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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Noting the Seasonal Changes

Today, I went on another neighbourhood walk. It is really neat to look through my sketchbook and see the seasonal changes. I started the sketchbook this Spring just as the trees were budding and today I sketched bare branches with next year's buds beginning. The crab apples are still clinging to those branches, plants with pods are splitting open to let out their seeds and burrs are ripe in the ravine just waiting for man or animal to brush up against them in order to spread their seeds.

I also sketched the garbage truck, because today was garbage day. I put the garbage men into stress, so much so that they asked me if I had a problem I needed to talk to them about. They thought I was observing some misbehaviour and was planning on reporting them. I had to explain that I was an artist and I was just sketching my observations on my local walks. They were visibly relieved when I held up my sketchbook and wished me a good day.

I didn't carry any money with me which I realized as I was approaching Tim Hortons. Too bad. So I just sketched it. Now I have the iconic coffee place in my sketchbook for posterity.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

"My Corner of the World" Show Entered

Well, yesterday I finished the quilting on my Rock Reflections quilt and so I took the necessary photographs of it. They wanted one full photo and one detail photo. There are special instructions for the photography as far as number of pixels, no distortion, proper colours, all edges of the quilt have to be visible and they have to be clear. It makes sense that they have all these rules and they do recommend having the quilt professionally photographed. I have always taken my own photographs and the fact that I have been accepted into shows and that they have also been used in a book tells me my photos will pass muster. I did take a few shots and chose the ones that best pictured my quilt. The jurors go only by the photos we send to evaluate whether the quilts are good enough for the show so they have to be up to snuff. However, there is still a chance that you are rejected when the quilt is actually sent because of something that didn't show on the photos.

Also thank you to those who replied to my request in the last blog. I found that 75 words is incredibly short and it was hard to say everything I wanted to say in so few words.

I will hear by the end of December whether I have been accepted into the show. In the meantime, I have to sew a hanging sleeve to the back of the quilt so it can be hung for display. That's what I am busy with now.

Now that the quilt is done, I can move on to the many things that I have put on back burners due to lack of time. I have a few Christmas projects in the wings and a few portraits to complete again. Plus, when I am working on something, I always get more ideas running through my head of things I'd like to do. There is no lack of inspiration just lack of time occasionally.

I am continuing my journal of drawings from the neighbourhood when I can. Below is the latest sketch.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Help Needed with Artist Statement

When I send in my application to enter my quilt into the "My Corner of the World" Quilt show, I have to include an Artist Statement of 75 words or less. An Artist Statement is a basic introduction to my art to help people appreciate it.

Basically it will tell people, why I make my art, what inspires me to make art, what my art signifies or represents, what is unique and special about my art and what it means to me.

I'm pretty sure I can write something about why I make art, what inspires me, and what it means to me. But its a little harder to write about what makes it unique or special. I have some ideas but I thought I would ask you, my loyal followers what you think is unique or special about my art, specifically my art quilts. Perhaps you could tell me how you feel when you view it or what questions come to mind. To help you with that just click into my gallery on this blog of my art quilts to view them.

Thanks so much for your help with this!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Quilting the Landscape Quilt

My inspiration for the quilt to remind you what it looks like

I put my quilt sandwich together this past week. That means I have added quilt batting and a backing fabric to my quilt top and am now ready to quilt it.

You might be asking why do we quilt the landscape or art quilt? Well, quilting was necessary to keep all the layers together when quilts were used as blankets on beds. The blankets were layered to give them warmth. Traditionally quilts were hand quilted. Some quilting was as easy as just pulling yarn through all the layers and then knotting it on each side. Usually quilting was done "in the ditch" which meant the stitches were hidden in the seam lines between the pieces. So the quilting pattern was just following the outline of the squares and triangles that made up the quilt pattern. Later, quilting took on its own design so that it enhanced the quilt. Quilters took great pride in precise hand stitching on their quilts.

Traditional quilt design where quilting would follow the squares and rectangles
Fancy quilting

On my landscape quilt, I use quilting to enhance the design as well. Instead of quilting by hand, I use my darning foot on my sewing machine and free-motion quilt. I will quilt around shapes to make them stand out or I will fill in an area with dense pattern to flatten it.

When I am quilting I have to consider thread colour in my top threads as well as thread colour in my bobbin. I usually use either black or white in my bobbin depending on the colour of the fabric I am using or the colour of the top thread. I will use a variety of colours in my top thread.

