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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Newborn Portraits

In between my art quilt projects, I've been trying to keep up with my newborn portraits. We've had 3 births since December in our family and it kind of stresses me out when they come so close together. So, needless to say, it takes me a little longer to complete them. I've got two completed and delivered and 1 left to do.



Friday, 20 March 2015

New Art Quilt Project

Back in February, I blogged about being accepted to create a panel for a quilt that will travel across Canada with the Relay for Hope. Since I have finished my Leaf Art Quilt, I have now begun on my panel for the Relay for Hope quilt. As I told you, all the Provinces and Territories will be represented on this quilt. My panel is the one for the Yukon Territory.

I showed you my design in February which had a snow-covered background with mountains and a dog sled in the foreground. There is also a raven flying in a sky bright with northern lights. I have been thinking quite a bit on how I will produce this panel and while I was searching for fabric, I remembered that when I was in the Yukon in January, I bought a stack of fabric from their local quilt shop called Bear's Paw Quilts. Without knowing about this project at the time, I had picked up several different whites and blues with the thought of using them for a winter scene. These fabrics will be perfect for this panel.

I've decided to build the background sky, mountains and snow first by stitching all the various fabrics together to make a 28"X 28" square. Then I'll use the appropriate colours of fabric for the Aurora Borealis, the dog sled and the raven and applique them on top.

The Aurora could be tricky. I have some bright green ribbon that I picked up one time at Value Village which is just the right colour for the green Aurora so I auditioned them on different fabrics to see what would work best.

The ribbon is organza so it is very transparent. Above is a single layer of ribbon on white fabric.

 Here I have layered several pieces of ribbon to give it depth and more intense colour. I would like to give the Aurora a look of fading in certain areas and also have some very vibrant areas and I think this layering will give me the desired affect.

I also auditioned the ribbon on top of darker fabric to see if it would still be as vibrant and I think it looks better here than on the white fabric. This tells me that I can make the whole sky dark and the Aurora will still be visible.

I also found this piece of fabric that I hand dyed myself and I think I will also use this piece in a few areas of the sky.

Once I had my fabrics figured out, I started work on patterning the background fabric, which I do on freezer paper laid over my initial sketch which was enlarged to the finished size of the panel.

As you can see I didn't include the Aurora, raven or the dog sled which will be put on after the background fabric has been sewn together. I decided to make the main seams radiate out from the center of the panel to give it interest. There is a small square area on the lower right corner which is just a reminder to me that the letters for the Yukon Territory (YT) will be placed there so none of the images on the quilt should be placed in that area.
The piece of cardboard on the right of the pattern has small swatches of the fabric I will be using with code letters beneath them which correspond with the codes placed all over the pattern so I know which fabrics go where.

Once this background piece is done, I will work out patterns for the appliques. I'm really excited to get started with the sewing.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Leaf Art Quilt Finished

Today, I finally finished the art quilt of the leaves. The background quilting took quite a while but I think it looks great and was just what the piece needed. After every stage, I hang my pieces up on my design wall to look at from a distance and determine what it still needs. When I hung it up after quilting the background, I found some of the materials in the leaves were too boring and caught my attention too much especially the plain fabrics.

So I did some thread painting on them to show a little shadow where the leaves curled or where they were behind another part of the leaf. This I do with a darning foot on my machine and the feed dogs down.

I stretched the quilt on a 26"x26" wooden stretcher frame that artist's usually use to stretch canvas on to paint. I will be sending this quilt to my framer to be framed. I have a few of my smaller art quilts framed and I really like the look. It gives the piece a fine art look as opposed to a quilt look. Once it is back from the framers, I'll post a photo of the whole finished piece.

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.