteer somewhere sharing my art with others? So many questions and possibilities!

It is rather exciting but also a bit scary to put yourself "out there". What if I get rejected? What if my art is not as good as I think it is? What if I give a piece of art to someone and they really don't like it?
Our inner critic starts to "nadder" in our heads. We artists have been calling this our monkey on our back and we all have had to contend with it. I answer my "monkey" by telling him, it doesn't matter what others think of my art. It's how it makes me feel and what I think that is important. It is the joy I get from creating and giving. When I make art for others, it is not so much the art but the heart that I put into it that means the most to me and hopefully the recipient sees it this way too. I also find when I am making art for someone else, I strive to do the best I can.

I have decided that one goal for this year will be that I will do more drawing and sketching. I started that this past year with my enrollment in Sketchbook Skool. I've seen that it is possible to do a drawing every day. I will draw what is in front of me, whatever that will be; the beautiful, the ordinary, the mundane, the funny.....whatever I find. I'm not sure how successful I will be at this, but I'm going to try.

Sketchbook Skool also gave me the idea of putting together a book with just drawings I've done of our business. I was hoping I'd have the book before Christmas to present to my husband but it didn't arrive until a few days after Christmas. I am really pleased with it and I think my husband is too.

Do you make New Year's Resolutions or Goals for the coming year?  What types of things do you resolve to do or what are your goals?