The first thing I did on the landscape quilt was "couch" a piece of yarn along the base of the rock where it meets the water's edge to define the rock from the reflection in the water. Couching is sewing a piece of yarn or piping to something using a zigzag stitch. Above you can see that it is a hairy piece of yarn that resembles moss.

The next thing was to quilt around prominent shapes such as the tree trunks so they would stand out. If you look closely you can see stitching lines on either side of the trunks.

Above I stitched around small bushes situated on the rock so they would stand out.

Then I stitched around all the trees with light blue thread in the sky area. Later I will fill in the sky with dense stitching to flatten it so it looks like the trees are closer to the viewer. I will do the same in the very dark areas under and behind the trees.

Here is the back of the quilt which shows how I quilted it so far. I used both black and white in the bobbin. The white was used in the sky and light rock areas and the black was used in the trees.

I'm very pleased with my progress so far. I can enter it into the show at any time this month before the 30th so, I'd like to move quite quickly with the quilting.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Landscape Quilt Top Completed and Recent Quilted Greeting Cards

I have been working feverishly to complete the Landscape Quilt Top and managed to do that this week. Today I attached quilt batting and a backing fabric to it and now can begin quilting. Due to the fact that I hope to enter this quilt into a show, I cannot show you the whole thing. I can, however, give you glimpses of it in detail shots. Because it is a landscape, it is better seen from a distance instead of close up which is a shame. Eventually I will post it here but for now please be satisfied with some details of the quilting process.

So because I cannot post a photo of the landscape quilt, I'm also blogging about some recent greeting cards I completed for friends and family members. I have been given old magazines from my hairdresser and also some from my sister-in-law. I go through these magazines and cut out words and phrases, interesting photos and colour combinations for use in my cards. I've also started cutting out photos of some of the models in these magazines and used them in my cards.

I'll position a photo on top of the card base and "sketch" the model with my sewing machine using free-motion stitching right overtop of the photo. Once the sewing is done, I'll remove the paper photo which leaves me with the outline that I sewed. I really like the effect it gives.

For most of these cards I used my own hand dyed or painted fabric.

On the card above I left the sunglasses and eyes to give it more interest. To make sure they didn't eventually fall off I coated that section with acrylic matt medium which dries clear.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Enjoying Fall

We are, once again, into our most colourful time of year. I often liken it to creation giving its last "hurrah" before the barren, black and white and grey of winter. Last week I took a walk to the Humber River near our home and did some sketching of the colourful trees I found there. I also have some of those cute gourds sitting on my front step and did a sketch of them. My neighbourhood sketchbook is slowly filling with interesting artwork.

 My dad is living in Holland and when I was there I was asked if I could send some Bible texts that he enjoyed that could be read to him. This week I did a small watercolour painting of the Humber River and printed Psalm 23 beside it and will send it to Holland for him.

I've also done a little more work on my landscape quilt. It is a little difficult to see but I worked on some of the water reflections. It will be easier to see when I sew all the pieces together but I think it is coming along nicely.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Landscape Quilt and a Sore Back

This past weekend was Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada and my husband and I always go on a short golf vacation. The weather was wonderful and the golf was great. We had a wonderful time together. There was one small annoyance, however, and that was that I was dealing with a sore back. In order to golf and sleep and even sit, I was slathering on the A535 cream, taking Advil and using a heat pad. By yesterday, it was much better and I am no longer taking the Advil although every once in a while I still use the A535. I had no idea what caused it and I do not often get pain like that.

Well, today, as I sat down at my sewing machine to take up again my Landscape Quilt work, I realized where the back pain came from. I have been so set on getting this quilt done that I put in as much time as I can. I have a chair on wheels that I thought was good for my back but it turns out that as I roll from my sewing machine to my ironing area as I work, I am not sitting properly and the rolling back and forth and tension in my back causes a strain in the muscles. I don't know what I am going to do about this problem because the quilt needs to get done and not only that, I love this activity. Today I worked on it for about an hour and then moved on to another activity. So far the back doesn't feel too bad.

I was able to finish the rock section of the quilt and now will have to begin the water. Remember, I haven't yet planned the water pattern or the fabric colours for it. So I think I may have to work a little more intuitively on this section. I'm a little afraid to do this, not knowing how it will turn out. But, more often than not, experimentation leads to all kinds of wonderful things. I'm banking on that!