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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Squeezing in Time for Art

This time of year is really busy for us at work. Springtime at a Garden Centre is really, really hectic and that also means my book keeping workload is increased. So, along with all my other chores around our home, I'm not left with a lot of art time.

I find that really difficult because this is the time of year the Irises are in bloom as well as the Peonies and so many other beautiful plants and I just want to get out an sketch them all. And I am the type of person that puts everything before art. That is why I designate Thursdays as my Art Day. But sometimes even Thursdays don't work in the Spring.

What I have discovered is that I can get art done in little snippets of time throughout the week and that is what I have been trying to do. Today I had one of my grandsons with me in the studio. He was fortunate to have me all to himself because usually he has to share me with his sisters. While I had him situated at my table and supplied with PlayDoh, I was able to get some art done as well.

I will also often take a sketchbook or some artwork I'm working on along as I go to babysit my grandchildren. When I am at their homes, my computer is not calling me to the paperwork and so I can relax and get some sketching done. I even try to get projects done while I am cooking dinner but often that ends up in a burnt meal.

Today, I continued to work on my May calendar page. I used a piece of silk scarf for the background and stitched the calendar part onto it. The flowers surrounding the calendar are done with dyed tea bags. I will still have to enhance the flowers with stitching and then it will be done. Next will be June and I am already percolating ideas in my brain for that one.

Another day this week, I was able to sit outside the house next door and sketch a part of the garden.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Scavenging for Inspiration

I'm sure I got a few strange looks a few weeks ago while on my neighbourhood walk. I was once again walking with my focus on the ground to see what treasures I could find. Every once in a while I would stoop and pick something up, inspect it and decide to keep it or toss it.

When I went to the "My Corner of the World" art quilt show I was inspired by a quilt that was made from a rusted gate. Well, I was inspired by many of the quilts there but this one made me want to try this technique. I think the artist just let a piece of white cotton hang over the gate for a length of time and allowed the rain and sun to work it's magic on it. It slowly became dyed by the rust.

On my walks I had noticed many rusted bottle caps and nails on the ground so on this day I decided to collect any rusted metal I could find to try this technique myself. In the process, I would also be cleaning up parts of my neighbourhood and recycling.

These are the items I found on that walk. I hope to lay them somewhere outside on a piece of white cotton where they won't be disturbed. Each week as I find rusty things I'll add them to the arrangement. Hopefully I will get some areas that are darker than others depending on how long the items have remained on the fabric.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

My Corner of the World

I finally had the opportunity to view my art quilt, Reflections of the North, displayed in Stratford, Ontario at the My Corner of the World show put on by SAQA and the Stratford Perth Museum.  It is always thrilling to see your own work hanging along with so many other beautiful pieces in a prestigious venue.

Over 300 works were sent in and only 81 selected for the show. I am quite honoured to be among those chosen.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Playing with Tea Bags

I have quite a few projects on the back burner that I really have to get to so today was going to be that day. I've worked most of the day in my studio but it seems like I didn't get anywhere. I know many of you can relate, you've all had days like that.

As I blogged about earlier, I am trying to make a calendar for the year 2017 which I would like to have printed. I have done January to April and I'd like to get May done before the end of May. I've decided to do May with fabric and tea bags.

I like to use painted or dyed tea bag paper to depict flowers. The paper that tea comes in is very delicate - just like flower petals. I've made some fabric cards this way and I really like the look. I can also paint or dye the paper with gradient hues of colour to make the flower petals and leaves more realistic.

So today I spent some time dying and painting the tea bags for this project. I also spent some time sketching from photos to get some designs for this May calendar page.

Above is a small sample of my idea for the calendar page. This is a fabric card I also completed today.

Friday, 13 May 2016

One Wing-backed Chair Finished

My fingers are wrecked but today I completed the reupholstering of the wing-backed chair. I was hoping to be done yesterday but all sorts of things came up that prevented me from working on it for any length of time. I was also waiting for some upholstery tacking strips that we had ordered online.

The strips arrived today so I left everything else and headed down to the studio to get to work. It is very satisfying to do a project like that. As we removed the old fabric, we could see how stained the chair was. The fabric was even covered with some kind of pet hair in the creases. Gives me the shivers. But now the whole chair is covered in new updated fabric that will suit my daughter's historic

I just think I'll let my hands heal before I start on chair number two.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Recycling/Up-cycling: Entering into Unknown Territory

My daughter and her husband and son are moving back home to Toronto from Whitehorse. Having sold what they could of their possessions in Whitehorse or taken them to Goodwill, they are in need of furniture to set up their new home.

As Providence would have it, upon driving in the neighbourhood, we came upon two wing-backed chairs sitting out on the curb. I stopped, my daughter hopped out and sat in them to see if they were still good. Then we drove home.

Who can pass up two good chairs for free? They ended up in our house and although they were worn and a bit dirty, they were sturdy and in good shape structurally. One even had a pop-out foot rest!

We had in mind to reupholster them. Neither of us had ever done this before but we thought if it doesn't work out, we haven't spent any money on the chairs. So we figured we would start taking the old upholstery off one of the chairs to see how difficult it would be and see if the chair was as solid as we thought.

Taking the old upholstery off was not so much difficult as it was time consuming and a bit painful as our screw drivers slipped and nicked us in the fingers several times as we dug the staples out of the frame. Our plan was to use the old fabric pieces as pattern pieces for the new fabric. We also made sure we took lots of pictures so we could remember how it all goes back together again.

We were really pleased to find that the foam padding underneath was still in very good shape so we decided to leave that on and cover over it.

Join us again next week to see the finished product.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Baby Portraits are Keeping Me Busy

I went through the book that records the artwork I've done and flipped to the baby portraits. Since November 2015, I've finished 5 more portraits. I can post 4 of them for you to see but the fifth hasn't been given to the parents yet so I won't post a photo of it.

I will have another one to start on in a week or two.